As the story goes, a princess of the underworld runs away to the surface where she is blinded by the sunlight and forgets who she is. Her father, the king, vows to wait her return which seems to take centuries. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero; The Shannara Chronicles) is a young girl who ends up in the country with her mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil; Nuts For Love) and stepfather, Vidal (Sergi Lopez; Dirty Pretty Things) who is a Captain in the Spanish Army. He is there fighting the rebels and insists Carmen and Ofelia join him so his son can be born where Vidal is.
Ofelia, who is an avid reader, insists she has been visited by a fairy and follows the winged creature into the Labyrinth where she meets Fauno (Doug Jones; The Shape of Water) who believes Ofelia may be the long lost princess. He gives her a book and tells her she must pass three difficult tasks to prove it. Meanwhile, as Carmen gets sicker and Sicker Vidal hunts and kills as many rebels as he can. Depending on what you ultimately believe, Ofelia either proves herself to be the princess or she simply becomes a martyr of the rebel cause.
Baquero does an excellent job for a young actress and you firmly believe she is an enchanted princess who must prove herself. Maribel Verdu as the housekeeper, Mercedes, is good as the spy aiding the rebels while living under the Captain's roof. Lopez, however, is the one to watch as he embodies the heartless demeanor of a ruthless dictator. He is masterful to watch and steals practically every scene he is in. Jones is also excellent as both Fauno and the Pale Man. He walks a fine line between being a helpful ally and a devious creature out to ruin Ofelia.
The 4k version is presented in 2160p high definition video and is clean across the entire film. The creatures are beautifully created and have terrific detail. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is fantastic as well. The surround sound envelopes the viewer from all sides. The extras are missing some of those that are on the Criterion Collection edition but the quality is simply better. This release offers the following extras:
- By Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro
Enhanced Visual Commentary
- The Power of Myth
- Pan and the Fairies
- The Color and the Shape
- The Lullaby – "The Melody Echoes The Fairy Tale" and "Mercedes Lullaby"
- Director's Notebook
- Del Toro's Notes and Sketches – Instructions, Launch, Index
- Storyboard/Thumbnail Compares – Instructions, Ofelia Enters the Labyrinth, Ofelia The Frog & The Giant Toad, Ofelia's Death, Death of the Doctor
- VFX Plate Comparison
- The Charlie Rose Show
- Comics – The Fairies, Pan, The Pale-Man
- Marketing Campaign -Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots
Pan's Labyrinth is a magical fairy tale and a nightmare all in one. It is definitely not for children as there is plenty of gore to go around. Del Toro is a magnificent story teller and this labor of love is one of his many masterpieces.