Watching El Laberinto del Fauno/Pan's Labyrinth (2007-01-20)

An old friend says he doesn't read fantasy because he read The Lord of the Rings and few--if any--authors match J.R.R. Tolkien's ability. While I'm not as exclusive in my reading of fantasy or other speculative fiction, reading the Inklings has led me to expect of fairy tales the feel of something real. Glimpsing and overhearing the wider world beyond the story are part of that feel.

Roger Ebert calls El Laberinto del Fauno "a fairy tale for grown-ups." Despite the young girl as a protagonist, the tale is definitely for grown-ups: the movie is gory. However, the fairy tale elements go no further than the story, and the realistic elements (1944 Spain) contain implausible evil. (Here's a minor spoiler: one character suffers puncture wounds to the back, chest, and face; drinks an overdose of a sleeping drug; and then chases and catches another character.) The evil was intentionally unpleasant, but a good tale would make the movie enjoyable. While I wanted to enjoy the fantasy, the fairy tale wasn't sufficiently coherent to make a movie I enjoyed.

No comments: