Man this movie is bonkers. From what I had heard and seen from it, I was convinced it was a fantasy that involved an epic journey a young girl takes involving a faun and a creepy child eating saggy monster. While there are aspects of those in the movie, there is so much more to Guillermo del Toro’s dark fantasy.
I have to commend del Toro and his creative vision. He not only created an entire fantasy world with its own lore, but was able to interweave the fantastical aspects with a family drama based in historical events. The latter being a completely unexpected aspect yet a welcome one. As writer, director, and co-producer, he has a large amount of creative control of the movie. His own twist on faries, fauns, and ogres set in the unforgiving time of the Spanish Civil War made for an incredibly dark yet gorgeous story. And under anyone else I don’t think this movie would work as well as it does. Under his vision the movie and its wild narrative are allowed to shine.
the last half an hour of the movie completely caught me off guard. I was expecting the faun and the various trials that Ofelia underwent to be a dream, or some sort of vision or whatever. But even after the credits began to role I found myself questioning the meaning or truth to it all. Personally, I believe the movie was making a point that even in a cruel world, one can chose to be good. Instead of fulfilling orders that lead to the blood of innocents, there is a choice and responsibility to disobey honorably, even at the risk of your own life.
While the captan and many other characters were unable to see the Faun, the root that was healing Ofelia’s mother was real. Yet even after Ofelia is greeted by her father and the faun after choosing to sacrifice herself rather than her brother, her mortal body died. Does that mean that it was all real, or only some aspects. Was her vision a vision of the afterlife, or did she actually return to the underworld? I feel these are questions that are purposefully left unanswered in order to illustrate some sort of moral or premise. Whatever it is though, I am unaware. My lack of understanding though wasn’t enough for me to not grasp the noble sacrifice that Ofelia underwent in order to do the right thing.
The visuals in this movie were crazy. The practical effects on the faun and the child eating skin thing were incredible. The faun in particular was so vivid and detailed, it blew my mind. He looked like a part of nature, something that had existed for thousands of years. David Martí and Montse Ribé did an amazing job designing it and deserve as much praise as del Toro in my eyes. However, the set design, the battle sequences, and the CGI are not anything to scoff at. They are all great in their own right and for the most part still hold up today. The only thing with the visuals I found unremarkable was the coloring. While scenes in the day were vivid and filled with color, the night scenes and rain scenes had this obnoxious blue tint to them that I felt made the movie drab and too dark. Aside from that though the movie is an absolute spectacle.
I really liked this movie. I thought it was crazy and creative and weird, but that is what I liked about it (and all or del Toro’s movies really). It is fairly well acted, it is visually stunning, and it is potent and heart wrenching. Not to mention dark and twisted in all the right way. I give it 3 faries out of 5.