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Pan's Labyrinth

Today, we went out into the winter snowstorm (the sixth weekend snow in a row) and saw Pan's Labyrinth.  It was the first move we'd seen in a theater since Eragon, and we couldn't have picked a better fantasy movie to erase the bitter taste of that crappy fantasy movie from our memories. 

Pan's Labyrinth is about a 11-year-old girl named Ofelia who, it seems, is the reincarnation of the princess of the Underground Realm, and the creatures (fairies, a faun, etc.) of the Underground Realm have come to reunite her with her family  -- after she passes some tests to prove she is really the princess.  That sounds like a typical fantasy movie, huh?  But here's what's also going on -- it's 1944 in Franco's Spain, and Ofelia's new step-father is a brutal fascist army captain fighting rebels in the mountains, and Ofelia's mother is in the last days of a difficult pregnancy, about to deliver the captain a son.  So the "real life" parts of the movie have just as much drama as the fantasy parts (and far more brutality)! 

So, did I like it?  Yes, I did.  The combination of fantasy with finely detailed historical setting is striking, and you really feel for Ofelia having such a terrible time in the real world, and then having a secret "fantasy" life which is also hard and frustrating -- but does offer a hope of escape.

So, here's a question to those who have see it:  Is the fantasy stuff real, or just Ofelia's imagination?  In many movies where only one character is having magical experiences, by the end of the movie you are uncertain if there was really something magical going on, or if that character is just crazy -- and Occam's Razor says when that's your choice, crazy must be the right answer.  However, Pan's Labyrinth doesn't really do that.  There are several clues thruout the film that the fantasy world is real (the biggest one being that the mandrake root does help Ofelia's mother), so it's not making you chose at the end after all...

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