February 25, 2014

You Haven’t Seen Pan’s Labyrinth Until You’ve Seen It On Blu-Ray
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

You Haven’t Seen Pan’s Labyrinth Until You’ve Seen It On Blu-Ray

As part of Awards Season at hmv, each week we’ll be shining a spotlight on some of the award-winning films that have recently been released / re-issued on Blu-Ray, and why you there’s no better time to revisit them.

This week we take a look at one of the most visually stunning films we've ever seen: Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy epic Pan's Labyrinth

What’s the story?

Set in Spain 1944 in the wake of the civil war between General Franco’s facist government and the Republican rebels, Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 film tells the story of Ofelia, a young girl who moves to northern Spain with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, the sadistic and ruthless Captain Vidal.

In the middle of the night Ofelia meets a fairy who leads her to a pit in the centre of a giant maze, where a faun named Pan tells here she is the princess of a magical underground world. Pan explains that Ofelia must overcome three challenges to prove her royalty. If she succeeds, she will get to meet her father, the king. If she fails, she will never see her father again.

Guillermo del Toro’s beautifully crafted film takes us into a fantasy world of Ofelia’s making, no doubt a mechanism to cope with her harsh new reality, as she traverses challenges that find her tasked with retrieving a golden key from a toad’s belly and a dagger from a banquet room where an evil creature dwells, before finally delivering her baby brother to the centre of the labyrinth before the full moon.

The film’s breathtaking cinematography and attention to detail create the vivid, lucid dream world of Ofelia’s imagination, a world packed with creatures that are at equal turns gruesome and fantastical.

Pan's Labyrinth
Pan's Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro

What awards did the film win?

Unsurprisingly, Pan’s Labyrinth blew the competition out of the water in the Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Make-Up categories, taking home the awards for all three and narrowly missing out on three others, for Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film.

Why is it worth seeing on Blu-Ray?

As the above award wins and nominations would suggest, Pan’s Labyrinth is a film whose strength lies in its visual depiction of Ofelia’s fantasy world and outside of a cinema Blu-Ray really is the best way to appreciate the movie in all its stunning detail. The same goes for the film’s score, written by Spanish composer Javier Navarrete and based around a lullaby, with its intricate arrangements and lush instrumentation. Unlike many lesser films where the visual presentation takes centre stage however, Pan’s Labyrinth is constructed around a simple but heartfelt narrative that ensures the story is absorbing and doesn’t detract from the film as a vivid visual spectacle.

Pan's Labyrinth - Official Trailer (HD)

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