Touted as “a fairy tale for grown-ups”, Pan’s Labyrinth spins the ingredients of powerful story telling and staggering imagery into a masterful work. I know this sounds like a movie advertisement, but it’s true. Director Guillermo Del Toro extracts what the mind’s eye sees and makes it manifest so accurately and breathtakingly that it would be a mistake not to see this film. The movie has won 3 Academy Awards and numerous others for obvious reasons. I have yet to see the film, but even the trailer alone stirred me up and drew my focus.
You have to wonder what goes into making a film like this. Besides a $19 million budget and an enormous crew of film experts, Del Toro used copious amounts of makeup and costumes. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Del Toro opted for puppetry and costuming over CGI tricks as much as possible. In an age where movies can nearly be done all in front of a green screen, this is truly a uniquely old fashioned method. The imagery isn’t a far stretch from what you may have seen in “Narnia”, and Del Toro was in fact asked to direct the C.S. Lewis novel adaptation at one time. However, he turned it down for his own interpretation of children’s fairy tales.
The costuming is eerily beautiful. Actor Doug Jones had to endure 5 hours of make up and costume placement. A combination of mechanical parts, latex overlaying mask and body, and serious makeup were used to create the Faun in the movie. Various parts of the costume of the Pale man and the Faun had to be filled in with clever means. The Faun’s legs for example were attached to Jones’ legs and his real legs were covered in green tights. Once the film was shot, the green screen nullified any green on his body, making it appear as though his legs were actually the beastly Faun legs.
As far as acclaim, well the movie has had it’s share of attention and awards. The movie has garnered support for the costume execution and design. In a production as long in the making as Pan’s Labyrinth, it’s good to see that Del Toro has received the respect and attention due his fantastic interpretation of imagination. Furthermore, I think that there’s a large degree of respect due to his efforts in making this a real endeavor to be lifelike. By minimalising the usage of computer generated images the movie strikes an authentic feel for what could have been highly accomplished by computers alone. Go check out the movie and see what you think.