This was a good, but not great, movie. I don’t understand what all the excitement was about. A darkly twisted fairy tale is set against the Spanish Revolution of 1944. The story is depressing on almost all counts and largely foreseeable.
From a technical standpoint, the acting is excellent – although some may have a hard time with the subtitles – the direction and pacing are good and Del Toro does a great job of conveying the mood throughout the film. Granted, that mood is drab and depressing, but it’s impressive the way he’s able to maintain that tone without driving the viewer away.
Some people will complain that the fantasy segments are also too dreary, but I think that was the point. It’s said repeatedly that life is cruel. Pan’s Labyrinth shows that it’s just as hard regardless of where you happen to be. The one brief flicker of hope thats tied up in the ending is what people should take away from the film – not starkness that makes up its bulk.