Ok, I know I’ve said this before, but this may very well be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
If you mixed Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and an entire book of Grimm’s fairy tales, you’d end up with something like this. And it really doesn’t make sense. The real issue with the movie, is that half the movie, the Fairy tale parts, is meant only for children, and will rub adults and older kids as weird, cheesy, or just outright stupid. The war parts, and the parts about life during the Spanish Civil War, are very well done, and capture unique characters and a suspenseful plot. However, these are too dark and graphic for young kids to enjoy. Thus we are left with a dilemma: Is it worth sitting through the fantasy tripe to watch the dramatic stuff, and (More importantly) should I let my child watch it, though it is very disturbing?
The entire film is also done entirely in Spanish, so subtitles are a must.
The movie begins with a story about a stupid little princess, who walked up into the realm of earth from the magical underworld, and consequently, died. Umm… sucks. So… there’s more to the movie, right?
There is more to the movie. A little girl named Ophelia and her pregnant mother, are being moved to the residence of Ophelia’s new step father, a fascist captain in the Spanish revolution (1942-1945.)
Now, for those of you who are familiar with Spanish history, or indeed with Ernest Hemingway, will know that the Spanish civil war was no simple affair. There was no real “good guy,” and both sides killed ruthlessly in the names of idealistic policies, which later betrayed them both. Both the Fascist and Communist soldiers were faced with an idea of a dieing dream, yet continued to fight on anyway, becoming more and more beast like as the conflict became more and more hopeless.
This is never mentioned during the movie. Fascist=Bad guys, Communists=Good guys. End of story.
Now, the little girl is fascinated with fairy tales, and begins seeing fairies and dragons everywhere. That’s only a little weird. I see fairies all the time. They dress weird, and apparently, they think because I like Frank Sinatra and “Titanic” I’ll want to have diner with them. I don’t know what that’s about.
This earns her the exasperation of her stepfather, and the disdain of her mother. However, she soon discovers a derelict labyrinth, and inside there, she finds what may be the creepiest damn thing I’ve ever seen on a screen. The thing she finds is a “Fawn,” some sort of mystical creature. It looks like a combination of a hammer head shark and one of those robots from the matrix, and it’s voice sounds like the offspring of Christopher Walken and the Kool-Aid man, if he was taking a lot of laxatives (It’s better not to ask.) However, the creepiest thing is the way he treats the young girl, Ophelia. He is constantly either stroking her, caressing her, flirting with her, or staring at her intently. At one point in the story, he even breaks into her room and watches her sleep. AND SHE’S 11!!!!!!!!
Anyways, this ‘Pedo-fawn’ asks her to complete three tasks from an ancient book before the full moon. While completing these tasks, Ophelia finds out more about her surroundings. Her Step Father’s private Doctor and maid are both collaborating with the reds. The captain only married her pregnant mother to get his hands on her unborn son, who he intends to raise as his own. And worst of all, the Faun is going to be an important character in the story. Great, just perfect.
Now, Ophelia’s tasks are not easy. They are full of unforeseen difficulties, including, but not limited to
1) To complete one task she must kill a giant toad and rip a key from it’s stomach.
2) She has to visit the dwelling of a psycho old man with eyes on his hands, who live solely off eating babies and fairies
3) Her mother begins to die
4) Communists are constantly attacking the base, in order to ‘save’ her.
5) Both the captain, and the story slowly begin to go insane
Can Ophelia and her mother escape their captors, and into the magical realm of fairies and dragons?
This film really needed to get it’s priorities straight. Is it a kid’s film, or an adult film. Is it fantasy, or drama. Did it want to make sense, or not. Aside from some bad parts (a cheesy ending, some downright weird fantasy creatures, and that FREAKING CREEPY FAWN) it’s not that bad. The parts about the war (while so historically inaccurate, the writers of “Pocahontas” would be ashamed) are action packed, suspenseful, tense, and very dramatic, and certainly worth watching. The Fantasy bits, however, weren’t for me. Maybe it’s because I went through the whole fantasy stage a while ago, but even if you are into it, this movie brings fantasy to a whole new level of smarmy. While the acting is good, and the script’s ok, I’m going to have to give this move a 6/10.