Pans Labyrinth: A Film Review.

I rated this 9 stars on IMDB.


Pans Labyrinth begins by telling the historical events of the story behind the Princess Moanna. Following this the audience is introduced to Ofelia & her mother. Ofelia is intrigued by ‘Fairy tales’ and the Fae, and she often tells her brother in the womb these tales, as her mother is depicted to be very ill and weak due to pregnancy. Later the audience see a fairy lead Ofelia to meet Pan, a Faun, this is where she is introduced to her true fait and is given the book to begin her three quests to prove her essence is still in tact and that she has not become a mere mortal.

Figure one: Long Shot. Source: Google Images


Referring to Michael Halliday’s functions, the ideational is represented amazingly throughout this piece of cinematography. In terms of mise-en-sense the scenery of the production brings reality and life to the film. The blue tints reflected during cold scenes (figure two) help the audience to understand the emotions they should be feeling towards the character and also help the audience to feel as though they are part of the story. Contrastingly the use of strong prominent colours such as red and orange (figure three) during danger scenes also help create the intensity and the threat of the events unfolding – again encouraging the audiences emotional envolvment. The use of Spanish throughout the film makes the historical context of the film a strong presence and a constant reminder to the audience that the film was placed during theSpanish Civil war – serving as a real world reminder of the torment that took place.

Figure two: Blue Tinting. Source: Google Images

The composition of the cinematography helps build interpersonal relation with the audience. The use of long shots helps the audience distance themselves from the danger and intensifies what is going on during the events of the scene (figure one). The use of low shots also helps intensify the horror and threat of certain characters, this can mainly been seen through the use of Pale Man’s character. Ultimately the composition of the camera angle helps the audience to distinguish the different emotions to be felt among different characters and situations.

Del Toro does amazing justice to incorporating the real and the fantasy throughout the film. The abuse that Ofelia receives not only from her step-farther Captain Vidal, but also the threat of the Pale Man helps create sympathy and empathy. However the presentation of characters such as Ofelia and Maribel Verdu portrays how females can be strong and domineering.

Figure three: Red Tinting. Source: Google Images.


In conclusion this piece of cinematography is beautifully accomplished. Achieving empathy, attention and suspension that is sought by the audience. The film itself gives a accurate representation into the hardship that is faced during the war and how fantasy and make believe can create the most magical adventure in such a dark era. Del Toros ability to take all things childish and make-believe and mould them into a master piece that can be enjoyed by adults is genius.


Bibliography & References:

Biography (2017) Guillermo del Toro [online] available from <> [3rd January 2018]

History Learning Site (2018) The Spanish Civil War [online] available from <> [2nd January 2018]

IMBd Inc. (2018) Pans Labyrinth [online] available from <> [1st January 2018]

Pans Labyrinth (2007) Pans Labyrinth Official Website [online] available from <> [1st January 2018]