9 Responses to “2007 Movie Picks (Thus Far)”

  1. Chris 12 June 2007 at 10:39 am #

    I haven’t seen either of the first two, but I did see Pan’s Labyrinth.

    Here was my problem with it:

    I walked away depressed. I felt kind of… sick. Like I needed to swallow a bag of care-bears and pet a unicorn.

    It was an awesome movie, extremely extremely well done. Beautifully filmed. Every horrible detail chronicled epic-like before your teary eyes.

    To me, this movie represents what the world would be like if there was no God. Or rather, the hopelessness of a polytheistic world. One in which there was no Good and Evil, but rather just differences in behavior and allegiance. No right or wrong way to act, just nicer or meaner ways.

    A world where perhaps if you did this or that you could be a god. Where if you cast this spell, and plant this seed, and say this word, you could be happy. But fail to do it just right… Fail to play the game just correctly enough, and you will be shut out forever. Life is just a game, and the prize is just this bright shiny city, with no hope of a one true, just, loving, protective King.

    But yeah, the film was fascinating, and beautiful and entertaining. I probably missed the whole point of the whole movie, and maybe Art will set me straight…

  2. B 12 June 2007 at 12:01 pm #

    I think the movie was full of hope. You have a terrible situation where a young girl is sent away from everything she knows and loves to be with an evil man who abuses her mother, all during the depression and oppression of the war, and yet she has the character and imagination to find a magical world that evidently saves her from the tyranny she is facing.

    I guess it shows me that no matter what’s happening in your life, you can make the best of it if you use your imagination and will it to be better. It sounds crazy, but when you think about it that can get you through a lot of things in your own life – at least it can in mine.

    This is not to replace God. In fact, it is to strengthen your relationship with him. If you can raise yourself out of your current situation and look at the bigger picture, or, as the movie puts it, see things that may not be immediately visible (or visible to the physical eye at all), you can get through things. I liken this to my spirituality.

    I’m not sure how you gleaned the idea that…

    …A world where perhaps if you did this or that you could be a god. Where if you cast this spell, and plant this seed, and say this word, you could be happy…

    Do you mean the movie used symbols – like the city at the end, or the spells, or the healing root – that didn’t make sense, or that gave the wrong impression? Do you feel that God was replaced? Do you feel that nothing they did really had true meaning, and that everything they did was ultimately for themselves, post-modernic-ly-ness-ity? I’m trying to understand how the movie gave you those impressions. I definitely understand that the movie was very dark indeed, but very good because of it.

  3. Chris 12 June 2007 at 12:55 pm #

    For anyone who hasn’t seen it, don’t read my comment, because it will spoil everything.

    The little girl, in her mind, was a goddess. She was the daughter of the god of the underworld. If she successfully completed the three tasks that the faun set before her, she could go back there.

    It was all just a game. It was all untrue, and completely in her head. It even got her killed. It constantly got her in trouble and in no way helped her. In my mind the faun was the devil, and he was tormenting her. He made her do horrible things and put her in horrible situations. He perpetually tricked her, or said that she hadn’t done her task quite right. She hadn’t jumped through the hoop quite the way he wanted. This is how the devil works, in trickery and games. God was completely absent in the entire situation.

    Even the ending was hollow. She died. Game over. She went to be with the faun (who was never nice to her in the first place). It’s like Hotel California. Pretty and shiny at first, but completely fake. If what the faun said at the beginning of the movie was true, and she had escaped the underworld (as he even called it) hundreds of years before, then obviously it isn’t a good place to be.

    Like I said, I just felt like there was a large gaping hole where God should have been.

    This is just me, I’m sure some people (obviously you did) would get something completely different out of the movie. I don’t know how to explain it. If it was allegory (which maybe no one said it was), where is God in it?

    It’s weird, I would definitely watch the movie again, but I don’t think I would change my opinion of it. I liked it, it was just really weird and sad and (imo) Godless.

    Perhaps Art will change my opinion though, and make it all clear to me…

  4. B 13 June 2007 at 6:27 am #

    I think that is a very valid opinion. You can’t help how a movie makes you feel, and your points are strong enough that your opinion shouldn’t need to be changed. I agree with what you’re saying: that God seems to be absent, and that the faun may not be good and definitely wasn’t nice to her.

    The way I see it, every person/creature/element of a movie should not be assigned a ‘God’ or ‘Devil’ name tag. There are many things in many movies that represent other things besides God Himself and the Devil himself. For instance, in Lord of the Rings you have Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel that, to me, seem to be likely ‘God’ candidates. You also have Sauron, Saruman, Gollum, and Wormtongue (Wyrmtongue?) who appear to fit into the Devil complex. I would submit that none of these characters, not even Sauron, represent either God of the Devil; rather, they are merely good or evil characters.

    I don’t want to convey a message of “grey areas” in spirituality, because I truly believe that everything is ultimately leading towards salvation or away from it. And yes, God or the Devil speaks through different people and can take many forms, but I still don’t think we should assign those two extreme labels to characters in every movie, simply because when you’re talking about good and evil it can get pretty complicated. Satan probably wants us to think it’s a simple matter so he can trick us, but a movie like Pan’s Labyrinth, at least to me, evokes discussions and thoughts, like the ones we’re having now, in which we need to figure out for ourselves what is good and what is evil.

    The fact that it has to be explained like this, however, could be a sign that this movie missed the mark and truly is Godless and non-edifying.

    We agree on my original point: that it is a well-made, excellent movie and is worth seeing, although we may have differing opinions on the morality of it. I also have to admit that I’ve only seen it once, and that was when it first came out, so maybe my mind will change when I see it again. Art, write a post already! I want to hear about how you said it is proven that what the little girl experienced was real and not imaginary!

  5. jonathan 13 June 2007 at 7:05 am #

    Okay, so I’ve finally seen the movie and I want to jump into this conversation. I’ve seen it 1.5 times now. :)

    Well, I can say that after seeing it the first time, I felt it was a good movie but not a great one. The imagery is obviously amazing and the characters (esp. the acting of little girl!) are very strong and believable. I think Cpt. Vidal is one of the more sinister characters I’ve seen in a film in a long time. I liked comparing him to the Pale Man and other monsters from the imaginary world. I also admired the doctor’s and Mercedes’ characters.

    The art direction is beautiful and unique and Guillermo del Toro has created a stunningly beautiful *and* grotesque world (both real and imaginary) that is multi-layered and rich in both symbols and references to myth and fairy tales. There are many subtleties going on throughout which you won’t notice unless you watch the movie repeatedly. I had the chance to watch all of the special features, which was also extremely enlightening in terms of the director’s vision and the message he was trying to convey. He is obviously a very talented and well-researched artist.

    All of this being the case however, my feeling is more in line with Chris’s. I admit that I just felt somehow unfulfilled in the end. I wanted something more out of the film, not just a great story but some kind of higher meaning as well, something that transcended what we actually see on the screen. Maybe I expect too much out of films, but I’m always hoping for some kind of redemption. Must be my Christian lens….

    So I would give it a 7 out of 10. Awesome direction, strong characters, great acting, but…there is just something lacking in the end (for me).

    I’ve definitely fallen in love with the Spanish language though….

  6. B 13 June 2007 at 7:28 am #

    Thanks and I’m glad you got to see it. This is interesting because it’s supporting what I said in my original post:

    I’ve talked to a lot of people who did not like this film, and I am absolutely not recommending it to kids as it contains a lot of frightening imagery, but I think it is an absolutely excellent movie…

    I actually think that, aside from my wife and I, the first person I talked to that actually really liked the movie was Art, and that’s why I was prodding him so much to write a post.

    In response to:

    Maybe I expect too much out of films, but I’m always hoping for some kind of redemption…

    I feel that the end was the best part of the movie. The girl dies and goes to heaven, escaping the terrible life she was going to have to endure, and the villain finds out that his future generations will not even know his name, which is the absolute worst punishment he could ever face. It was very redemptive and feel-good for me, just like at the end of Braveheart. William Wallace dies, and it’s sad just like Pan’s Labyrinth, but it’s very redemptive.

    In polling the people that I’ve talked to who didn’t like the movie, the most common reason was the ending, so maybe I’ve just got a sick mind for death. I should hope not though.

  7. jonathan 13 June 2007 at 7:58 am #

    I see your point. I guess I just couldn’t really concieve of that as heaven in the end for the girl, and that’s my major (perhaps only?) hangup with the movie.

  8. Arthur 13 June 2007 at 9:52 am #

    Okay, so I finally got around to doing a post. I would’ve just written it in the comments here, but I’m glad you suggested doing a full post, because it ended up being a long one. I’m not sure if I covered everything you guys were talking about here, but the fact that the movie can spark this kind of conversation proves it was awesome. At least to me.

  9. B 13 June 2007 at 11:52 am #

    Sweet, I just read it and I’ll comment on it when I get a chance. I knew you wouldn’t let me down!

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