Beautiful to watch, and a magical storyline set against a backdrop of war. The animation is great, and the characters feel well developed. As a English speaker, I was surprised to learn it was in Spanish, but I can read, and I like to pretend I could follow enough of the Spanish that I didn't need the English subtitles (of course I couldn't!). Some fairly blunt violence throughout but it helps you hate a character.
Guillermo's masterpiece, whatever you say about his future blockbusters he had a story that somehow made a balance between the Spanish civil war and a gothic fantasy fairy tale with child eating monsters and a forest walking seven foot goat that worked. Heartbreaking in it's finally conclusion given how ambiguous it leaves us whether the mystical creatures were an escapism for Ofelia given the violence around her.
For teenagers who have the patience, and for adult viewers, this is a powerful enchantment. Del Toro himself is the insect/fairy who takes our hand and takes us slowly and surely into an underworld as beautiful as it is dark, reassuring us at every step that we have nothing to fear, as long as we remember everything he is telling us. It's a tale of familial love, a tale of grief, a tale of war, and a tale of tales.
Guillermo del Toro delivered a wonderful film during World War II, and how Ofelia switches from a magical world to the real world. The magical realism Toro portrayed in this film is outstanding and has the audience question if what Ofelia experienced was all an escape from the horrible things happening in the outside world or she was truly chosen to fulfill her duties.
Wow, at times this was so dark the evil thrill went straight through my bones. I'm not a big fan of fairy tale lore, but I really liked the rendition in this film. I like how the promised kingdom is not shown, and how that entire world is really quite vague. It may not be entirely my cup of tea still, but this is a good film.
Mixture of war movie and drama with fantasy and horror, remains Guillermo Del Toro's greatest accomplishment. Unsuccessful attempts to recapture the same magic only secure this as a triumph of both style and substance. Mankind's disposals are the most despicable incarnations - while set and creature designs are as timeless as the message of "small traces in time visible only to those who know where to look".
So I guess del Toro is antifa. Lol. Kidding aside, it's a solid movie. The cinematography is the strongest point, and the script is great, but I would have liked to see more of the fantastical. It leans more on the war drama side, as another reviewer pointed out. And that's fine, but still. Seems like there's some missed potential there.
I have a lot of sympathy for the characters, and I liked how it portrayed the problems of picking sides in war. Doug Jones's faun is a highlight with all his shaking hooves and enigmatic personality.. The second task with the hand-eye pale man monster is a really good nightmare is hard to forget. My only minor problem with the story is that too many characters make stupid mistakes.