Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto Del Fauno)

Featured In Issue 128, February 2008

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
New Line Home Entertainment
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For graphic violence and some language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Guillermo del Toro
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Now living in a hillside stronghold after the Spanish Civil War, young and imaginative Ofelia (Baquero) stumbles upon a long-forgotten stone labyrinth and meets Pan (Jones), a magical faun. He convinces her that she is a lost princess of the underworld, and in order for her to return, she must complete three tasks. Determined to reclaim her kingdom, she is unaware of the immediate danger that threatens her bedridden mother (Gil) and yet-to-be-born brother. Pan's Labyrinth (El Labertino Del Fauno) won three 2007 Oscars®, including Cinematography. (Jack Kelley)

Special features include visual or audio commentary by Director Guillermo del Toro, the following featurettes: Power Of The Myth (14 minutes), Pan And The Fairies (30 minutes), The Color And The Shape (four minutes); The Lullaby has two sub-featurettes, The Melody Echoes The Fairy Tale (three minutes) and Mercedes Lullaby (two minutes); a Director's Notebook in three chapters—Del Toro's Notes And Sketches, Storyboard/Thumbnail Compares, and Galleries—an episode of The Charlie Rose Show (50 minutes), four DVD comics present the prequel stories to this film; a Marketing Campaign segment containing two theatrical trailers for this film, plus additional TV spots and Web-enabled features.

The VC-1-encoded HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc both look identical, with good resolution presenting fine textures nicely. Still, there are many instances where the image is rather soft. Black levels are elevated to levels that are higher than they should be, which can make darker scenes look flat. Daytime, outdoor scenes look superbly dimensional, though. There are so many dark scenes, though, it is disappointing the black levels are not deeper. Heavy film grain can be a distraction in some shots, but in others it isn't noticeable. (Danny Richelieu)

The HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc both include a lossless Spanish-language DTS-HD™ Master Audio 7.1-channel encoding, which we do not have the capability of decoding. The core DTS® stream, however, sounds fantastic, with very good dynamic range and articulation, and an involving mix that really fills the listening space. Bass is deep and penetrating, with the LFE channel incorporated well, infusing the room with a solid low-end foundation. The added benefit of the center surround channels really increases surround imaging, creating a terrific surroundfield. The two versions sound identical. (Danny Richelieu)