Latest Movie News Headlines

Face-Off: Pan's Labyrinth vs. The Devil's Backbone

07.11.2013by: Mathew Plale
100%
In the previous Face-Off, you chose the workforce over college life by selecting MONSTERS INC. over its prequel, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY.

With PACIFIC RIM hitting theaters on Friday, this weekís Face-Off pits two of Guillermo del Toroís best films, 2006ís PANíS LABYRINTH and 2001ís THE DEVILíS BACKBONE, against each other to find out which of these Spanish-language gems comes out on top.

Story
PANíS LABYRINTH tells the story of Ofelia, a young girl who stumbles upon a labyrinth and, through her ALICE IN WONDERLAND-esque journey, encounters a number of fantastical creatures, including the Faun and the Pale Man, which both allow her escape from the real world and symbolize most every major figure and event in her life.
THE DEVILíS BACKBONE concerns Carlos, a young boy who comes to an orphanage and discovers the groundís greatest secret: the ghost of another adolescent (ďthe one who sighsĒ) who drowned years prior and ominously warns of dangers ahead.
Historical Context
One of the themes of both PANíS and BACKBONE is the effect war has on people both old and young. PAN is set in the years following the Spanish Civil War. While the story primarily focuses on Ofelia, a subplot involves her stepfatherís relentless mission to resist all anti-Franco guerrillas.
BACKBONE is set just a few years prior to PAN during the tail end of the Spanish Civil War. Here, the backdrop is laid out by having the orphanage owned by two Republican supporters and under frequent attacks by Franco supporters.
Atmosphere/Vision
Guillermo del Toro perfectly creates a fantasy world that no one had ever imagined before, with incredibly wondrous creatures like fairies and the aforementioned Faun and Pale Man (both played by Doug Jones). These characters stemmed from the directorís detailed notebooks and in part his ďlucid dreaming,Ē and were created using expert makeup and costume techniques. Nearly every image inside of the labyrinth and its underworld stands above what other directors have so far conjured up for the genre.
BACKBONE focuses less on the fantasy element than it does horror, which limits the sorts of characters that will pop up. But del Toroís grip on the horror genre (as also seen in 1993ís CRONOS) and ability to create a nail-biting atmosphere allow BACKBONE to be full of frightening images and moments. The standout is the scene that ranked on Bravoís 100 Scariest Movie Moments: Carlos cautiously creeps down to the basement, where he hears footprints that can only belong to the ghost Santi. And then we finally see himÖ
Acclaim
PANíS LABYRINTH holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the most critically acclaimed films of its year. In addition to snagging nods/wins at the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes and the Cannes Film Festival, it also earned six Oscar nominations (behind only DREAMGIRLS and BABEL), including ones for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score. It went on to win three statues, second only to the Best Picture winner, THE DEPARTED.
THE DEVILíS BACKBONE sits at a 91% on the Tomatometer, making it del Toroís second-best reviewed work to date. It didnít earn any Academy love, but it was nominated for a Saturn Award, a Goya Award and an International Horror Guild honor, to name a few.
Pan's Labyrinth
While THE DEVILíS BACKBONE is one of the more effective horror films of the last dozen years (youíll never see wet footprints the same), PANíS LABYRINTH is a masterpiece of both its genre (with inventive set design, makeup and costumes) and world cinema (as reviews and accolades have supported). It is a fantasy for adults but still doesnít belittle a childís imagination or worries, and treats both its characters and subject matter with tremendous respect.

If you have suggestions for an upcoming Face-Off column, shoot me an e-mail at mathewplale@joblo.com!

Do you vote for faun or ghost?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

4:52PM on 07/11/2013
While i loved both movies, Pans Labyrinth is one film on a very short list that actually managed to break my heart. Its the quintessential adult fairy tale. Pan's all the way.
While i loved both movies, Pans Labyrinth is one film on a very short list that actually managed to break my heart. Its the quintessential adult fairy tale. Pan's all the way.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:21PM on 07/11/2013
Both films are awesome....so this is a pretty tough matchup. (I personally think Del Toro's Spanish films are a lot better than his English-language films).
Both films are awesome....so this is a pretty tough matchup. (I personally think Del Toro's Spanish films are a lot better than his English-language films).
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:03PM on 07/11/2013
Agree.
Agree.
10:04AM on 07/11/2013
STILL haven't seen Backbone! Frustrated!!!!
STILL haven't seen Backbone! Frustrated!!!!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:49AM on 07/11/2013

My two favorite del Toro films!

Pan's Labyrinth wins out by being one of my all-time favorite movies, and for having a (slightly) more menacing villain. The fantasy elements seal the deal, but I always find myself coming back to Sergi Lopez's Captain Vidal. His character is terrifying because he believes in what he's doing. By comparison, Jacinto comes off as a whiny little bitch. Jacinto is a formidable character, but he feels more like a movie villain than a real person. History was made by men like Captain Vidal.
Pan's Labyrinth wins out by being one of my all-time favorite movies, and for having a (slightly) more menacing villain. The fantasy elements seal the deal, but I always find myself coming back to Sergi Lopez's Captain Vidal. His character is terrifying because he believes in what he's doing. By comparison, Jacinto comes off as a whiny little bitch. Jacinto is a formidable character, but he feels more like a movie villain than a real person. History was made by men like Captain Vidal.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:02AM on 07/11/2013

Pan's Labyrinth

I have never seen The Devil's Backbone but I have heard it is scary as hell. I actually prefer Del Toro's early work & I dig Pan's Labyrinth, so many great visuals
I have never seen The Devil's Backbone but I have heard it is scary as hell. I actually prefer Del Toro's early work & I dig Pan's Labyrinth, so many great visuals
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:04PM on 07/11/2013
It is not scary at all. It is just a great all around movie.
It is not scary at all. It is just a great all around movie.
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More