29 Jul 2017

HIGH FANTASY RULES - Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Film genres have formulas and rules, but how well do High Fantasy films follow their formula?

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) aka El Laberinto Del Fauno is a modern fairy tale for adult.  

The following analysis may contain spoilers for


RULE #1 - The Secondary World.

"A long time ago, in the underground realm, where there are no lies or pain, there lived a Princess who dreamed of the human world. She dreamed of blue skies, soft breeze, and sunshine. One day, eluding her keepers, the Princess escaped. Once outside, the brightness blinded her and erased every trace of the past from her memory. She forgot who she was and where she came from." ~ Pan (opening narration).

Theoretically, the real world is the secondary world, as it's claimed it's dreamed up by someone from the fantasy realm.

1a.  Type:  A world that people from the real world can travel to in some way, but mostly set in the real world
1b.  Faux-medieval - We only see the other world briefly, but what we see seems a little this way.
1c.  Panoramic landscapes - Some.
1d.  Impossible buildings and landmarks - The other world certainly is.  The real world has some interesting but not impossible objects.
1e.  Archaic spelling/strange names - No.
1f.  Hyper-real - Seems so.

RULE #2 - There may be sex and nudity.

"Please, forgive my wife.  She hasn't been exposed to the world.  She thinks these silly stories are interesting to others." ~ Captain Vidal

Not a children's film (it contains graphic violence), but contains no sex or nudity.

2a.  Nudity
i.  Female Nudity - No female nudity (some suggested nudity in bath tubs).
ii.  Male Nudity - No male nudity.
2b.  Sex
i.  Death - Carmen dies due to complications due to pregnancy, which hardly counts.
ii.  Random Sex - No sex.
ii. Relationship Sex - No sex
iii.  Rape - No rape.

RULE #3 - Characters.

"My name is Ofelia.  Who are you?" ~ Ofelia.

3a.  The Hero - Ofelia/Princess Moanna fits as the young female variety.
3b.  The Hero's Parents - The hero's father has died before the film, her mother dies during it.  She also has another father, the king, in the fantasy land and an evil step father in the real world.

3c - 3i.  The Party of Adventurers - None.
3c.  The Mentor - Perhaps Pan himself.
3d.  The Heroine - N/A
3e.  A Warrior - N/A.
3f.  A Warrior Woman - In a way, Mercedes, Vidal's servant who is secretly helping the rebels.
3g.  A User of Magic - N/A.
3h.  A Thief - The fairies to a degree.
3i.  A pet or other animal - The fairies to a degree.

3j.  King - None.
3k.  The Hag - Possibly Pan, if not the mentor.

3l.  The Dark Lord - Captain Vidal is the real world version of this.
3m.  An evil female
i. Female Henchman - N/A.
ii. Member of Harem -  N/A.
iii.  Dark Lord's Daughter -  N/A.
3n.  Male Henchmen -  A couple of soldiers.
3o.  Minions -  N/A.

3o - 3q.  An Evil Person.
3o.  Grand Vizier -  N/A.
3p.  Evil relative -  N/A.
3q.  The Priest -  N/A.

RULE #4 - Races & Cultures.

"He was very old, very tall and smelled like earth.  My mother warned me" ~ Ofelia.

4a.  Homogeneous Races - In terms of races with multiple examples there are mostly just Earth humans and a couple of fairies

i.  Good/Evil - The humans include some truely evil characters.
ii.   Magic - Earth humans have no magic abilities.  Fairies seemingly exist as magic.
iii.   Habitat - Spain.
4b.  Races.
i.  Humans - Earth humans, mostly.  Some fairy land humans appear briefly.
ii.  Elves - None.
iii.  Dwarfs - None.
iii.  Halflings - None.
iv.  Fairies - Yes.
v.  Centaurs/part animals - Yes, Pan, the faun.
vi.  Giants - No.
vii.  Trolls - The pale man, possible.
viii.  Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins - None.
4d.  Societies - None shown.
4e.  Homogeneous Culture - None shown.
4f.  Rival cultures - None shown.

RULE #5 - Magic & Monsters

"Magic does not exist.  Not for you, me, or anybody else." ~ Carmen.

5a.  Magical Past - There are ruins all around.
5b.  Low Magic Present - Yes.
5c.  Magical laws - There are rules, not real laws.
5d.  Good vs Evil - Not delineated.
5e.  Gendered - N/A.
5f.  Hereditary - N/A.
5g.  Spells & Powers
i.  Healing - Ofelia is given a Mandrake root to help her mother survive her pregnancy.
ii.  Remote Viewing - No.
iii.  Obfuscation - No.
iv.  Shape changing - The fairies no.
v.  Necromancy - No.
5k.  Items of Magic - A book.
5l.  Artifacts of Great Power - No.
5m.  Religion - None.
5n.  Mythical creatures 
i.  Dragon - None.
ii.  Unicorns - None.
iii.  Griffins, Rocs, Sphinx - None.
iv.  Giant Things - The giant toad.
v.  Supernatural Creatures -  None
vi.  Raised creatures - None.
vii.  Nameless Beast - None.


RULE #6 - The Quest

"However, her father, the King, always knew that the Princess' soul would return, perhaps in another body, in another place, at another time. And he would wait for her, until he drew his last breath, until the world stopped turning..." ~ Pan (opening narration.)

6a.  The Artifact - Only the location - the portal.
6b.  Destroy the Dark Lord - No, and happens via other characters.
6c.  Save the Heroine - No.
6d.  Unite the races/Raise an army - No.
6e.  Prophecy - Partially, as they are trying to get the princess to return..
6f.  Other events:
i.  Win a Contest - N/A.
ii.  Stop an Execution - N/A.
iii.  Stop a Wedding - N/A.
6g.  The Hero's Journey - See below.

RULE #7 - The Hero's Journey: Departure

"But we have to make sure that your essence is intact, that you have not become a mortal.  You must complete three tasks before the moon is full." ~ Pan.

7a.  Secret Origin
i.  The Chosen One - In a way.  As someone from the fantasy land in the real world she counts.
ii.  Orphaned - Not initially, but eventually, and then only in the real world.
iii.  Revenge - No.
7b.  Ordinary World
i.  From Earth - The opposite.
ii.  Peaceful Lands - No, post war Spain.
7c.  Initial Tests - Possibly placing the eye in the statue.
7d.  The Call to Adventure - Meeting Pan, the faun.
7e.  Refusal of the Call - Not really.
7f.  Supernatural Aid
i.  Meeting with the Mentor - Again, meeting the faun.
ii.  A supernatural guide - The fairies and, yeah, the faun.
iii.  May be given a magic item or artifact - A couple.
iv.  The Party will begin to form - No.
7g.  Crossing the Threshold - Multiple crossings; into the tree, through the chalk doorway,
7h.  Belly of the Whale - Perhaps.

RULE #8 - The Hero's Journey: Initiation

"Tell my son the time that his father died. Tell him..." ~ Captain Vidal.
"No. He won't even know your name." ~ Mercedes.

8a.  The Road of Trials - Ofelia is given 3 trials to complete.
8b.  The Vision Quest - N/A.
8c.  The Meeting with the Goddess - N/A.
8d.  Lure away from Journey - To protect her mother & brother.
8e.  A Greater Power - The faun.
8f.  The Ordeal - Apotheosis/Death - Only at the end
8g.  The Ordeal - Descent into the underworld - Not really.
8h.  The Ultimate Boon - At the end.

RULE #9 - The Hero's Journey: Return.

"Quickly Your Majesty, give him to me. The full moon is high in the sky. We can open the portal." ~ Pan.
"What is that in your hand?" ~ Ofelia.
"The portal will only open if we offer the blood of an innocent. Just a drop of blood: a pinprick, that's all. It's the final task." ~ Pan.

9a.  Refusal of the Return - The reverse is true.
9b.  The Magic Flight - No.
9c.  Rescue from Without - No.
9d.  The Crossing of the Return Threshold Yes.
9e.  Master of Two Worlds - Only partially in this world.
9f.  Freedom to Live - Yes.

RULE #10 - Sequels/Remakes/Adaptations

"And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look." ~ Pan (closing narration).

10a.  Adaptation - Not an adaptation.
10b.  Sequels - No sequel, it was the second film in a proposed thematic trilogy with The Devil's Backbone (2001) and the 3993 which there are no plans to complete at this time.
10c.  Remakes - No remake.


"But captain, to obey - just like that - for obedience's sake... without questioning... That's something only people like you do." ~ Doctor.

  • Rules that are followed in this film:  2, 5,  
  • Rules that are partially followed, or not clear, in this film:  1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

~ DUG.

1 comment:

  1. Jammer dat het meisje in bad niet gaat staan. Had graag haar blote kutje willen zien