By Cynthia Bujnicki
Guillermo Del Toro’s fantastical film comes to life in this rich and vibrant novel that gives a new dimension to the film.
Pan’s Labyrinth is what one expects it to be a novelization of Guillermo Del Toro’s fantastic movie of the same name. Except there is so much more to it. Following Ofelia, the novel follows the same path as the film, with minor differences.
The vivid imagination here embodies Del Toro’s visual aesthetic beautifully. By translating his work into a novel, with the teamwork and style of Funke’s storytelling, there is a much needed in-depth analysis of the characters, giving them new dimensions, as well as providing their history and the respective narratives a stronger voice. The reader can understand the characters a little more and see them in a different light. Funke and Del Toro came together to provide each character and the story as a whole, with a haunting atmosphere that is both enigmatic and fearful at the same time. It is a wonderfully dangerous beauty what this novel is, capturing the pain, fear, and heartbreak in the film and translating it with such vivid wonder into the novel. By giving each character a voice in the scenes, together, the authors create a balanced and thoughtful representation of the story, highlighting the haunting illustration of the traits and insecurities behind each of the characters.
Del Toro and Funke also added more to the story that breaks up the overall plot and yet influences it so heavily. The small inserts of the magic and history of the novel. They are unique to the novel but have an incredible bearing on the smallest of elements of the film. It provides the novel with this powerful, vibrant intensity, highlighting the magical realism of the novel. The added illustrations also give the novel a feel of the fairy tale magic. They are done in style similar to those of Grimm Fairy Tales, and gives the story an eerie feeling to it, allowing the magic and mysticism to bleed off the pages.
This novel gives readers and fans a new appreciation of the film as a whole as it adds dimensions to the story as a whole. (★★★★☆)