CinemasLot’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I am both horrified and dazzled all at the same time when witnessing a movie, I think you've got something going for you. "Guillermo Del Toro" is one of the great filmmakers of the last twenty years. Like "Kubrick" and "Miyazaki", while his filmography might be small, it feels like there is so much put into each frame, storyboard, line of dialogue and concept that makes the film feel larger than life itself in more ways than one. "Pan's Labyrinth" (or "El laberinto del fauno") is no exception, and while it may not have received the same level of awards buzz that "Del Toro's" "Shape of Water" received, it is most certainly his Masterpiece and one of the great films of all-time.
Fairy tales often are among the most important stories to tell people as they help us to broaden and expand our thinking process when it comes to stuff like imagination and creativity, but it also lets us understand certain elements of life and the unknown much more and lets us really get inside I that much more.
The best stories generally are the ones that reach off the page, lyric or screen and into our hearts. The ones that touch us on a deeper level is something that everyone should be allowed to feel especially when we are examining and appreciating art.
What "Del Toro" accomplished here is creating his own unique fairy tale that has elements of "Alice in Wonderland" and other classic fairy tales to create something truly uncompromised and absolutely beautiful to watch from start to finish and never lags along the way.
The creature effects and costumes are some of the best I've ever seen in a motion picture. This is why practical effects and costuming are important, cause tre reality of the imagery shines through so much more (hope you're listening Disney).
The music too is a character within itself, it's darkly haunting but also deeply moving and magical in many other parts and never for a single moment does the music feel like an afterthought. Honestly I'd probably be willing to buy the soundtrack on vinyl even.
The film is also a mainstream film that is done entirely out of foreign language. Sure, Spanish is a very popular language in North America, but in terms of viewing it in media entertainment it does not tend to be very common and it's great to see a filmmaker embrace that uniqueness to it all and respect the audience enough to let them naturally welcome it into their movie going experience.
I won't delve deep into the plot since I don't really want to spoil anything for any potential new viewers discovering it for the first time. But don't be surprised if you find yourself emotionally moved.