Fairy tales are types of stories that characteristically feature European folkloric fantasy characters like dwarves, giants or even witches and magic among others. They take place once upon a time rather than real time. Pan's Labyrinth a Mexican-Spanish fantasy film is one such fairy tale. Although some claim that Pan's Labyrinth is not a Fairytale, there are sufficient reasons to support that indeed it is a fairy tale (Zipes 15).
The story takes place during the early Francoist period about five years after the Spanish civil war. It is starred by a character Ofiela haunting the Spanish maquis who were involved in the fight against the francoist regime. This narrative intertwines the real world with a mythical world and overgrown, deserted labyrinth which the major character interrelates. From this, one can conclude that it is not happening in actual time since it doesn't happen in the real world. The mythical world supports the idea of it being a fairy tale. The mystifying faun being is not an existing creature but a created being by the movie director. Some of the characters are magical as we can see a fun dwelling in a hole at the center of a winding circle.
Faun gives Ofiela three errands to complete prior to the moon being full which if she succeeds to do; she gets proven pure of spirit and her kingdom reinstated to her alongside eternal life. The presence of magic in Pan's Labyrinth as the feature does also characterize it as a fairy tale. We see another marvel follow completion of the errands. This marvel is an out of ordinary occurrence giving fairies about the film. That supports the story as being fairy. The presence of Pale Man, who is a child-eating monster sitting silently in the frontage of a big feast is yet another feature. An additional is the large stick insect that Ofelia believed was fairy.
Ofelia is a magical twilight creature, someplace between girl and woman. That means it is an imaginary being not existing in real life typical of fairy tales. In fairy tales, the creatures or beings are mythical or mysterious. As discussed earlier they possess supernatural or magical abilities and this scene properly gives the evidence of these qualities. We hear a fatherly (Godly) male voiceover at the end of the film that tells of Ofelia returning to the kingdom of her father. We see women regarded as unquestionably good and possess magical powers and intuition this too does support the movie as a fairy tale.
The film shows women's creative power to lie in their biology; the female body is portrayed as hideous, and is to be dreaded, out of control, limitless and regressively linked with witchcraft. Instances like menstruation regarded as a curse quite out of ordinary (Grimm, Wilhelm and Hans 27). This characteristic is typical of a fairy tale and thus authenticates Pan’s Labyrinth as a fairy tale.
In conclusion, Pan's Labyrinth is a fairytale and, indeed, fantasy is employed with mysterious beings, magical strength, an unhappy ending and suffering a characteristic of fairy tales. Thus disputing Pan's Labyrinth as not being a fairy tale is doing it injustice given the setting, the story line, characters, and general happenings in the film.
Grimm, Jacob, Wilhelm Grimm, and Hans C. Andersen. Classic Fairy Tales: Vol. 1. Gambrills, MD: AlphaDVD, 2006.
Zipes, Jack. Breaking the magic spell: Radical theories of folk and fairy tales. University Press of Kentucky, 2002.