Part 1: A Summary about the Movie, Pans Labyrinth
Pans Labyrinth is a Mexican-Spanish dark fantasy movie that is attributed to Guillermo Del Toro as the author and director. The movie was released in 2006 before being distributed and produced by Esperanto Films. The plotline is written against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War or during the early Francoist period. The story revolves around an intertwining of the real and the mythical world in which the protagonist, Ofelia interacts with a faun creature in a huge abandoned labyrinth.
In the story, Princess Moanna, daughter of the king of the underworld makes a visit to the real human world. Unused to the earthly light, she turns blind and loses her memory. All these happen before she dies. In 1944, shortly after the Civil War of Spain, Francisco Franco’s ascends to power. Captain Vidal is one of Franco’s senior military officers who are tasked with crushing the rebel forces. Captain Vidal is Ofelia’s stepfather, having married Carmen, Ofelia’s mother. Captain Vidal’s father had died in Morocco in the line of similar duty. A fairy, in the form of a large stick guides Ofelia into a large ancient labyrinth before Mercedes stops Ofelia. Mercedes is Captain Vidal’s housekeeper, though she is doing espionage for the rebels. The fairy reappears in Ofelia’s bedroom the same night, before leading her through the labyrinth. In the labyrinth, Ofelia meets the faun who takes her to be Princess Moanna. The faun gives Ofelia three tasks to perform and complete before the coming out of the full moon, so that she can acquire immortality. In the meantime, Captain Vidal murders two detainees who had been wrongfully apprehended on suspicion of being rebels (Del Toro, 23).
Ofelia successfully completes the first task which involved retrieving a key from the stomach of a giant frog. Ofelia’s mother is very sick and in her labor at this point. Her condition also seems to worsen by every passing moment. Ofelia is given a mandrake root by the faun, to help cure Carmen’s illness and relieve her pain. Ofelia then performs the second task in the company of three fairy guides. The second task was the retrieval of an ornate dagger from the Pale Man’s rendezvous. However, contrary to the instructions that she had been given, she ate two grapes and awakened the pale Man who in turn ate two of the fairies. Although Ofelia managed to escape, the faun was greatly displeased by Ofelia’s disobedience and turned down the idea of assigning Ofelia the third task.
Continuing in his duty, Vidal kills a doctor for being on the side of the rebels and also tortures others. Vidal gets Ofelia red-handed as she tends to mandrake root and summons Carmen. Carmen in turn throws the mandrake into the fire where it burns in agonizing screams. Interestingly, immediately after this, Carmen goes into painful labor and contractions and passes on while giving birth to a son. It is at this point that Vidal gets acquainted with the fact that Mercedes is a spy working for the rebels. Vidal, after locking Ofelia in her bedroom, extensively tortures Mercedes who perchance manages to free herself. Mercedes hurts Vidal significantly before rushing to join the rebels (Del Toro, 17).
The faun later returns to Ofelia and directs her to take her baby brother with her into the labyrinth. To achieve this, Ofelia sedates Vidal before stealing the baby. Vidal pursues her into the labyrinth but in vain. At this point, the rebels carry out an onslaught on the mill where Vidal is stationed. Ofelia is instructed to open the portal that leads to the underworld by sacrificing her brother’s blood- a command which Ofelia disobeys. The faun, angered, leaves Ofelia to fate. Vidal manages to catch up, snatch the baby from Ofelia’s arms, before shooting her. The rebels nevertheless capture Vidal. Vidal hand the baby over to Mercedes and requests her to tell the baby about him and his manner and time of death. Mercedes turns down the request, comforts the dying Ofelia. Ofelia’s blood spills on an altar before she is seen appearing before a throne room. In the throne room, the king of the underworld says that the command to sacrifice her brother was a test and an artifice to have her spill her own blood and not her innocent brother’s. Ofelia’s mother, the queen of the underworld grants Ofelia to sit and rule by her father’s side.
Part 2: Paraphrase about The Formula Is Broken By Paul Constant
Joseph Campbell is being accused of ruining the art of storytelling for posterity. To illustrate this further, the author begins by acknowledging the fact that Campbell may have been being driven by noble thoughts and intents in his comparison of myths. Constant specifically points out that Campbell may have been looking for an archetype. However, in his efforts in comparing myths and narratives, he attenuated the room for creativity by making narratives and myths an objective feat such as algebra. According to Constant, it is against this backdrop that generalizations have been made to the effect that narratives and myths must have definite structures and characteristics such as a heroes’ journey. It is for this reason that Hollywood’s script have become very predictable and less creative since most scripts have come to be based on Campbell’s school of thought (Constant, 1).
Constant argues that the propagation of a common structure or characteristics such as the presence of the hero’s journey is wrong and serves as the bane for creativity. This is the case since not all stories have similar intents, structure and thematic assumptions. The failure to observe this fact has been the reason behind predictable literary pieces such as Mr. T. and Rubik the Amazing Cube (Constant, 1).
Part 3: Summary about The Formula Is Broken by Paul Constant
In the passage, there are criticisms that are being leveled at Joseph Campbell’s postulations about storytelling. The author concedes to the fact that Campbell’s postulations cannot be fully rubbished since he was trying to establish common archetypes. However, the pitfalls that came with this attempt are what Constant lambasts as narrow-minded and too stereotypical to be helpful. To this effect, Constant observes that contrary to the postulations by Joseph Campbell and his protégés that every story has a hero’s journey are wrong. Constant divulges that pointing out at John Henry’s The Odyssey and Dante’s Inferno is not an approach strong enough to lend the assumption any credence. This has led to needless uniformity and lack of originality in stories and narrative accounts. People therefore adopt a wrong premise as the basis for the story. The essence of stories fails since stories are supposed to challenge both narrative and non-narrative assumptions (Constant, 1).
Constant, Paul. The Formula Is Broken: Congress of the Animals Comes from Where Stories Are Born. June 29, 2011. Retrieved on November 10, 2014, from: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-formula-is-broken/Content?oid=8844935 Electronic
Del Toro, Guillermo. Pans Labyrinth. New York: PictureHouse, 2006. Print/ Electronic