When her loving soldier father dies in combat during Spain's civil war, young Ofelia (Baquero) is stuck with Captain Vidal (Lopez), a brute of a stepfather, when her mother, Carmen (Gil), remarries. Ofelia sees an escape from her miserable situation when she stumbles upon a garden labyrinth that leads to a freakish-yet-bewitching underground fantasy world inhabited by strange creatures led by Pan (Jones), who is part goat, part man. He tells Ofelia that she might be their lost princess but must perform three tasks in order to prove herself worthy of the crown. Despite feeling guilty about abandoning her mother, whose difficult pregnancy leaves her bedridden, Ofelia takes on the risky, off-the-wall missions. Eventually the line between the two worlds blurs, causing dire consequences. Complex and entertaining fairy tale mixes vivid scenery with computer-generated effects, but its violence and adult themes are too intense for the kiddies. In Spanish with subtitles.
http://braidedthreads.blogspot.com/2008/09/pans-labrynth.html ...This movie is really, really good. And I could probably recommend it to only half the adults I know. The level of graphic violence and general intensity is heightened by the presence of children who may at any moment witness (or have inflicted upon them) various physical horrors.
The film is heavy on plot, but there is still plenty of room to explore vivid imaginary (or not?) landscapes and characters. The story is set in a Spanish countryside in 1944 where fascist troops are fighting against rebels. A young girl and her pregnant mother seek refuge in a country estate that has become a stronghold for a villainous fascist general and his minions.