Here at Flavorwire, we do our level best to engage in rational, reasoned, thoughtful criticism. But there are elements of our culture that are simply out of our analytical grasp: the films, music, authors, television shows, etc. that we hate with no reasonable explanation. Welcome to Irrational Hatred Week, in which your Flavorwire staffers share what we loathe in a variety of media, and do our best to figure out why. Today’s Irrational Hatred topic: movies.
To be clear: Pan’s Labyrinth is a vivid film, richly and sumptuously designed. Its visual flights of fancy are stunning, and the imagery cooked up by writer/director Guillermo del Toro is moody and frequently memorable. And I never connected emotionally with it, not for a second. Its dark, gruesome, brutal aesthetic is infinitely off-putting, and it’s full of beffudling narrative detours, playing less like a story and more like a notebook full of ideas that del Toro jammed into his screenplay whether they made sense or not. In the years since its release, my indifference to the picture is greeted by horrified, misunderstanding looks; people love this movie, and their affection for it is as inexplicable to me and my distaste must be to them. I still can’t put my finger on why a film that so many saw as magical was, to me, so ugly and forgettable, but here’s the best I’ve come up with: Pan’s Labyrinth feels like the kind of movie where countless hours were spent discussing how the film should look, but no one bothered to talk about how it should make the viewer feel. – Jason Bailey, Film Editor