Pan's Labyrinth Soundtrack
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro's Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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Sountrack to director Guillermo del Toro's 2006 horror/fantasy film starring Ivana Baquero.
Too many soundtracks feel interchangeable, and rare are the composers who really capture a movie's core. But Javier Navarrete has succeeded in his Oscar-nominated score for Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, a dark fantasy set in 1944 Spain. The first cue, "Long, Long Time Ago," sets the melancholy tone with piano and voice; the spectral piano pops up several more times, and the theme is more fully developed in "Mercedes Lullaby." But it's the second track, the aptly titled "The Labyrinth," that really gives the listener insight into the movie's tenebrous universe. While Navarrete can certainly do short, intimate pieces dotted with telling arrangements (like the few trumpet notes adding a subtle Spanish flavor to "Rose, Dragon"), he excels on the longer tracks, such as "Not Human," which goes through a succession of moods, each one increasingly scary, without ever going overboard into cheap, demonstrative effects. Navarrete has already had a long career as a film scorer in Spain, and this won't be the last American audiences hear from him. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
Top customer reviews
Even so, buying the soundtrack to a non-Hollywood film was still unusual for me, but where I live, good film scores are hard to come by and this one just happened to appear in a local CD store, so I bought it, and boy was I glad that I did.
As is explained in the liner notes and in the DVD's special features, Del Toro wanted the main theme to be a simple lullaby melody, reflecting the fairy tale nature of the story. Javier Navarette succeeded not only in this, but also in crafting a beautiful score that seems to emanate from the main theme.
It is both enchanting when it accompanies the curiosity and mystery of the fairy tale, and harsh and disturbing when it conveys the evils present in both the fantasy and the reality. The main theme, the lullaby, permeates all of the music, but there are also other themes, like one that represents Mercedes' courage and another to reflect the tragic deaths in the story.
I find it difficult to describe the music as it is unlike anything I have heard before, but in a good way. Also, the CD does not suffer from the fluctuating recording levels that I always encounter in `Hollywood soundtracks': what I mean is, the sound is balanced and you don't have to keep adjusting it for loud and soft parts.
An added bonus, as del Toro points out in the liner notes, is that this CD is in effect a `complete recording', as it includes all of the music composed for the film, even those pieces not used in the film: this mainly comprises music to accompany the fighting sequences, but there is also music for Ofelia and the Faun's first meeting together.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this soundtrack, and it is now one of my firm favourites. For fans of the Hollywood composers, Zimmer, Elfman, Williams, et al., give Javier Navarette a try and prepare to be transported into a fairy tale where light and dark wage a bloody, but ultimately redeeming, battle for the soul of a princess.
The music brings the final horrific and fantastical scene to life in the film, and brings a tear to your eye as you listen on the CD.
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