Metacritic's Best Reviewed Movie of the Decade: Pan's Labyrinth

December 18, 2009
Source: Metacritic

Pan's Labyrinth

Surprised? Well, this is Metacritic, a site similar to Rotten Tomatoes that compiles reviews from the top critics, so it's not just someone picking their own favorites films. "Our film staff has been collecting reviews for each week’s new theatrical releases since the fall of 1999, and, as a result, we have a nearly complete database of films from the past decade: certainly every major release from 2000-09, and virtually all minor releases, including obscure titles that barely made an appearance on the big screen." They then ranked every film ever reviewed by their Metacritic score and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth ended up on top.

You can head over to thier The Best (and Worst) Movies of the Decade article to find out more information and see a complete list of the 100 best reviewed movies of the decade. While the official list includes indies and all kinds of obscure films, Metacritic made a list of the "Best-Reviewed Wide-Release Films" that gives us a better sense of Metacritic's very best of this decade (if that means anything). Here's the top 10:

1. Pan's Labyrinth
2. Ratatouille
3. Spirited Away
4. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
5. Sideways
6. Wall-E
7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
8. There Will Be Blood
9. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
10. The Queen

Now this seems like a list that I'd end up choosing for my own best of the decade (in the works). It's got a great mix of Pixar movies, foreign films, and of course Lord of the Rings. The only big one missing is The Dark Knight - on Metacritic's wide release list, it's at #62, but it is also the decade's highest-grossing film. Getting back on topic, I'm sure we're going to see more and more best of the decade lists as this years comes to an end. While I'm sure Pan's Labyrinth will end up on quite a few of those lists, I'm glad to see it receive this accolade, if only to make up for losing the Best Foreign Language Oscar to The Lives of Others in 2007.

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ok.. i almost buy this list... Pan's Labyrinth was just perfect... Guillermo is one of the best. Agree with almost everything, except... Wall-E... i do hate this one... to much noise for nothing.

D. on Dec 18, 2009


methinks this list is shit

Voice of Reason on Dec 18, 2009


Dark Knight is one of the most over rated films of the last million years, you need to stop mentioning it. I really wish Heath Ledger hadn't died and made it more memorable because of his overdose. Sideways was pretty funny, any Disney films can fuck off. The Queen? Who cares about that inbred old cow. Miyasaki, always good, LOTR dated fast effects wise, but was still pretty epic. Ratatouille, Christ. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon all style no sense,,,,,,,,,,,,,, - Ach each to their own, variety is the spice of life an all that,,,,,

Crapola on Dec 18, 2009


I liked Pan's Labyrinth quite a bit -- but the violence in that one is surprising, and feels a little gratuitous at times. We get that he's an antagonist, we do...

dRailer on Dec 18, 2009


Sorry Dark Knight is better than Sideways. I like Sideways OK, but it ain't Dark Knight

tyrascilee on Dec 18, 2009


@1 your nuts, Wall-E is one of the best pixar movies. I know it's my favorite. Surprised with sideways and the queen. Good movies but not top 10. Wish Little Miss Sunshine was on there.

hale on Dec 18, 2009


I can handle this list, despite some movies being out of that list that should be in there. To me, and to a lot of people I know, Pans Labyrinth was interesting and all that but, not THE greatest and definately not most memorable. I would like to see that at 11 or twelve.

Scott McHenry on Dec 18, 2009


@3 Couldnt agree more, that movie was soo overhyped. Thank god its not on the list, but I knew that when I didnt see it, fanboys were going to complain.

Welbanks on Dec 18, 2009


The dark knight was an amazing movie but I do agree it was overhyped just cause of ledgers death. But it also definitely deserves to be on this list. Honestly this list is perfect evidence of why I never base seeing a movie off of critics reviews cause for my opinion they are usually way off except in some cases where its just a masterpiece all around. Me thinks this list is shit too. I mean pans labrynth as movie of the decade? It was good but no where near that good.

Cody on Dec 18, 2009


Ratatouille?!?!?!?! That flick was JUNK!

Eric B. on Dec 18, 2009


I agree with Wall-E from that list.. that's pretty much it. Crouching Tiger was boring and way overrated, Sideways sucked big time

Antioch on Dec 18, 2009


For some reason (even though I sometimes don't agree with the choices) I like seeing these end of the year/ end of the decade type lists. Don't hesitate to post some more Alex!

Alfredo on Dec 18, 2009


What a brilliant list....with the exception of the weak Wall-e. everything else was perfect. Pan was a superior film. Bar NONE!

Clover on Dec 18, 2009


Oh wow, I just read the actual list, and Borat was higher ranked than Finding Nemo and Eternal Sunshine (two of my particular top 10 of the decade)... strange.

Alfredo on Dec 18, 2009


My best of the decade list would have to include The Dark Knight as well. But from this list, I'd only really agree with The Return of the King and There Will Be Blood.

SlashBeast on Dec 18, 2009


definately ROTK and Dark knight. pans lab was ok but it didn't blow me away. you can also find the same creatures in Hellboy 2 if you need a GDT fix.

subcelsious5g on Dec 18, 2009


4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days(a romanian production) is #2 on The Best Movies of the Decade(not Best-Reviewed Wide-Release Films from above). That's something...

me on Dec 18, 2009


I didn't like Pan's Labyrinth. A lot of the scenes played out like they were going to be more interesting than they really turned out to be. And, honestly, Sideways? I mean, it was good, not really funny, but in top ten of the decade? Out of that list I'd agree with the Return of the King, There Will be Blood and maybe Wall-E, although I'd probably substitute it with Finding Nemo. I'd also add The Dark Knight, Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Requiem for a Dream, Downfall.

Governor on Dec 18, 2009


I'm glad to see Crouching Tiger in the top 10. Definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. It was just so beautiful and perfect. I also agree that Pan's should be first. It was definitely a masterpiece. Finally, Spirited Away. A perfect fantasy film. A perfect film for the kid in all of us and the animation is top notch. I wish more animated movies were hand drawn these days like most of Spirited Away was. Miyazaki is a genius.

Lt. Dan on Dec 18, 2009


I loved, LOVED "Pan's Labyrinth." I'm so glad that it's getting even more recognition with this list, more people need to see it. BUT SHUT UP ABOUT THE DARK KNIGHT! That movie was an overrated piece of shit. It couldn't have ended sooner for me. Yes, Heath Ledger was good, but Christian Bale's Batman voice is horrendous. The sonar stuff was ridiculous. Hate Hate Hated it.

Shannon on Dec 18, 2009


My parents thought I was kidding when I told them I wanted Spirited Away for my B-Day when it was first out. Obviously I knew what I was talking about :p

Chris W on Dec 18, 2009


This movie ---> 8. There Will Be Blood, i personally loved and thought it was such a good movie, plus im a big fan of Lewis. Crouching Tiger, my parents liked but i didnt much care for. ROTK was epic in my eyes, especially watching it so young. Rat and Wall-E were great, loved Wall-E but i wouldnt put them in my list. Spirited Away though is so great, it has everything and you can learn so much about Japanese culture from it, that movie is one animated flick that should be on there. -#18, hell yea Memento is such a great underrated flick that many havent seen.

Nikhil Hariharan on Dec 18, 2009


Ranking movies is not really useful. I review films, but I don't ever assign rating or ranking, because I know that I can absolutely love a film while others will despise it - often for the exact same reasons. Example: I hated Transformers 2 with a passion. A lot of people loved it. The reasons I hated it were often the same reasons other people loved it. You might be able to grade a film based on it's technique and the execution of the craft, but you'll never be able to say that a movie was 'bad' because you didn't like it. I personally think that you can say a film is 'bad' if you know enough about the process and the 'rules' of film, and can recognize when a rule is broken to good effect, but your opinion of whether or not it was done well is still opinion, as objective as you might like to be. Where the Wild Things Are had very little actual story, but I loved it. Transformers 2 had very simple story, but I hated it. Avatar has a very simple story and I loved it. I could tell you WHY i did or didn't like something, and maybe some people will agree with me, but I know I'm not "right" when I get into that territory. So I tend to write my reviews in such a way that I can recommend the film to people who like certain other films or who like a certain style of film. That's the best any review can hope to do. Having a 'best of' list at the end of the year - and having awards ceremonies - is really just fluff. I've not been satisfied with any award show I've ever seen. This year's nominations actually have me a bit angry that so many of my favorites were totally snubbed. Of these films, I'd say that Pan's Labyrinth and the LOTR trilogy (as one film, since that's what it was) would be the only ones on my own list. I felt that Wall-E and District 9 both suffered from having a let-down in the 3rd act. Spirited Away was alright, but I honestly enjoyed Ponyo more. I thought the Dark Knight was good as well. Alex: If you do make a top 10 list of the year or the decade or whatever, don't number them. Just bullet-point them. Takes a lot of hassle out of trying to rank them, and then you avoid a lot of the potential flame-bait. Even if you're not ranking them, but dimply numbering out ten films in no particular order, people will still see it as ranking. You'll avoid a lot of grief that way and, in my opinion, come off as more respectful of the films you choose. Just an idea, tho...

Squiggly_P on Dec 18, 2009


There Will Be Blood was magnificent. I'd probably rank the entire The Lord of the Rings trilogy as one. If I had to choose an animated film I'd likely go with Finding Nemo or The Incredibles. Other films I'd consider are The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Amelie, The Dark Knight, and Collateral.

1-7 on Dec 18, 2009


#23 - Great post! some great points made PS: Does everyone forget Gladiator came out this decade (2000). That clearly has to be one of the best films of the last 10 years!

Josveta on Dec 18, 2009


@23 i thought pans had a great storyline, but i did not like the movie as such, not at all. you have some good points about lists i agree.it made real sense. i would have to rate oldboy, whale rider, the lives of others as my personal faves as is michael clayton(any sidney pollack collaboration) but as everyone has there own list i usually base it on how it made me feel at the end and if i could watch it again and again. and movies i was dissapointed in were....well doesnt matter, too many to list.

dealers wheel on Dec 19, 2009


What about Death note?

Link1983 on Dec 19, 2009


Totally forgot about The Lives of Others, great movie. I'd also consider 3:10 to Yuma and Zodiac as some of the best of the decade.

Governor on Dec 19, 2009


I am not agree with this list because Dk is an excellent movie, more than 5. Sideways 6. Wall-E o Ratatouille. ... Where is the hangover?

Sakyo on Dec 19, 2009


I don't like this list. Sideways, The Queen and Ratatouille are NOT some of the top 10 movies of the decade.

BookWorm on Dec 20, 2009


my favorite films of the decade in no particular order 1.the lord of the rings trilogy,2.the dark knight,3.memento,4.kill bill vol 1,5.ironman,6.x-men 2,7.the departed,8.blade runner the final cut,9.cloverfield,10.300,11.sin city,12.pan's labyrinth,13.battle royale,14.the ring(jap version.)15.gladiator,16.the mist,17.nightwatch,18.the watchmen,19.drag me to hell,20.a tale of two sisters,21.transformers,22.dead snow,23.stardust & many more.

tobi,leader of the akatsuki on Dec 20, 2009


"certainly every major release from 2000-09" - from above Unless, they are not counting every release during the 2010 year, which is right now, Metacritic is a year short of a decade. This happened right before the new millennium. 2000 was the last year of the old millennium. 2001 was the first year of the new millennium.

TheCount on Dec 21, 2009


This is basically why Metacritic sucks.

Glass on Dec 22, 2009


Lol, Pan's Labyrinth, Ratatouille, The Queen, Sideways, WALL-E, the top 10 BEST movies of the decade? You've got to be kidding me. If you enjoy watching this shit then I just have to laugh at you. Give me The Dark Knight, There Will Be Blood and Eternal Sunshine any day.

Glass on Feb 14, 2010


When you limit yourself to only 30 opinions as Metacritic does, it's not enough to form a consensus. If you take more opinions into account for your calculations, your numbers will change (regardless of what what the numbers are - average rating or fresh vs. rotten - that's not the issue). The numbers get more accurate with more people weighing in, that's why Rotten Tomatoes will always be a more reliable indicator of general critical opinion than Metacritic.

Carson Dyle on Nov 12, 2010

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