Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mirrormask (2005)

In the grand tradition of the German Expressionists and modern visualists Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillermo del Toro comes MIRRORMASK, a beautifully distorted fairy tale from director Dave McKean. Helena escapes to a twisted dreamworld after her mother is admitted to the hospital, a world of light and dark where The White Queen is held captive under an evil spell, and can only be saved by an enchanted charm: the MirrorMask. With the help of a new friend, Helena must search through the forbidden realm of The Queen of Shadows in order to find the charm and stop the ruin of this strange new world, but her enemies are many, and they look to deliver her to their wicked leader. MIRRORMASK's remarkable style and design resulted from the combined efforts of McKean and the Jim Henson team that had previously been responsible for other epic fantasies like LABYRINTH and THE DARK CRYSTAL. The City of Light and The Land of Shadows are inhabited by odd, misshapen creatures, while the buildings and landscapes are wrought from elaborate dreams and nightmares. McKean uses muted tones to signify reality, and then brightens his brushstrokes with exquisite colors as Helena enters into her fantasy world. He then extracts all forms of color as the shadows drain the land of its life. Unfortunately, the film attempts to hide its many gaping holes in character, story structure, and mythology behind a radiant exterior. These things are quickly forgotten as one immerses themselves fully in MIRRORMASK's brilliant visuals and bewildering dream logic.

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked MIRRORMASK, check out:
CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, RE-CYCLE, INK.

8 comments:

  1. I think that's the one I saw part of and then wasn't able to finish the rest. I really need to get it and finish it up.

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  2. Although I appreciated the incredible visuals, they were almost too intense and too abstract for me to truly enjoy. I prefer CITY OF LOST CHILDREN entirely.

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  3. I love this film, although partly because I used to live in Brighton where the handful of real world scenes were shot. The building where Helena lives has been rennovated now, but it still looks kind of the same.

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  4. Chris I took a look at those scenes for 2s and knew it was Brighton, I spent a week in Southern England and absolutely loved it. Brighton is beautiful but dreary, the perfect setting for Helena's jaded view on life at the beginning of the picture before the clouds part at the end!

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  5. I have to say that I am a huge Gaiman fan and am completely unable to be objective when it comes to his (and especially when he collaborates with Dave) work. I did love it, great to see the book come to life, but it was a little disjointed at times....did I just say something not positive? Oh no! :D

    Cheers!

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  6. I havent read the original novel, but the film was extraordinary! I enjoyed the plot, but wanted so much more out of it. I wish it were a trilogy where the mythology could be fully explored, so much more to be explained!

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  7. I started to watch it and found the visuals amazing and stunning (and worth watching for that alone), but the story line hard to follow and got the feeling it was over-edited.

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  8. I think the visuals will make or break the viewing experience for many people. It is so abstract and odd, I can see people checking out immediately. I only wish the film had been part of a series so that the mythology could have been better developed!

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