Stephanie Leonidas, Rob Brydon, Jason Barry and Gina McKee

Dave McKean

Running Time:
101 mins

Out to buy on DVD 05/06/06

"There is more to life than juggling"

Living her whole life in the circus, Helena (Leonidas) was getting tired of moving around and performing every night and wants to just concentrate on her art. After arguing with her parents, she reluctantly agrees to continue the act but as her and father started to entertain the audience, her mother collapses. As she lies in hospital about to have a life saving operation, Helena struggles with what she said to her mother and this continues in her dream, as she is pulled into a fantasy world struggling between darkness and light.

Creating a fantasy world on film has always been a hit or miss process but can a visionary British director take you to a whole world?

Celebrated artist and graphic novelist Dave McKean makes his directorial debut along with his fellow collaborator and co-writer Neil Gaiman and together they take you into a world beyond anything you could ever think of. Fantasy films have to resonate with an audience, pulling them into an alternative reality were they have to suspend all logic and let their imagination run wild. 'MirrorMask' invents a fantastic world but one that is dogged down by a confusing storyline.

After her mother is admitted to hospital, Helena guilt over their argument and fear that she might not be able to say sorry makes her imagination run wild in dream she has while her mother goes under the knife. As soon as she closes her eyes she is transported to another world of light and dark, where two queens have lived in peace but now the Dark Queen has lost her daughter and it consuming the light world to find her.

The concept is intriguing and the visual match the imagination of the director and his co-writer but this does stop it from been slightly confusing as the boundaries from between reality and fantasy as the two merge as the movie progresses. You don't know whether to think if it is real or a dream.

The computer-generated world is like nothing you have ever seen before on film. Like living art, the world of 'MirrorMask' is an amalgamation of surrealism and cubism, or a world designed by Picasso. These are Helena's drawings brought to life but it all stems from the imagination of the visionary director and his artistic roots. From giants to monkey birds, this is a world inhabited by the strange and bizarre where you can only expect the unexpected and every moment supplies a surprise.

Bringing the few actual human actors to live is a collection of up and coming and established British talent. Rob Brydon and Gina McKee are Helena's mother and father but they also have roles with the fantasy world. Gina McKee has more to do as the Queens of light and dark and Ron Brydon contributes as the Prime Minister of the fantasy world. Jason Barry is good as Helena's companion Valentine, providing some comedy along the way. This is Stephanie Leonidas movie however, as she appears in almost every scene. This is a breakout role for the young actress and one that should get her noticed in Hollywood.

Strange and beautiful, 'MirrorMask' is a return to fantasy for Jim Henson Pictures and while it might not capture the magic of 'The Dark Crystal' or 'Labyrinth', this is still in the same tradition. Making use of all the technical advances since their glory days, this is a new vision for fantasy and a welcome one for the genre, with Dave McKean pushing that new beginning.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well, highlighting the excellent artistic design and look of the film.


Commentary with director Dave McKean and writer Neil Gaiman
The two collaborators and friends come together to talk passionately about their first feature film together. This chatty and informative commentary offers a fascinating insight into the development of the pictures and the many changes the film and script went through before it made it to the silver screen. This is a good track from two people who work well together and could be the future of fantasy.

The Making of MirrorMask
Director Dave McKean, screenwriter Neil Gaiman, executive producers Lisa Henson, Michael Polis and Martin G. Baker, production sound mixer Ian Sands, first assistant director Jo Lea, makeup and hair designer Michelle Davison-Bell, computer graphics supervisor Max McMillin, director of photography Anthony Shern and stars Stephanie Leonidas, Rob Brydon and Jason Barry talk about making 'MirrorMask'. Split into eight sections entitled 'Neil talks', 'Dave talks about the film', 'Beginnings', 'Cast & Crew', 'Day 16', 'Flight of the Monkey Bird', 'Giants development' and 'Questions and Answers', these featurettes cover every aspect of the film's production.

Poster and Cover Art
View a collection of Dave McKean's designs to promote the film. Trailers Previews of 'Open Season', 'Zathura: A Space Adventure', 'Jumanji', 'Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild' and 'Labyrinth'


The DVD Package for 'MirrorMask' is very good with the commentary and making of featurettes cover most aspects of the films' production. Fans of the film should be very pleased with this package.



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