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.
PICTURE & SOUND
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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