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Mirrormask
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Mirrormask More at IMDbPro »

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37 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

"a masterpiece that will stand the test of filmic history"

8/10
Author: scottlukaswilliams from Canada
30 October 2005

I went into this film with high expectations and it didn't disappoint!

Dave McKean is a genius! He has created a film which is an unparalleled amalgam of live action, puppetry, classical and computer generated animation. This is the kind of movie that makes me want to be a filmmaker. McKean is constantly aware of the camera and how best to use it to draw the audience into the world he and Neil Gaiman have created.

The story is a fascinating examination of the self and issues of duality through the lens of the carnivalesque. The film references the mythologies of various cultures to create one of its own. There are some clear links back to Lewis Carroll and Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and it shares the dark, twisted sense of humour seen in earlier Henson Company films like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

The whole film is captivating and visually gorgeous. Within each frame there is so much to see, that, I would guess, even upon dozens of viewings, you'd be seeing new things. The visuals alone would have been enough to make this film nearly perfect but coupled with the frenetic and wacky music it's made even more amazing.

Kudos to McKean and Gaiman for creating a masterpiece that will stand the test of filmic history.

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Only go for the visuals

2/10
Author: ruth_buchan from United Kingdom
8 March 2006

I saw "Mirrormask" last night and it was an unsatisfactory experience.

It is a film that is visually rich but with slow direction, poor plot line and 2-dimensional characterisation.

I did, however, know this when I went in. I was willing to trust the two gentleman that I went with (knowledgable comic buffs) that the visuals would be out of the ordinary and so they were. Unfortunately, inexperience of direction meant that scene after scene passed with little in the way of dramatic tension or conflict. Though, this is a comment that could be made of many artists whose work is transferred to screen and who are given charge of direction. The pace of the story is lost as the camera lovingly dwells on the pretty pictures.

I would not have gone at all without that reassurance that the style of the film would be worth seeing. I have tried with Neil Gaiman's work but am always left with the "emperor's new clothes" feeling. I live in hope but last night was no exception.

I do not think I can continue with an analysis of Gaiman's work without losing the will to live. Read the rest of the comments and all his faults are eloquently described. I cannot comprehend, however, how he imagined that he had any understanding of the mind of a fifteen year old girl, Nor that what he had to say added anything to the sum total of human knowledge on growing up and assuming adult responsibility, or the changing relationship that a girl might have with her mother. These are the central themes of the film and they are handled ineptly, stereotypically and with no depth of imagination. All the pretty pictures in the world cannot make up for a piece of work that is flawed at the core.

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26 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

One word: Meh.

5/10
Author: moneenerd from New Brunswick, Canada
17 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was at blockbuster Video for no longer than 5 minutes when i came across the beautiful cover art for MIRRORMASK on the New Releases shelf. At closer inspection, I read 2 important names: Neil Gaiman (of "Sandman" comics fame) and the late Jim Henson. So, needless to say, I quickly grabbed it and checked out as fast as I came in. With these 2 big names displayed on MIRRORMASKs casing, I was sure to be blessed with a magical story, full of bizarre concepts, dark yet beautiful imagery, and some very interesting characters and possibly even some of that puppetry that Hensons company is so well known for.

Instead I was subjected to a meaningless mess of poor CGI, boring lead characters, and a plot and storyline weve all seen before. Come to find out, its just another fairytale about a spoiled brat, 15 year old girl who gets lost in this world that is basically made up of her own wild imagination (much like Hensons LABYRYNTH, but instead of her head being in the books, our character is lost in a world inhabited by her drawings).

This movie brings nothing new to the genre, and seems just like one big stew of every Henson flick ever made, minus the mesmerizing puppetry, and then ontop of it, looks like a big gross load of Neil Gaimans pretentious-gothy-art spunk splattered all over it, so much so, that the focus on the story 9which is not that interesting anyway) is lost in the overwhelming mind f*ck that are the special effects.

I was really psyched to watch this film, and maybe I just talked it up in my head so much that I disappointed myself. But no matter what the case, this award-winning fairy tale is, again, nothing new. It tries so hard to stimulate the eye that it comes off most pretentious. There are some parts here and there that do work, but they are too far and few between, and are almost stolen right out of the other great fantasy films (look for the scene where our lead character Helena is brainwashed, dressed and made up in black by the dark queens minions, almost exactly like the scene in LEGEND).

Snore factor is way too high on this film. Sure its probably a kids flick, but so was LABYRYNTH and DARK CRYSTAL, and MIRRORMASK will never compare to those timeless and ageless classics.

5 out of 10.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

An abysmal, derivative mess.

1/10
Author: jediurru from United States
4 February 2007

Neil Gaiman apparently thinks that there's no one left alive who saw Labyrinth, Legend, or The Neverending Story. This dribble boldly "borrows" from all three of them without bringing an original idea to the table. Heaped on top of this study in intellectual theft is a pretentious and tiresome script which soullessly babbles through hollow dialog in an attempt to garner legitimacy. Bizarrely, the writer expected us to have feelings and reactions to characters he no more than thinly developed, such that in climatic moments I felt as if the characters were relating back to points in their relationship never actually shown on the screen.

I sat through this movie solely on the fact that I wanted to have an informed opinion on it. Mirrormask is an insult to the proud tradition of fantasy films it mugs for content.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Incomprehensible. Vaguely sickening.

2/10
Author: TensersFloatingDisk from Riverside, CA
22 September 2006

Well, that was sure a waste of Dave McKean's talents, wasn't it? Don't get me wrong: when it comes to graphic design, Dave McKean may be the best in the world right now. The layered, textured look he can accomplish with just a few pencil lines on rough paper make the efforts of people like Peter Greenaway and David Fincher look like what they are: hackwork. McKean has been the godfather of a revolution in the look of comics, film, even magazine ads which borrow the distinctive collage effect he has pioneered.

But this movie? It's junk. Complete junk. The story, from Neil Gaiman, is, unfortunately, exactly what Gaiman has been giving us ever since he ripped off Clive Barker for the first time: a pseudo-mythic, overblown dreamscape, populated by characters which have Titles in All Capital Letters rather than names. Everything is allegory, to the point that it is impossible to get any human drama, emotion, or empathy from anyone involved. People make pithy postulations, speaking in riddles which bring to mind what Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead might have sounded like if Tom Stoppard had suffered a debilitating stroke halfway through its composition. Really, Gaiman, get over yourself. You're not a prophet. You're a poser.

McKean's directing doesn't help - his pacing is poor, taking fully half an hour to actually rev himself up for the main picaresque plot, and then simply providing a disconnected sequence of events, none of them given any weight. The monsters don't menace because they're not foreshadowed, simply thrown at the screen. The plot doesn't engage because we don't really care about the rancid little protagonists. Half the dialogue, muttered into into shirt fronts and ubiquitous masks, is unintelligible.

Some of the visuals are pretty, and I'm sure the fanboys will lick it up. Pity. Think of the amount of really good work McKean could have produced if he hadn't been stuck with this lame project.

Grade: D/D-

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

major disappointment!

1/10
Author: jazzamind from Netherlands
18 September 2006

Soon as I had heard about this movie being made, I put it on the top of my wish-list...Was looking forward to its release BIGTIME! So there it was,finally.Rented it, went home, all happy,ready to enjoy what was about to come.

The first thing in the movie that totally irritated me was the music: Sounded like Kenny G(you remember"songbird" argh),and in my opinion, seemed totally misplaced. Still, I would give the rest a chance...

Atmospherically seemed very gloomy to me,the whole thing, lighting and sets and the rest, which could have been good, if the Kenny-g on acid would not have been constantly nagging through the whole thing...

The story was way way too thin to carry the interest throughout, and not only was it thin,it was very very predictably unoriginal also...

I am sure people are gonna hate me for this, but I wasn't that impressed by the graphics either: very cold and dark feel they gave me...

I kinda fell into the trap of it being a Henson-production, but the coldness of the graphics makes me think back of the time when actual puppetry with actual puppets made brilliant movies, like all the muppet-movies, and of course the masterpiece The Dark Crystal...

So veryvery disappointed here...

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

You can't make a movie with JUST style.

4/10
Author: UweBoll1466 from Australia
9 April 2006

I didn't really HATE Mirrormask. I just really wanted more from a movie than pretty visuals. The movie begins with a young girl named Helana who works in a circus. But while other children (supposedly) want to run away to the circus she only wants to run away FROM the circus. During a heated argument with her mother, Helana wishes she would drop dead. Bad move. The mother gets ill with...something (presumably cancer) and needs surgery. On the night before surgery she dreams she travels to a wonderful world composed of her her dreams and nightmares where she "finds herself". Personally the movie got crap for me as soon as she started dreaming. The early scenes show the weird and wonderful world of the circus and then contrast it with the bleakness of the hospital and the filth of an apartment block. But a soon as she dreams the whole films shifts to CGI land where nearly everything is a computer image. The problem is that this dream world has none of the mystery and wonder it should have. while films like the Wizard of Oz seemed enticing to explore Mirrormask shoves images in our faces and then snatches them away to give us another image. There's little rhyme or reason to the design in this film and even though some things are very pretty (the librarian is a masterpiece) they just disappear so quickly that they're soon forgotten. Helana and her sidekick Valentine are annoying at best and unbearable at worst. Overall Mirrormask is like a pretty stake that you bite and find out is actually ash. Stick to the real world kids.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Destined to be be one of the most overlooked films of all time

10/10
Author: A_Different_Drummer from North America
22 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow. Talk about your one-of-a-kind films that come out of nowhere, make an indelible impression on the viewer, and then disappear back where they came from....? Dave McKean, a Brit producing in Canada, had a vision of a story which, some fans have opined, was as good as or better than the Wizard of Oz. Whereas both stories are about young ladies who have a mystical experience that may or may not be true (depending on the interpretation of the viewer) the unknowns in Mirrormask (Stephanie Leonidas?) deliver and deliver and deliver. Not only great characters, but the special effects are not to be sniffed at either. I revere this film so much that I don't want to give much away, lest I spoil your pleasure, but the notion of a young girl with a sick family member who, under stress, ends up in a place she does not understand -- nicely riffed with the idea of parallel dimensions and characters who look like the people here BUT ARE NOT! -- is nothing short of brilliant. If there was a higher score than 10, I would give it to this film. And the ending in particular is noteworthy because these sorts of films (consider Oz, and the goofy conclusion there) almost never deliver an ending that works. Here the ending not only works, but, if you have been following the subtle nuances of the film, it may even bring a tear to your eye. Brilliant. And lost to an unappreciative public.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A wild dream that's easily forgotten

4/10
Author: Sam wilson (samz_wilson@hotmail.com) from London, England
8 December 2005

Wow, what exciting visual effects. I also loved the costumes and artwork, the circus and ethereal feel to the film was sublime. It just required the need for the viewer to worry about the fate of our protagonist. As she is trapped in her imagination, there is never a sense of peril unlike, say, David Lynch's films which haunt every time. This also draws attention to which age group this film is aimed at. Who would this engage?

Mirrormask is obviously going to draw comparisons with Labyrinth with the teen- angst/ fantasy theme, but unfortunately it doesn't really come close to delivering the same Henson essence. The ill mother theme is never fully explained and certainly not something that you care about while lapping up the eye candy.

Not agonisingly awful a la The Cell, nor as engagingly dreamlike as Labyrinth - a forgettable but good-looking fantasy.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

not exactly that original?

5/10
Author: Themis Katsimichas (Themis Katz) from Athens, Greece
29 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the movie the other day and I have to admit, it was dazzling. To much information for the braincells. Eye-candy. But..?

The performances were as good as needed in a fairytale like this, but...?

I watched the extras, the comicon convention Q&A, in hope that the makers would mention it, but...?

Hasn't anybody noticed that this movie is Stephen King's and Peter Straub's "The Talisman" on LSD? or am I the only one?

The boy with the dying mother, (girl in this case), that has to travel to "The Territories", to find the Talisman (or, mirror-mask), to save his mother's life, and the strange world he is visiting. Meeting strange creatures as the story goes, from talking werewolves to flying men to whatever else.

Come ON, people!! you are using the media in it's finest form. DO SOMETHING ORIGINAL. And if you're adapting a story from the '80s, SAY SO. no one in going to blame you.

But unfortunately you didn't, so this movie no matter how good it is, falls in the "never-admitting-borrowing-from" category, as

reservoir dogs/city on fire. harry potter/Star Wars. Kill Bill/Lady Snowblood.

...and so on, and so forth. pity.

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