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|Index||149 reviews in total|
"MirrorMask" was a terribly disappointing film for me. I had expected
much from a Jim Henson production and had found favourable reviews
comparing it to "The Labyrinth" and "Alice In Wonderland".
Unfortunately, the film ended up in one of those "style over substance"
pile of movies.
Whereas most kids dream about running away from home to join a circus, Helena is a kid who has grown up in a circus (child labour, anyone?) who wishes to run away to join Real Life. Helena wishes that her mother drop dead, which is a bad move for a spoiled brat with a princess complex in a kid's fantasy movie. Next thing you know, Helena's mother flops over, and for some reason, she is suddenly transported to another world.
Meanwhile, I felt as if I was transported to the Museum of Contemporary Art with a pair of foggy sepia-tinted glasses.
The showcase of CGI-generated creatures and backdrop was interesting at first, and I liked the Orbiting Giants. It got a little too tiresome after a few minutes though, and I felt my mind wandering ...
With no sense of narrative and MTV-style clips and soundtrack (the sphinxes reminded me of Basement Jaxx's "Where's Your Head At"), I did not feel involved in the plight of the protagonist and also frustrated, as we waited for the film to lead us wherever it wanted, hopefully towards the "Exit" signs of the theatre ...
*** 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.
I love fantasy. It has to be my favourite genre of anything. I am not
really aware of Neil Gaiman's other work aside from Stardust but I
truly think that this is better. Think of this movie as sort of a
crossover between Wizard Of Oz (movie not the books) with Labyrinth.
So what exactly is the plot? A 15 year old girl brought up in a circus wants to lead a normal life. After one show her mother is taken ill and needs an operation. When she finds out that her mother needs an operation she doesn't take things well. That night she dreams that she is in a world with real life character parallels and is mistaken for a Dark Princess. The Queen of The Light has fallen into a coma and the only thing that can stop the darkness consuming the rest of the world is a Mirror-Mask, that basically grants wishes. However whenever she looks through windows she sees herself being an out of control rebellious teenager destroying the dream world (of which she draws on paper earlier).
I must say that I was impressed with Stephanie Leonidas' performance. All the acting was decent but she was the best performance, at least in my opinion. I did like the effects, mainly because it gives off a dreamy atmosphere to it. If you are a fan of fantasy and have a taste in movies like mine then watch this.
This movie has been compared to many others for reference; Labyrinth,
Alice in wonderland, the neverending story...I would even say Baron von
Munchausen. Yet it differs from all of them. No telling where this
movie is going or what you will see in the next 5 seconds. There is a
lot of CGI in the movie which took some getting used to, but it works.
There is a lot of detail in the effects, like lens flares,
expressionistic, deep colors, and detailed and weird environments;
almost as if the director wanted to create a living painting.
That is perhaps the best way to describe this movie; a work of art. The characters are very extreme in their acting, almost like watching theater actors. The masks they wear only emphasizes this. So it good art or bad art? Opinions vary...
Since this type of movie is very rare, I welcomed it.
Having read a review or two I finally decided to give "MirrorMask" a
chance - but in my eyes the movie failed principally. Visuals are
unquestionably great in their existential-postmodern derivative
glamour. If you're ready to rise above the fact that the imagery of
this kind often comes close to the aesthetics of TV commercials, you
can feast your eyes on a very stylish universe where Henson meets the
Quay brothers, among countless others : eerie landscapes and interiors,
and above all bizarre creatures including mini-sphinxes with human
masks, hybrids of gorillas and seagulls (and snowmen ?), and a
librarian (with mouth and voice of Stephen Fry) who is pure Arcimboldo
revised by a cubist sculptor ... (My personal favourite may be a
charming something called Small Hairy and played by the director
Yet the makers of "MirrorMask" were obviously so deep in love with their gimmicks that they ditched virtually everything else : narrative dynamics, interesting characters, emotive score, worthwhile ending + message .... Here clearly form triumphs over substance, making me wish once again : If only modern movie makers quarried anywhere but in the realms of CGI, animation, optical mutation, and comics !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mirror mask is a visually striking and awe inspiring movie. This
masterpiece was directed by Dave McKean. Dave is a brilliant man and
has worked as a director, writer, composer and even worked as a concept
artist in the third Harry Potter movie. There are four star actors who
play multiple roles. The main actress is Stephanie Leonidas, and she is
partnered with Jason Barry. The two other lead cast members are Rob
Brydon and Gina McKee.
This film portrays a young girl trapped in a life as a circus performer in her parent's circus and all she wants is a real life. While in another world another girl who in a princess in the kingdom of night wants to escape her life and doesn't care who she hurts in doing so. The main character soon finds herself in the other world being stalked by darkness. She is even more confused when she is treated as a criminal and a thief by the kingdom of light. As the story progresses she finds out she was forced to switch places with the princess of the kingdom of night. So she begins her journey to find a missing key between worlds before all hope is lost.
Most key actors played multiple roles which showed their ability to be different people. Stephanie Leonidas plays Helena, the main character and the princess of the dark Kingdome. The two characters are polar opposites; Helena is thoughtful, naive but also brave, and curious. On the other hand the princess is selfish rude and an all-around awful person. Then another impressive character is Gina McKee who plays Helena's mom, the queen of light and the queen of darkness. She is so different in each role is hard to tell it's all the same woman and at the same time she makes each character pop off the screen.
There was an artistic cross between C.G.I. and real world that was simply stunning. The effects really impacted the viewer in a way that you almost believe what is happening. Almost all the cast wears masks which were the theme of the movie and over 70 masks were used on set. The masks added to the characters while also blending them to the computer generated images. Everything in the movie appears to be seen through a filter like looking into a secret world.
All in all this movie is a must see for anyone. It has an artistic feel that suits the story. Mirror mask has action, adventure, romance and comedy all in one unique story that is unlike anything else. This is a true cinematic masterpiece and should be seen by all people of all ages.
I loved this. It's a sort of cross between Coraline, Alice in Wonderland and Skellig. Filmed with real actors but set in an animated world. It's worth watching for the wonderful fantasy-grunge artwork and graphics alone. Suitable for the whole family, though sensitive under 10s maybe a little scared of one or two scenes. It portrays positive family and moral values: perseverance, loyalty, bravery, friendship, being true to yourself. Don't be put off by the fact that it was released as straight-to-DVD, it is well written, acted and directed, deserves a wide audience and is by no means a budget film. Shame it's not more widely known. PS - See if you can spot Stephen Fry's brief appearance.
I had heard good things about this film; mixed, but generally good. I finally realised last week why my gut instinct told me to stay away all those years when I tried to watch it on television. In 2006, a certain reviewer (you know who you are, Sam) posted an extremely negative review alongside all the glowing reports about how wonderful the film was. Sadly, I must conclude that Sam was right. The film is pretty much unwatchable, because of the appalling soundtrack and the miming, whistling clown. Neither of these things have any place in film. So offensive were they that I didn't make it past the opening sequence. Gina McKee's initial alter-ego was on the verge of a fainting fit when I decided I'd had enough and switched channels. I was ready to pass out from frustration. I can't rate this film because I can't honestly claim to have watched it, and I very much doubt I ever will. So thanks for the warning, Sam, and judging by the high proportion of users who found your review useful, I don't think we're alone.
Throughout this strange and extraordinary film there is an unusual and dynamic interplay of form and content that lends a unique character to the film that is far outside of the mainstream, but better for it. Watching this movie, I felt as though I was staring at a piece of abstract art, a work that takes any and every emotional quality of the character and personifies it with bizarre imagery that is true to an emotional reality rather than a physical. Through the old-fashioned look of the bulk of the film to the themes that are repeatedly utilized in the story, it draws upon an interesting lineage of artistic styles and themes to tell it's story. Personally I find it difficult to discern whether this movie is more concerned with form, as it distorts reality to convey its message, or the content, as its story is as engrossing as its visuals. Though I would consider more content oriented, I believe it is possible to argue that it is more of a visual work. In short, it was a stunning look at the human mind and the problems we all face, using a powerful style of artwork that is distinctly rooted in more abstract traditions.
Because I'm such a devout fan of Farscape - I was anticipating this movie coming out. After watching it at least 4 or 5 times - I realized it had grown on me. I just adore the characters, the artwork is so appealing to me, unique in a special way. The story reminds me a little of Stephen Kings' "The Talisman" - (Just a little). I even sent away for a poster for the movie which I've never done before. Here it is 6 years later and it's still probably one of my top 20 favorite movies. But granted - it's not for everyone! Of all my friends and family that have seen it - I'm the only one that liked it. I believe they were bored by it or just unimpressed. Not me! Wish I had the CD - I'd watch it again right now! I think it's brilliant and entertaining!
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