(The review pertains to the film, but I’m posting it because I have the film book :) )
I have to say that I loved MirrorMask! And since I’m not a Gaiman fan, and I’m very selective on fantasy (I’m really not big into the hardcore stuff), this is saying a lot.
The movie has Dave McKean written all over it; it’s like a picture book brought to life. It’s dark, with a bit of The Nightmare Before Christmas feel to it, only with a Dave McKean look, and it’s funny and creepy and weird all at the same time.
The story is simple enough; any more complicated than that and it’ll overpower the animation and effects. It’s about Helena, a 15 year old girl in a family of circus entertainers, who often wishes she could run off and join real life. After a fight with her parents about her future plans, her mother falls quite ill and Helena is convinced that it is all her fault. On the eve of her mother’s major surgery, she dreams that she is in a strange world with two opposing queens, bizarre creatures, and masked inhabitants. All is not well in this new world – the white queen has fallen ill and can only be restored by the MirrorMask, and it’s up to Helena to find it. But as her adventures continue, she begins to wonder whether she’s in a dream, or something far more sinister.
It’s a very visual movie; there is a lot to take in, as it’s a world unfamiliar to the viewer; but it’s enhanced by the emotion of the story, and the mirror motif is further enhanced by the mirroring of events in the real world (Helena’s real life as she’s replaced by the mirror-self) and the fantasy world.
It’s similar to Coraline, which is similar to one Are You Afraid of the Dark books I read ages ago (only it was better than Coraline).
I don’t know if it was shown here in the Philippines though; it’s dated 2005. I just discovered I had the DVD when Trina told me it was really good. It’s the sort of thing I’d shell out several hundred bucks for to watch over and over again, once for the overall impact, and several times more to catch the nuances… Dave McKean is sooo amazing; I even caught a scene where two hands touching each other looked like Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, I don’t know if that was intentional, but it’s still pure genius.
You just have to watch this.
My copy: A squarish hardbound book with dustjacket, the Children’s edition of the film book. Mooched from Canada last year.
My rating: 5/5 stars
photo courtesy of Amazon (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DPC2HMNXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)