Friday, October 07, 2005

Reflections on Mirrormask

Tonight, we saw Mirrormask at the Westside Pavillion. This was the fantasy film written by Neil Gaiman, and designed and directed by illustrator and graphic novel artist Dave McKean. Much like another film this year modeled after a comic-book artist's work (and co-directed by that artist), Sin City, Mirrormask is an experiment -- one that is great to look at, sometimes fascinating, but occasionally falls flat.

The movie was produced by Jim Henson studios, and viewers may note that the story structure bears quite a bit of resemblance to another Henson fantasy movie, from two decades ago: Labrynth. The similarities go deeper than the young female lead who finds a nasty wish coming true, and who journeys into a storybook world to try to remedy it. This film is more surrealistic and (thanks to Gaiman) both more British and more poetic than its American counterpart, but the echoes are there.

The film is definitely a mind-warper -- it may be best if you don't drive home after watching it, as reality may seem a bit too real after immersing yourself in this world. Just don't expect something as entertaining as Gaiman's prose or Gaiman and McKean's graphic novels.

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