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Friday, February 08, 2008


***** MirrorMask. Fantasy.

Directed by: Dave McKean.
Starring: Stephanie Leonidas, Jason Barry

This DVD was a Christmas gift for Dagny, who's just as enthralled with Neil Gaiman as I am.

Teenage Helena (Stephanie Leonidas) is a typical teenager--a little rebellious and defiant, but a good kid at heart. She's also the only child of circus performers and performs in the circus as well. Unfortunately, not long after Helena argues with her, her mother collapses and is taken to the hospital for major surgery.

Helena, unsurprisingly, feels guilty, and finds herself in an alternate world, having switched places with the Anti-Helena. In this alternate world, the White Queen (her mother's double) has fallen gravely ill because of the imbalance, and needs the MirrorMask to restore her, and the land along with her. Think The Neverending Story for that plot thread.

On her search she meets a wide variety of characters, some helpful, some not. Chief among these is Valentine (Jason Barry), a mild love interest who both helps and betrays her.

There's a lot about being a teenager and growing up, lots about masks ("How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask?") both real and figurative, and the nature of family, etc.

Mostly, though, it's a graphic novel in film form. If you've seen any of Gaiman and McKean's graphic novels (Mr. Punch, The Wolves in the Walls, etc.), the animation is very like the illustrations in those books, but vivid and well-integrated with the live action actors.

It's one of those kind of movies that you just absorb. Very dreamy and artsy, but with universal truths underneath. Artsy with a point, in other words. I may just have to get a copy for myself. Or at least the book version.

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I'm still quite new to Neil Gaiman, but so far everything I have read by him was fantastic. This one sounds interesting as well, but I guess I will start with the book. One more addition to my wishlist...
Have you seen the Stardust movie? I have read the book and I have the movie on my laptop, I just can't bring myself to actually watch it.
I did watch the movie (check my index for the review), and loved it. It wasn't an exact mirror of the book, but I thought it got the feel of the book perfectly.

FWIW, I may be wrong, but my impression was that in the case of MirrorMask, the movie came first, and the book was made from the movie, if that influences your decision at all.
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