Director: Dave McKean - Director, MIRRORMASK
Theatrical Release: 2005
Rated: PG (MPAA)
Length: 104 mins
Studio: Sony Pictures Home
Reminiscent of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and LABYRINTH, MIRRORMASK is a fantasy tale of an intelligent young girl on a journey through a magical world. It is also a visually astounding piece of filmmaking, updating the fairy-tale quest in a coming-of-age story imbued with dark beauty. Written by Neil Gaiman (SANDMAN) and directed by frequent collaborator and illustrator Dave McKean, the film mixes live action and animation, and manages to keep the graphic novelists' aesthetic largely intact: the frames are full of weirdly-skewed perspectives, foggy patches, and mismatched textures that appear grandly decayed. Stephanie Leonidas plays Helena, a young girl who juggles in her father's circus, but longs for a "normal" life. She spends her free time drawing elaborate, fantastical black-and-white pictures which cover every surface of her bedroom. One night, after an argument with her mother (Gina McKee) during which Helena lets fly some rather painful pronouncements, Mom falls ill with an unspecified affliction. As the family waits for news and the circus struggles financially, Helena blames herself for the misfortune. The night before her mother's surgery, Helena is mysteriously transported to a world which bears a strong resemblance to her own drawings, and is populated by strange creatures who follow an even stranger logic. Helena and her traveling companion, fellow juggler Valentine (Jason Barry), sign on to find a mysterious charm which will wake the queen of the city--also played by McKee--from her deep sleep, defeating the forces of darkness and returning Helena home. The film's outstanding art direction is complemented by witty dialogue and some genuinely creepy moments (the words "don't let them see you're afraid" are chill-inducing). Meanwhile, Leonidas's performance is remarkable, maintaining a likeability, charm, and freshness that is all the more amazing considering it was delivered against a green screen, with her special-effect co-stars edited in later.;
Robert Llewellyn -
Lisa Henson -
Nicolas Gaster - Editor/Sound Editor
Gina McKee - Actress
Neil Gaiman - English author and screenwriter
Rob Brydon - Actor, 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (2002)
Dave McKean - Director, MIRRORMASK
Stephanie Leonidas - Actor, MIRRORMASK (2005)
Andy Hamilton - Actor, MIRRORMASK (2005)
Michael Polis - Producer, MIRRORMASK (2005)
Simon Moorhead - Producer, MIRRORMASK (2005)
Iain Bellamy - Music, MIRRORMASK (2005)
Tony Shearn - Cinematographer, MIRRORMASK (2005)
"MIRRORMASK unspools with the rambling, intuitive digressions of a dream..." -- Grade: A-
"[The film] blends live action with computer-generated animation by the Jim Henson Company into a provocative, murky surrealism."
"MIRRORMASK ambitiously draws on a diverse range of influences....McKean treats every frame of film as it were a strip panel scheduled for reproduction in a glossy art book."
"[With] a winning WIZARD OF OZ-style structure...[and] a resplendent universe of impossible vistas and fabulous beings."