Saturday, April 15, 2006


Neil Gaiman was in town last July, and MirrorMask was one of the yet-to-be-released film projects that he had scribed. It was supposed to be scheduled for release here late last year, but somehow the plans got shelved. Good news though, it will make its theatrical release in the local GV theatres next week.

It's pretty abstract at times, and I admit there were portions which I completely zoned out. Directed by illustrator Dave McKean, you'd come to expect the stunning visuals which MirrorMask offered, right from the opening credit sequence in 3D. MirrorMask tells the story of protagonist Helena, a young girl belonging to a family of circus performers. She often dreams of life outside performances, that of what she deems as "real life", as opposed to her own fantasy world of make believe inside the Big Top.

Blaming herself for her mother's ill health after a heated argument, she begins to dream and fantasize herself in being in a world ruled by two queens, a world filled with strange and bizarre beings, where everyone is masked. In parallel to her life, the white queen is also ill, and she's tasked with the quest of finding the fabled MirrorMask to save her. Think of it as sort of a darker, Gaiman-ish take to Alice in Wonderland, with plot devices and scenarios which leap from wild imagination, accompanied by beautiful surreal environments.

MirrorMask suffered from a pretty draggy beginning, and it took a while before the plot began to pick up, with Helena's quest and wondering if what was happening was truly real, of really nothing more than just a dream, which of course offered ample avenue to flex those creative juices. It's filled with special effects that boggles the mind, and offbeat characters made so beautifully by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

However, this movie is strictly for fans of Neil Gaiman only, as those not accustomed to his style of story telling, might be overwhelmed by the visuals and get lost in the plot. But for those who persevere, if you strip away the eye candy fluff, at its core, it's a fairly simple, straight-forward storyline of an adult fantasy.

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