By | Saturday, September 23, 2006 Leave a Comment
The other night, I was running through a Target to pick up some sundries and happened across the DVD version of Neil Gaiman's and Dave McKean's Mirrormask. Now, The Wife is actually a bit of a fan of Gaiman in the first place and The Jim Henson Creature Workshop, who she's also a fan of, did some work on the production as well. So I picked it up for her.

We just sat down and watched it tonight, and I have to say that I was impressed. But not in the way I thought I'd be impressed.

The story is essentially about a girl who has the typical types of fights with her parents -- her mother mostly -- and then somehow slips into a dream-world that's composed almost entirely of her drawings. Along the way she discovers that an evil twin of sorts has taken her place in the real world, and is ripping up the drawings and destroying the dreamworld and everyone in it. So the girl has to save the dream-world and return to the real world, all the wiser for the journey.

Now, I was expecting to be wowed by Gaiman's story. And, quite frankly, I wasn't. It was structurally and thematically pretty close to The Wizard of Oz. I was kind of expecting to see some cool Henson studio creatures. There were a couple that bore Henson hallmarks, but there were largely periphery characters without much screen-time. What I was NOT expecting -- certainly not expecting to be impressed with -- was Dave McKean's designs.

Oh, I've seen Dave's stuff before and I thought he was talented and all. But I was surprised here because much of his work was translated -- and translated very well, I might add -- to three dimensions. The art team working on the film did an incredible job interpretting what Dave had put down on paper, and bring it to life. All sorts of wonderous designs and sketches -- they were certainly evident in the designs the girl tacked on her wall, but they were also floating throughout the entirety of the dream-world.

Excellent, excellent visual treat. The story's not bad either, but the film's much more worth watching for the eye candy.
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