The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Monday, October 10, 2005

MirrorMask review

We just got back from MirrorMask, and all I can say is 'Wow!'. Okay, I can say more than that, but still... Just. Wow. We sat in rapt silence, as did about the third-of-a-theatre-load of sf/comix fans who'd been chatting amiably and noisily during the previews and commercials. Silence. Complete and utter silence. Except for laughter at the funny parts, of course. And there are funny parts: it's some parts dark and some parts scary and some parts funny and continuously surreally gorgeous. It feels like the cover of a Sandman comic come to life, and we loved every minute of it. Dave McKean's art is faithfully executed; the Henson Company's muppets are magical. Think Labyrinth, Dark Crystal & Legend mixed with Alice in Wonderland and Company of Wolves. Then turn it up to 11. There are no battles, and only one or two 'quick' or action-y scenes; it moves like a river, knowing it has someplace to go that it'll get to when it gets there so there's no point hurrying. I've read some reviews that have complained about the story being thin or about the visuals being too much - after seeing the film, I can only guess that these are the same kinds of people who have to have their magic or monsters mean something. If you're someone who needs 'something deep', or if you don't like the surreal, or if you aren't much of a fan of McKean and Gaiman's collaboration, then you probably won't enjoy this film. Eh. Your loss. If, on the other hand, this sounds like your cup of tea, I'd say hie thee to a theatre with all due haste. This will not translate well to a small screen; you might get by with a mid-size screen and a good sound system, but the visuals are lushly dense (almost intoxicating at times). And the sphinxes rock. That's all there is to say about them: they rock. Period. You must see it for the sphinxes, if nothing else. Lastly, by way of a final, final aside, Cory Doctorow's review of MirrorMask on Boing-Boing is here.


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