March 25, 2010



This is a small film that most people won’t have heard of, but is a very interesting story and visually stunning thanks to the Jim Henson Group.  It jumps off the screen like very other films do, and is shot in its own unique style.

What makes this film pop is the story.  It is written by a great writer Neil Gaiman who is mainly known for writing adult fantasy books and has had two other other books made into films, Stardust and Coraline.  MirrorMask balances itself between being a film that both adults and kids and enjoy.  A lot of the visuals are going to be entertaining for the kids and a story that adults can enjoy.  It is definitely targeted towards kids.  The story is of a girl who doesn’t like her family, they are traveling circus people, and thrill of it just isn’t the same as you’d think.  When her mother becomes seriously ill, the girl slips into a world of all her own.  A balance of two sides of a sheet of paper, the light, the front side, and the dark, the side that is taped up against the wall.  And she has to find her way out of the world where everyone wears masks.  It sounds like a pretty simple story, and it is, but Neil Gaiman puts in a lot of good jokes and little quips that his character say.

The acting talent in this film is basically unknowns, but they all do a good job.  Stephanie Leonidas plays the lead and does a good job playing the main girl.  And Jason Barry plays opposite of Leonidas in the MirrorMask world that is created.  They do a good job playing off of each other and the fact that the talent can hide behind their masks in the fantasy world.  However, they are very entertaining in their roles.

Where this film really comes to life is the visuals.  The Jim Henson Group does an amazing  job creating the world.  It comes across as the paper world and the characters that are created are stunning.  They aren’t the super detailed as compared to some of the creatures created with huge budget films.  There are some giants who are floating above the world who are mainly just giant shapes, no hair or extreme details like some films, but they work perfectly with the world.  And there are many other absurd creatures that come to life on the screen.  It also works really wonderfully in the coloring that it is shot.  So much of it is shown with a golden hue to it.  It almost has the feel of the paper because of that and it has a completely different feel, besides all the absurdities of the fantasy world, simply by looking at the coloring of the world and the styling of the buildings.

This is a small film, and I know that not everyone will like this film as much as I appreciate it.  But it is a good story and it is simply enjoyable.  It is a kids film and it doesn’t try to be too deep (but adults don’t let this turn you off, there is a good number of quips that kids won’t get) the only thing I’d warn about this film with kids is that it is a little dark at times.  However, with most of the films that are out there that aren’t rated G, this film is pretty clean.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B+


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