Wednesday, July 2, 2014

MirrorMask (2005) review


The movie may be a fall from Jim Henson's original works, but it's definitely a visionary piece of effect art with an interesting plot and decent scripting.

PLOT:Helena (Stephanie Leonidas) is in a circus troupe with her father (Rob Brydon) and mother (Gina McKee). She's never liked being confined strictly to the circus and always wanted to get out in the real world and live for herself. To deal with her pain, she draws out her feelings in creative styles, covering her walls in her bedroom. One night, Helena's mother has an episode and passes out, putting her in the hospital for immediate surgery. Helena blames herself for her mother's illness and falls asleep the night of her surgery with stress on her mind. When Helena wakes up, she finds herself in a dream world made up entirely of the drawings she has hung on her wall. While there, she discovers strange creatures and meets new people, who all wear masks as a normal tradition. Helena befriends a juggler named Valentine (Jason Berry) and learns that she has switched lives with the Princess of Dark in that land. The Princess had stolen the charm that put the Princess of Light to an endless sleep, which is referred to as the MirrorMask. Helena must restore the normality in this dream world while still trying to get back to her own world and stopping the Princess from ruining her life. It's a great plot executed very well. There's a few minor holes and problems with the fabric and basis of the plot, which I'll discuss later.

ACTING:The performances in this movie were fairly good. Stephanie Leonidas played a decent part as Helena and the princess, Anti-Helena, but didn't truly shine out. She didn't impress me too much. The performances I really enjoyed were Rob Brydon as Helena's father and the prime minister of the dream world; Gina McKee as Helena's mother, the Queen of Light, and the Queen of Dark; and Jason Berry as Valentine. These performances weren't excellently done, but I enjoyed the way they were played, especially Jason Berry's part. He added personality to the part of Valentine, the juggler and "very important man" of the dream world. The rest of the minor parts were decent but nothing that absolutely blew me away. The acting in here is just fair: nothing extremely spectacular.

SCORE:The score in here was decent. The themes were cool sounding but not extremely memorable. The most memorable part in the soundtrack would have to be the cover of "(They Long to Be) Close to You", which is haunting and very well organized.

EFFECTS:The effects in here is what sells the movie as a unique artwork. The effects in here are from the mind of the great mind of Jim Henson and his crew. The effects combine Henson-style costume design with CG animation and the result is mind-bending and rather freaky. I like the effects, but I believe they haven't aged as well compared to the effects used in today's film industry. The effects were really good and nice for their time, but they just don't hold up now as Henson's traditional puppet fare does today.

OTHER CONTENT:Neil Gaiman, writer of several books and TV episodes (including episodes of Doctor Who and Coraline), collaborated on writing for this movie. The plot itself is very interesting, while all the while deriving from the right places (The Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, etc.), but I found a few holes such as: What happened to the Princess in the end? Did this even happen or was it just a pointless dream? Many other questions arise in my head as I think about this movie's outcome and execution. Also, the script had moments I both loved and hated, including clever riddles and dialogue among pointless gags and cheesy conversations. There were points in the movie overall I loved and hated. However, the movie did entertain and did wow me with its effects and vision, as ancient as they seem now.

OVERALL,it's a good movie with an interesting plot, fair performances, decent score, and unique effects. However, the effects didn't age as well as Henson's other fare, several plot holes arise, and the movie/dialogue's likability fluctuated with me.