I have been a fan of the work of the Jim Henson studio for a long time and have more recently been impressed by the writings and art of Neil Gaiman. Therefore when I heard the two were teaming up to produce a fantasy called Mirrormask I was naturally excited and curious.
The trailers and images from the film built up my anticipation further. The graphics were stunning and evoked the kind of magical experience that one should expect from these sources. However one thing continued to bother me. I could never get a clear understanding from any of the sources I looked into as to what the film was about.
Having finally seen the film, why this was is starting to become clearer. Mirrormask, for all it's impressive creative glory suffers from the worst of movie making problems; it has no story… or at least not a very good one.
The plot of Mirrormask is weak and confusing. What exactly is going on isn't clear and while this isn't a problem for me on the surface, the issue here is am I getting anything out of the story. I don't mind being confused (in fact I like it - see my review of Primer) but I want to feel like I am getting something from a film. With Mirrormask it feels like the film makers don't really get what it is they are doing either.
Instead they are far more interested in how the film looks. This pays off as the film is magical to watch. Imagine Moulin Rouge! on acid and you might begin to get an idea. If there had been a story to support all this wonderful magic Mirrormask would have been an incredible feat. Instead it's mildly forgettable.
While not terrible, Mirrormask is just not that interesting. The pretty pictures loose their interest without a heart to sustain it. I would love to see the makers of this film turn their talents towards an good script to make something remarkable.