My sister, S, was visiting this weekend. And very kindly brought her copy of MirrorMask up for me to watch. The plan had been to watch it on Saturday evening after an afternoon spent with a collection of my old school friends.
Plans went a bit awry after I sampled one of my friend’s home brew cider. People who know me in meatspace will know that I have the alcohol tolerance of a Chihuahua and that this was a foolish move.
I don’t know what was in this cider, I don’t want to know, I just know it only stayed inside me for around four hours – if you know what I mean.
Anyway. I didn’t get round to watching MirrorMask until this morning and was, it’s fair to say, a little worse for wear. Even so I think I would have had the same reaction even if I were feeling bouncier.
The reaction: F**K Me That Was Good.
The film tells the tale of Helena a circus girl who longs for a normal life away from her crazy parents, played by the charming Rob Brydon and the divine Gina McKee. When her mother falls sick off the back of a nasty argument Helena begins to question her own behaviour.
The night before her mother’s operation she falls asleep in her aunt’s house surrounded by her own drawings and when she wakes up things are not what they should be.
Finding herself in a strange world, ostensibly of her own creation, Helena must find the MirrorMask in order to awaken the Queen of Light and restore balance to that world. Only then can she return home to her sick mother.
To be fair, as someone who adored Dark Crystal and loved Labyrinth, I was pretty much their target market. And in the interests of being upfront there were some pretty clear riffs on both of these as well as the far older tales that those films in turn are taking inspiration from.
It doesn’t matter. That’s the way the world goes round. The result is genius. And let’s face it, how could you go wrong:
Take good ideas from these honourable predecessors, sprinkle with whatever you find in Gaiman/McKean gesult mind then compress through the boiler room of McKean’s filmmaker’s eye. It’s gold.
I know this was always meant to be a straight to DVD release. Yet I honestly have no idea why it didn’t get a wider cinema release, it’s a breathtaking achievement for such a small budget.
Buy it. Watch it. Enjoy it.
I have seen the future of film. His name is Dave McKean.