Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
UMD for PSP
Actors: Jason Barry, Rob Brydon, Stephanie Leonidas, Gina McKee, Dora Bryan
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Helena is a 15-year-old girl working for her family circus who wishes that she could run away from the circus & join real life. But such is not to be the case as she finds herself on a strange journey into the dark lands a... more »
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The Return of The King: The Jim Henson Company
B. Merritt | WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California | 10/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"(This is based on the theatrical release of MirrorMask which is currently in theaters, 10/30/05)
With a little help from Neil Gaiman's masterful writing, and Dave McKean's able artistry and direction, the Jim Henson Company makes a fantasy-filled return to the silver screen.
I was a big fan of The Labyrinth and, even more so, The Dark Crystal in the `80's. The excellent puppetry work combined with human characters was a novel idea, far beyond Sesame Street, and formatted more for the adult who has a kid's mentality. I was curious to see how The Henson Company might have advanced in the intervening years, and I wasn't disappointed. Gone are the puppets (to the chagrin of some) and in their place are CGI screens that boggle the mind - a living tapestry that slowly trundles by.
Creating screen shots that mimic a painter's canvas, this movie is pure eye-candy (think Alice In Wonderland meets Van Gogh). Although the opening few minutes felt more TV-esque than magical, they were quickly whisked away by the sumptuous middle and ending of the film.
The story: Helena, a teenage circus performer along with her mother and father, is having the usual surges of defiance. She doesn't want to be in the circus anymore, and she and her mother have a heated argument in which Helena wishes her mother dead. And during the evenings performance under the big top, Joanne, Helena's mother, collapses and falls into a coma. It is quickly discovered that she has something seriously wrong with her (although it's never defined, a brain tumor is easily surmised). Helena is riddled with guilt over her nasty words and falls asleep one night, and wakes up in a world of muted colors and magical creatures. Giant stone beings, masked love-interests, idiot cat-sphinxes, and a growing darkness that threatens to envelope this alternate world.
As Helena moves her way through this strange land, we begin to understand that she isn't asleep nor dreaming. This is real. But she's traded places with another, less likable Helena who is destroying her life back in the "normal" world. Helena sees this "other her" through the drawings she's done that decorate her bedroom wall. She looks through sketched windows, watching helplessly as the "bad" Helena argues with her father, makes out with a boy on her bed, and generally wreaks havoc.
It is soon discovered that the reason the world the good Helena now inhabits is falling into darkness is because of the imbalance created by the trading of places by the two Helenas, and our heroine has to find something called the MirrorMask to help set things right. The search is a puzzling heroes journey that pulls her deeper and closer to a wickedly dark queen. Helena struggles with growing up and becoming a stronger person as she walks, runs, and flies through this surreal landscape, trying to get back to her family and, most importantly, to her mother's sickbed.
This is a great movie for adults to take their teens to. It'll give them something to discuss as their children grow and have to face the muted colors of adulthood.
[The film is now playing in limited release at many art theaters and comes highly recommended]"
Boy, have some people missed the point...
Nikki | Boise, Idaho | 01/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a stunning, gorgeous, mind-blowing movie.
It seems criticisms of this movie are stemming from two basic complaints: first, that the story is unoriginal/derivative; and second, that the movie is all visuals, no plot. The first complaint misses the point completely. The whole point of the story is that it is ARCHETYPAL. It deals with fundamental human issues of identity, growth, dark and light, good and evil. To complain that an archetypal story is unoriginal is like complaining that an apple doesn't taste like an orange. To have completely unrelated expectations is to be disappointed.
The second complaint is once again an issue of erroneous expectations. A distinction must be made between film as pure entertainment and film as pure art. These two genres sometimes co-exist, of course, and there is a spectrum in between. Yes, this is a visual movie. It is self-consciously a movie intended to display film-making as a visual art, which it first and foremost is. When appreciating a painting, is the central issue the painter's choice of subject matter? No, it is technique, execution, mood, effect. Who decided film is only successful or worthy if the plot entertains us sufficiently? Seems to me that is rather a shallow, provincial and self-absorbed viewpoint.
For goodness' sake, leave your expectations and preconceptions at the door and just accept this movie offering at face value. Complaining about what it isn't (and isn't meant to be) is pointless and a waste of everybody's time. Watch it and appreciate it for what it is: a classic, archetypal story beautifully retold in an exemplary display of film-making as a visual art form."
Doing what a movie does best
Robin Hobb | Tacoma, Washington | 02/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some tales are told best around a campfire. Others belong on the pages of a book. And some stories demand to be told via the film medium. Mirror Mask, I feel, is one of these. From the first moment when the theatre darkened to when the last credit scrolled off the screen, I was entranced. And I walked away convinced that this particular story could not have been told as effectively in any other way.I left the theatre feeling the intense genius-envy I get whenever I experience something Neil Gaiman has had a hand in.
As a purveyor of fantasy, I read a tremendous amount in the field and see many movies in the genre. It's so easy to become jaded, so easy to see exactly where the current of a tale is carrying you; and then I encounter something like Mirror Mask and I fall in love all over again. I realize afresh that fantasy has no boundaries.
There are movies that leave me with a feeling of satisfaction, where I give a great sigh and feel content with a wonderful ending. Others, like Mirror Mask, set off a string of creative fireworks inside my mind and leave me fully charged and ready to see all the wonderful beginnings in the world.
I highly recommed this film."
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 07/06/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A young girl has grown up with her father's dream of a circus. But this is not her dream. She wants out. Then her mother falls ill and the girl finds herself in a strange city full of bizarre people and creatures. Here everyone wears masks (or so they say but it is not quite true). She teams up with a juggler named Valentine and they attempt to survive in the strange city as it is slowly attacked by the Shadows. The Land of Shadow is taking over the Land of Light. The Light Queen is asleep and needs something to wake her up.
Our unlikely pair set out to find the missing item and save the city. Along the way they encounter much strangeness and many strange beings. The girl is mistaken for the princess of Shadow and the truth becomes know. The princess and the girl have switched places and the princess is trying to destroy the city so she will never have to return. Can the girl and Valentine avoid the shadows, escape the evil Queen, wake the good Queen, and set things right? There is only one way to find out and that is by watching the movie.
This film is slow to start and opens like a bad soap opera. It is a long time before any element of the fantastic surfaces. The world is strange and the visual techniques are innovative. As we learn the history of the land we find it really makes little sense. The creation myth has a few holes and inconsistencies (I have not yet read the book so I don't know if these are new to the film or carried over). There are some wonderful visual techniques used but there is an extreme lack of story to hang them on. You may want to pass this one up."