Mirrormask reflects the down side of reality

When pushing open the doors of the theater, one doesn’t expect to be attacked by a film. Mirrormask, the creation of writer Neil Gaiman, illustrator Dave McKean and Henson Studios, does exactly that. Assaulting the eyes with stunning visuals, it takes you completely by surprise and leaves you wanting more.

From the opening credits to the final scene, Mirrormask captures the jagged style of McKean perfectly. Where his pictures capture the strange and fantastic with a still eeriness, his film has captured it in motion. He and Gaiman have created a world thriving with wonder.

Strange CGI landscapes loom over believable characters in a somewhat familiar storyline. The tale revolves around a girl named Helena who was raised in a circus run by her father and mother. One night after a tragedy occurs, she finds herself in a world she created in her drawings and her head.

It’s up to Helena and a quirky companion named Valentine to search the world for a charm… a charm called the Mirrormask. The mask is fabled to be the only item able to restore balance to the world plagued by darkness. Helena must maneuver her way around the clutches of the evil Black Queen and her legion of shadows, tackle sphinxes with riddles, and eventually escape the land which she created before it keeps her forever.

The film is much like Alice in Wonderland, taking Helena down the shady streets of her imagination. The whole story is like a fever dream-frantic and disorienting but in a good way. Mirrormask was created using almost entirely mixed media (a blend of photography, painting and various other bits of artistic awesomeness).

Mirrormask has been on the cutting board for a long time, computer crashes and other technical malfunctions keeping the project from hitting theaters until now. McKean and Gaiman had to work with a $4 million budget, an amazing feat considering the beautiful movie they eventually released. Mirrormask grossed $127 thousand during it’s first weekend.