Mirrormask (2005)

Dir. Dave McKean

I could see Mitchell really liking this, but even if he didn’t, I believe he would be interested in watching this. I would also include Grace. Penny may like this, too, but I’m not confident enough to recommend this to her. I know Chris really liked this, and he recommended it. In fairness to Chris, I think objectively the film is better than a five, and while I liked some things about it, there were some things that prevented me from enjoying it more.

This is part live action, part animated film based on a Neil Gaiman story. The film is about a girl Helena, who, helps her parents run a circus. After a fight with her mother—about having a normal life—Helena’s mother feints and later needs an operation. The night before the surgery, Helena enters a strange world, a world that is divided into a realm of light and realm of darkness. Helena learns that the Queen of Light is dying, and sets out to get the charm to save her. The story has similarities of the other Neil Gaiman adaptation, Coraline.

The best thing about the film for me was the way the story addressed conflicts between parents and children. I liked the way the light and dark realm represented the good and bad tendencies in Helena. I specifically liked the use of dichotomy of the light queen-daughter and dark queen-daughter; the way the world was created by Helena but being destroyed by the anti-Helena who switched places with her.

But somehow the story–which felt stale–didn’t resonate with me. I do think this would be an interesting and thoughtful film for 4th-6th grade students. I also was a little disappointed by the animation—which was mainly cgi—because it looked too geometrical, stiff and lifeless. Perhaps the way the film merged live actors with the animation, which had a low-production quality, didn’t help either. At the same time, I did like some of the graphics and images.

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