Film Threat archive logo


By Eric Campos | January 28, 2005

Welp, I went in expecting a little something like “Labyrinth” and all I got was this crummy movie. Oh, Jim Henson Company has it really come to this?

So from what little I was able to pay attention to “MirrorMask”, this is what I gathered – A young teenage girl, Helena, is fed up of living life as a circus performer along with her family. She wants a taste of the real world and she damns her mother for not allowing her to do so. When her mother suddenly falls ill, Helena is sucked into a twisted world of monsters and masked weirdos ruled by an evil queen. Meanwhile, Helena’s doppelganger is living at home with her family, destroying her life. Helena must get back to her normal life before her evil twin destroys it. Something called the MirrorMask is her key. She has to find it. We get to watch her do this.

So, yeah, it’s pretty obvious that I’m in no way whatsoever familiar with the source material, so all the fans of the original Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean story needn’t bother sending in their pissed off emails. I haven’t read the story. I don’t plan on it. I don’t care. It’s not that I have any sort of problem with the “MirrorMask” story, it’s okay I guess, but it’s the cinematic execution of this story that really blows. That’s what I’m talking about here, how this story is presented within these 101 minutes.

I think the number one problem here is that there needed to be a more capable filmmaker on hand to direct. Dave McKean just ain’t cuttin’ the mustard and it’s evident in just the first couple minutes of his film. As the movie begins in the normal live action world, the look, feel, actors’ performances, everything, has a really weird made for public television type of production value to it. In other words, it seems really cheap and it’s something you’re going to need a lot of patience and forgiveness to get through. Not a lot of people are going to have that and they’ll be dreading the rest of this movie as soon as it gets going. Not a good thing. You may want to just give up and go outside to breakdance instead.

Then, when we finally get into this otherworld, things only get slightly better as now we have some bizarre things to ogle – some cool, some not so cool. (Warning: By the end of the film, you’ll be sick and tired of ugly creatures with human faces.) But you start getting lulled into boredom as the entirely digital world turns into a sort of videogame stew. Apart from a couple of really stand-out sequences – one amazing scene where Brothers Quay like creatures dance to a Carpenters tune – you start losing a grasp on just what you’re looking at and you certainly stop caring about what exactly is going on. I found my mind drifting frequently, thinking about things I needed to take care of at home, because this cold and lifeless world was threatening to leave me as just that.

It’s depressing to see The Jim Henson Company being a part of a miserable digital mess like this. “MirrorMask” is an all around awful experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon