Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Go See MirrorMask.

MirrorMask was worth the 4-hour round-trip drive to Atlanta to see it on its opening night last Friday, and it'll be worth another 4-hour drive this Wednesday to see it again. If you haven't heard of it, that's because Sony Pictures has shamefully underpromoted and underdistributed it. Of course, they deserve great credit for initiating this in the first place.

What happened was this. They approached the Jim Henson Company and gave them a mere 4 million dollars to make a movie to follow in the tradition of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. The Jim Henson Company then turned to the Everything Award-winning author Neil Gaiman and his longtime collaborator, artist Dave McKean, who jointly came up with a story for which Gaiman wrote a script that McKean then turned into a film of unique and astonishing genius.

If you've ever read anything Gaiman wrote or seen anything McKean created, you should automatically see the appeal. If you haven't yet or are somehow still unenthused anyway, click here to go to an unofficial Dave McKean site that includes a whole lot of still photos from the film and a good number of video clips, including, of course, the trailer. Actually, go there even if you don't need persuading. It's great. Probably the second-most important link in a link-heavy post.

Obviously, I loved it, but I'm honest enough to tell you that not everyone did. Roger Ebert, for example, wasn't too impressed at all. And this guy absolutely hated it. A lot of critics quite like it, though. Some choice quotes:

"Avant-garde panache...remarkable cinema fantasy...this dazzling reverie...has something to astonish everyone." --Entertainment Weekly (A-)

"A gloriously loony yarn and astounding work of art." --√úbercine

A longer one:
If I offered the opinion that MirrorMask is an amalgamation of Alice in Wonderland, The NeverEnding Story, The Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, M.C. Escher & Tim Burton, you'd probably be pretty intrigued...if not all that convinced of the film's unique vision and startling presentation. But despite clear "inspiration" from these and numerous other sources, MirrorMask still stands as a powerfully original composition. It's playful, dark and mysterious. It's got a few simple little morals, it's amazingly gorgeous to look at, and it's effortlessly enthralling for 90-some straight minutes. Much of the movie feels comfortably familiar...yet it's certainly unlike anything you've ever seen before.
Somewhat beholden to some of the finest fantasy stories ever conceived, yet still more than fresh and unique enough to stand on its own, "MirrorMask" is one of the most thrillingly addictive adventures I've had in years. Hats off to superlative artists Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean for constructing something this endearingly odd and utterly enjoyable. Movies like this give me renewed hope for movies in general, and for that I'm very appreciative indeed.
And perhaps my favorite, from the very enthusiastic reveiw in the East Bay Express:

"When Tim Burton manages to see this movie, he'll realize he just got owned."

Also of interest might be this L.A. Times article and these interviews of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean in the Onion A.V. Club and this one of both on Nerve.com.

And because it's only showing in select cities, this list of theaters is the most important link here.

Find a theater in a city
you can get to, plot out a course on MapQuest if necessary, check showtimes on Moviefone or Fandango, and go see this movie. You're not required to thank me afterward, but I won't be surprised if you do.


Anonymous Laura said...

I hope it works out that we can go see it on Wednesday! I really want to see it! And then maybe Aqualung....YESSS!! It'll be flippin' SWEET!

3:49 PM  
Blogger trawlerman said...

4 hours? That's hardcore. I could drive 1 hour to Rochester to see it in a couple of weeks, but I'm pretty sure that I'll be waiting for the video.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Steve Ely said...

It's about two hours to Atlanta. It seems less drastic if you think about it one way.

Keep considering Rochester. When the greater part of the appeal of the film is the visual experience, the big screen really helps a lot.

7:49 PM  

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