I finally had the opportunity and the time to see Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask this evening. I was rather underwhelmed by Gaiman’s novel American Gods, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect seeing Gaiman on the screen. Still, knowing his graphic novel background, I was hoping for better screen translation of his imagination than I got with that novel.
First, I’d say this movie gets a 4/5 on the strength of the visuals alone. It’s just stunning. I’m sure that people have commented on how surreal it seems at times, and with good reason. There’s a lot of allusion to fairy tale in the story, but everything is couched in imagery that could have jumped out of a painting. It’s breathtaking. If you appreciate visuals, you will love it.
The soundtrack is a weird cabaret/trip-hop fusion; I suppose this is what happens when you try to fuse circus atmosphere with the darkness that pervades the story and imagery. Funny enough, it works really well, although my girlfriend in the other room asked me if I was watching porn when she heard the soundtrack without knowing that I was watching the movie.
The biggest failing, in my opinion, was the lack of innovation with the story line. You can predict everything that happens in this movie ten minutes in advance, and there isn’t really any moment where you feel real fear or suspense. Still, the visuals are lush enough to keep you watching just to find out what you’ll see in the next scene.
The bottom line is that if you like visually stunning films, you’ll like this one. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth your time.