Mirrormask (2005)

(On DVD, August 2006) Neil Gaiman. David McKean. What else do you need to know? Mirrormask blows away most other fantasy films by presenting a very particular, very original vision of fantasy. Once in the dream world of its protagonist, I don’t think that there’s a single frame of this film that looks as if it belongs in a “normal” film: Everything else is wonderfully twisted, straight out Gaiman’s script and McKean’s visual imagination. The script is top-notch, as you would expect from one of the savviest, most popular fantasy writers of our times. The images are spectacular, as you would also expect from one of the best fantasy illustrators out there. In fact, the small wonder of the film is how it was made at all: it’s so pleasantly off-the-wall that it lends credence to the film’s “give us a small budget so that we can have complete control” making-of rumours. If there’s a problem with the film, it’s that it certainly takes its time getting from point A to point B, and seems to exemplify John Clute’s “thinning” fantasy archetype. Still, this is not the kind of film you would expect to see on either big or small screens. In its level of quality, it’s fully equal to at least a Young Adult fantasy novel. Its existence is mind-boggling: fantasy fans should rush to see it if they already haven’t done so.

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