Saturday, November 5th, 2005
(Reflect What You Are)
I’ve mentioned before that I was approaching MirrorMask with some degree of trepidation – having been a longtime fan of both Messrs Gaiman and McKean, I had a pretty good idea of the ways in which it could either be a triumph or a failure… and let’s just say they didn’t disappoint. On either count.
Even if it didn’t have his name on it, the story is immediately recognizable as quintissential Gaiman. Many of his favourite plot devices appear – circuses, dreams, cuckoos, young heroines, queens, etc etc. In fact, it’s the sort of thing that Gaiman could knock off in his sleep, which is in itself a bit of a letdown. There’s some inspired moments of dialogue and ideas, but they’re too few and far between – it’s mostly Gaiman cribbing from his own (and others’) work. I’d have hoped that for his proper debut as feature film screenwriter, he’d have come up with something more original, but considering that he took the same sort of play-it-safe route when he moved from comics to novels, I’m not really surprised. But considering that his novels have gotten progressively better with each try, if that trend holds for his film work it bodes well for the future.
But really, MirrorMask isn’t about the narrative. That’s just the vehicle upon which Dave McKean loads the film’s real appeal – the visuals. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that there’s never been a film that looks like MirrorMask. The mix of live-action and CGI is
presented through a gauzey, fantasy filter that works quite well at forcing you to suspend all disbelief in what you’re seeing. Any fan of McKean’s work will find much to appreciate in the almost two hours of eye candy that MirrorMask offers – the amount of detail and unbridled creativity on display is something to behold. His achievements as a first-time director are less remarkable, as the pacing of the film drags at points and there’s no real sense of dramatic escalation as the story progresses. It just kind of meanders from setting to setting with vague quest points being accomplished along the way. So while I can’t really say MirrorMask is a very good movie, on the whole, it is still something to behold and should remain a must-see on those merits for Gaiman and McKean fans alike.
The recently departed Six By Seven haven’t quite had the last word yet. They’re assembling a double-disc set of rarities and whatsits for release early next year on their old label, Beggars Banquet. Drowned In Sound interviewed Chris Olley back in September about the dissolution of the band and plans for the future.
Chart talks to Elbow in advance of their show at the Distillery tonight as part of the Ukula Bright Lights Festival. And don’t forget – this is the last day to enter the Elbow Haiku contest to win an autographed copy of Leaders Of The Free World! Click ye olde banner up above for deets.
The best part of the latest Ashlee Simpson flameout is that it happened just blocks away from where I live. I can’t help but feel touched by greatness, somehow.
np – The Morning After Girls / Prelude: EP’s 1 & 2