MIRRORMASK (Dave McKean). 101 min. Opens Friday (October 28). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNNN
This marvellous fantasy film has a fully realized, completely original look that recalls director and graphic artist Dave McKean 's work on the Sandman graphic novel covers.
Everything here is textured - lines and scrawls float in the frame as though it were a three-dimensional page. Which is perfect for a story about a girl on a dream quest to awaken the sleeping White Queen before the Dark Queen destroys everything. Meanwhile, the girl is in the process of destroying the dream world she's created through her drawings.
Twenty-year-old Stephanie Leonidas carries the film easily as 15-year-old Helena. She's smart and has attitude but avoids playing cute or overselling herself.
Nothing here is oversold. The humans are just slightly exaggerated, and the fantasy creatures provide character rather than mere charm. But charming they are. McKean and the Henson company have come up with some unique and amazing beings with a mix of puppetry and CGI. The gorillabirds are a favourite.