Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wait, wait, what key is this in?

Stop reading this post and go see MirrorMask. Go see it now now now.

Herself loves the L. Frank Baum books, so I surprised her once by taking her to see The Wizard Of Oz on the big screen. And on the big screen, surrounded by darkness, it was still magical when the sepia-toned world suddenly exploded with color. It took my breath away.

I saw an interview with David Crosby on one of the PBS rock and roll documentaries. He talked about seeing A Hard Day's Night and dancing out of the theater. He swung himself around on a lamppost like Gene Kelly, and realized he had to be a rock star.

It was kind of like that.

MirrorMask is an immersive tale of a girl whose family runs a circus in Great Britain, very much in the tradition of The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. It may be the best fantasy movie since The Wizard of Oz.

(I said this to my Colleague, who immediately asked "Better than Lord of the Rings"? Knowing that he's a huge Tolkien fan, I made many noises about what different movies they are. MirrorMask lacks Tolkien's epic sweep. But did I find the story more interesting, the characters more captivating, the pacing tighter, the visuals more absorbing? Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.)

Imagine if you could actually follow the plot to a Cirque du Soleil production, and you might have some idea of what you'll see. The movie feels like a cross of a European circus, with masked characters and couture costumes and sly wit, and a comic book, alternately in sharp focus and impressionist fuzz.

It's simply one of the most visually interesting movies I've seen in years... the scene with the Monkeybirds made me physically sit on the edge of my seat in wonder. You have to be willing to go on the ride; the images are very dense and you won't get every detail of every picture. If you just don't like Dave McKean's style (which you may have seen on the Sandman covers, or The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish), you probably won't like it when it moves either.

But for myself, I went on the ride, and it was fantastic. And you should go too, because we need people in good places to see it if we think it'll ever come to cow-towns like Columbus.

(I'll gloss the title for you: the score reminded me of Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles meets the Kamikaze Ground Crew. Which was weird, but I liked it.)


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