by Josh Smith & r & & r & Mirrormask & r & & r & Last fall, you probably missed the opening (and closing) of this small film, which was barely advertised, lost in the campaign for Serenity. Sometimes more art than film, Mirrormask is a rambling adventure film that looks like it emerged unrevised from the brain of director-designer Dave McKean. Which is probably its strength and weakness. Mirrormask has several highlights:

& lt;ul & & lt;li & It is a deserving inheritor of the Henson Company's legacy. Mirrormask revisits the glory of Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, reminding us that Henson et al. are capable of so much more than schlock like Muppet Treasure Island or whatever they're passing off as a Muppet movie these days. & lt;/li & & lt;li & Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, longtime collaborators, are both brilliant storytellers. Their bad ideas are worth at least six run-of-the-mill ideas from nearly anyone else. & lt;/li & & lt;li & They were given free rein to create whatever they wanted. & lt;/li & & lt;li & McKean's design work is impeccable, creating a surreal fantasy world and giving the film a unique look. & lt;/li & & lt;/ul &

Fortunately these are not outweighed by the film's drawbacks:

& lt;ul & & lt;li & Mirrormask seems to be more of niche piece that is unlikely to capture the mainstream imagination like its predecessors. The production design is intricate and may be inaccessible to some, though it's directly tied to Dave McKean's concept: A young girl who escapes into her own art. & lt;/li & & lt;li & Gaiman and McKean disagreed about the world the film takes place in. Gaiman wrote a fantastic journey into a dreamlike realm with its own rules and inhabitants, while McKean directed a film about a girl who works out some control issues in a dream. & lt;/li & & lt;li & The story tends to ramble from one event to the next, never really seeming to build on anything that has come before or prepare for anything yet to come. The climax of the film is recognizable only by the size of the CG puppet head when it comes. & lt;/li & & lt;/ul &

Despite its flaws, this movie comes highly recommended for any fans of Gaiman and McKean, as well as designers and artists -- or your favorite cousin who still dresses up as the Goblin King, tight pants and all.

Car d'Lane @ Downtown Coeur d'Alene

Fri., June 18 and Sat., June 19
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