October 28th, 2005



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Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean at event of MirrorMaskDave McKean at event of MirrorMaskNeil Gaiman at event of MirrorMaskNeil Gaiman at event of MirrorMaskDave McKean at event of MirrorMask

In a fantasy world of opposing kingdoms, a 15-year old girl must find the fabled MirrorMask in order to save the kingdom and get home.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 6.9/10 (12,967 voted)

Critic's Score: 55/100

Director: Dave McKean

Stars: Stephanie Leonidas, Jason Barry, Rob Brydon

In a fantasy world of opposing kingdoms, a 15-year old girl named Helena who works at the family circus with her father and mother, who wishes--quite ironically--that she could run away from the circus and join 'real life'. But such is not to be the case, as she finds herself on a strange journey into the Dark Lands, a fantastic landscape filled with giants, Monkeybirds and dangerous sphinxes. She must find the fabled MirrorMask in order to save the kingdom and get back home.

Writers: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean

Stephanie Leonidas - Helena / Anti-Helena
Jason Barry - Valentine
Rob Brydon - Morris Campbell / Prime Minister
Gina McKee - Joanne Campbell / Queen of Light / Queen of Shadows
Dora Bryan - Aunt Nan
Stephen Fry - Librarian
Andy Hamilton - Small Hairy
Simon Harvey - Sphinx
Lenny Henry - Cops 1-4
Robert Llewellyn - Gryphon
Eryl Maynard - Mrs. Bagwell
Eve Pearce - Future Fruit Lady
Nik Robson - Pingo / Bing (as Nik Robinson)
Victoria Williams - Nurse
Rick Allen - Man In a Box

Taglines: Enter A World Where Dreams Are Real


Official Website: Sony Pictures [United States] |

Release Date: 28 October 2005

Filming Locations: Black Island Studios, Alliance Road, Acton, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $126,449 (USA) (2 October 2005) (18 Screens)

Gross: $864,959 (USA) (11 December 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Josefine Cronholm's version of Burt Bacharach's classic song "Close to You", performed in the film during the scene where Helena is dressed by mechanical handmaidens, was inspired by composer Wayne Horvitz's 1997 cover version of the song featured in the tribute album "Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach" (sung by Julie Wolf and Robin Holcomb).

Continuity: After Helena holds up the key while looking at the tower, the immediate next shot shows the key facing the opposite direction.

Valentine: Rocks and logs may bite like dogs but words will never harm me.

User Review

Like Nothing You've Ever Seen

Rating: 7/10

I'm another of those who saw this at Sundance, and all the things I enjoy about Gaiman and McKean's graphic novels were on display: the quiet humor, the intelligence, the delightful weirdness, the astounding visual vocabulary. Except that in this case, the words are spoken by good actors, and all those visuals get up off their feet and move.

It's hard to describe the impact of watching a McKean painting move and talk. There might be those who quibble about the movie looking too animated, but of course that's exactly the point: to create a world and make it dance. The end result, visually at least, is like nothing you've ever seen before, and absolutely worth seeing for that reason alone.

Some of the people I talked to after the screening also loved the visuals but felt the story was a bit dull, that they had seen it all before. Well, it's true that the story does wear its influences on its sleeve--a little "Alice in Wonderland" here, a little "Time Bandits" there, a lot of "Wizard of Oz" over here, not to mention a resemblance to Gaiman's own "Coraline." But I'm just as familiar with those stories as anyone else, and the resemblances never interrupted my enjoyment of "MirrorrMask"--after all, it's what you do with a story that determines its success. And from moment to moment, there was enough innovation and cleverness, enough delight and wonder, to make the movie a positive delight.

I can imagine kids sitting in the audience with their eyes agog; and I can imagine their parents sitting next to them, just as agog for a whole different set of reasons. "MirrorMask" may or may not be too wild to be a full-out commercial success; but I predict it's going to have a long, long shelf life. I know I'll be buying the DVD as soon as it's available, so that I can show it to people and say "Wait till you see this."


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