Mirrormask (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Mirrormask is scripted by Neil Gaiman, the comics writer, and directed by his frequent illustrator, Dave McKean. Following the same yellow brick road as The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and The Time Bandits, it's the story of a 15-year-old girl in a land of floating stone giants, black-eyed sorceresses, flying fish and enchanted forests. It looks fantastic, its shadowy surrealism hinting at what Hieronymous Bosch might have done with computers. Alas, McKean's flights of fancy thump down to Earth under the weight of the leaden, allegory-laden script, which suggests that Gaiman would have preferred not to write a fairy tale, but an academic essay on fairy-tale archetypes.

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