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A blend of live action, CGI and puppetry, MIRRORMASK ($29) is a hauntingly beautiful and visually arresting fantasy film from the Jim Henson Company. MIRRORMASK tells the story of a teenaged girl named Helena (Stephanie Leoandidas), who seeks a normal existence away from the small circus operated by her parents. Following a heated argument, Helenaís mother collapses and it rushed to the hospital. Days later Helena learns her mother is facing life or death surgery. On the eve of her motherís surgery, Helena finds herself whisked off to a strange land, where she is mistaken for the Princess of the Land of Shadows. Befriended by a masked juggler named Valentine (Jason Barry), Helena begins an odyssey to locate a talisman called the MirrorMask, which will save the City of Light from being consumed by the Shadows emanating from the realmís dark Queen (Gina McKee) and return Helena to the real world, where she has been replaced by a dark doppelganger.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made MIRRORMASK available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is truly excellent for such highly stylized material. Image sharpness and detail are a bit variable, due to the mixture of live action and CG elements, but is generally quite excellent. Colors tend to be strong and very vibrant, plus the flesh tones are highly appealing. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and clean, plus the picture produces smooth contrast and good shadow detail. The elements from which MIRRORMASK has been mastered demonstrate few imperfections. There is some grain evident in the image, but is generally minimal.

MIRRORMASK is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Sound quality impresses like the visuals. MIRRORMASK features a lively sound design the makes excellent use of the outlying channels. There are plenty of little sounds in the track that move about the soundstage; both enhancing and bringing to life the filmís fantasy world. Fidelity is great, producing a rich sounding musical component, as well as convincing sound effects. The bass channel is deep, but not excessively bombastic. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD soundtracks are also present, as are Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary features director Dave McKean and writer Neil Gaiman. Neil Talks is a six-minute conversation with Neil Gaiman. Dave Talks is a six-minute conversation with Dave McKean. Other supplements include Beginnings (four minutes), Day 16 (two minutes), Flight Of The Monkey Birds (four minutes), Giant Development (two minutes) and Q And A (twenty minutes).

As I stated above, MIRRORMASK is a visually arresting fantasy film that has been given a wonderful presentation on Blu-ray. Recommended.



Mirrormask [Blu-ray] (2005)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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