Directed and Designed by Dave McKean
Written Neil Gaiman

The makeover sequence is a highlight - - - McKean in full-on auteur mode unhinging from the anorexic story boxing his possibilities. Mckean unhinged is always a highlight. Also the point where the voices guiding him - - - Jan Svankmajer, the Brothers Quay , Jeunett-Caro, F.W.Murnau, Hayao Miyazaki - - - achieve total osmosis and invisibility. Also the point where it becomes apparent that scorer Iain Bellamy is the endeavor’s twin engine. The fairy tale’s immaterial ,almost, you could see where it comes from and where it’ll go. But the trouble McKean has in making the characters summon up something more resonant than leftover angst reheated is offset by the dense , intoxicating siege of imagery - - - orbiting giants, attacking sphinxes , riddling dog, temperamental books, traffic of fishes - - - he teases out of the little he has to work with. The emotional pay-off may be a mere awe for the cosmetic. But the cosmetic here runs poetic and deep.
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Noel Vera said...

I just watched this. Interesting points, and I mostly agree, but what's interesting about the script is that it's your run-of-the-mill fantasy adorned with what I think was fairly unusual dialogue. Particularly the give-and-take between the girl and that uh whatsisname guy, there's a chemistry there, an unspoken cameraderie and a skewed sense of humor that lends a unique flavor to the film.

Dodo said...

That's Gaiman's doing mostly. Not as big a fan of his as I used to be, specially after re-reading his early comics and noticing how much he fumbled at mastering that synergy between words and pictures that comics demand. But he's gotten better, more aware, and he has developed a knack for that.

Noel Vera said...

I'm an okay fan of Gaiman myself. Not the greatest thing since peanut butter, but not bad, especially when he's funny, and that's his best contribution to the film, I thought. Was the best contribution to his translation of Mononoke Hime, too.