So I thought I would try my hand at film reviews I haven’t written any in-depth ones since college, so here we go.
This movie is more visually stunning than it is anything else.There are many arguments about how strong the story may or may not be, but one thing that is never argued about is the originality within the set, character design, and it’s musical composition.The fact that it hasn’t become a cult classic is a little bit surprising to me.
At it’s very core you could say it resembles the elements of a Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland story.A girl,in this case one named Helena, with problems in her real life is transported to a world very different than her own. The world is very strange, it doesn’t have the bright happiness or insanity of Wonderland nor does it have the sometimes unnecessary darkness that can often be associated with Oz.Another thing that differentiates this movie from the other two is that there is no big thing that happens to garnish us into the new world.There are no tornadoes or rabbit holes, it is an almost seamless transition.
The art style is one thing that truly sets this movie apart from any other.It is a dark fantasy like no other,it’s beautiful and quite unique. It’s the only dark fantasy I’ve ever seen that purposely chooses not use black as it’s main color.Though the ever encroaching darkness is black and tends to spawn eye spiders(that’s how I’m coining them).It tends to use more of a sandy tan to depict it’s world.The character designs are all really well done. Each person having a distinct mask and clothing. Excluding our main character,Helena,who spends most of the movie in her pajamas and bunny slippers.The world is almost totally done in CG and a lot of the creatures are weird, creepy, and/or quite intriguing.The landscape is purposely set to seem artsy .The art of the fantasy world is based on the art that we see Helena draw.The same way in which in the characters of the Wizard of Oz are fantasy versions of actual people in Dorthy’s life.
In the story she progresses with her companion to try to save this fantasy world while trying to get back to her own.It does have a few classic tropes such as the evil queen and the classic betrayal.Yet everything is done in a new style and intriguing manner so it’s very hard to get bored.I find the world much prettier and much more exciting,than it’s sister movie The Labarinth, although there is no Bowie(and the world isn’t as cute). I’m almost sure I’ll be stoned by many for ever loving this movie over the favorite sibling of then Jim Henson movies,but I do.The labyrinth is cute and well do ne but to be honest I like Helena much more than I could ever like Sara.Also if I had to choose a world to live in their is no competition.The only negative thing I have to say about this film is the fact the movie called Helena selfish. She wants a normal life, away from her father’s circus, and you can’t blame her.Yet she is called selfish for being tired of this life,and that’s my main problem with the movie.As a parent I believe it’s your job to facilitate your child’s dream and not the other way around.I think it’s selfish to force your child to work in an arena they hate so that you can be happy,but I digress.As does the movie honestly,we are given this point in the very beginning with the argument with her mom,and then we are thrust into a fantasy world.To be honest we aren’t given a lot about her personal life other than the fact that she’s the “typical teen”, aside from the that she works in a circus,and the fact that she loves to draw.Though at the same time we are given a clue that her outburst could honestly be from the fact that she’s a just moody teenager or just wants something different ,rather then her actually hating her life.We are also given images of what a version of Helena could be if she totally ran away from all that her mother’s taught her (or at least that’s how I’m taking those scenes in).In the resolution of saving the queen of the light I see her appreciating where she came from, and not running away from the person she was brought up to be.
The story deal with a teenage heroine,Helena, whose tired of her life in the circus(that her parents own). She just wants a normal life.She argues with her mom over this, and not to long after we discover that her mother is sick.After her mother is hospitalized, Helena soon finds mysteriously in strange new world.
This is a world in which you’ll need a net to catch and book and if you neglect it, it’ll sail away back to the library.Not to mention the fact that everybody in this world wears a mask “because how else would you know how you’re feeling”.It’s a world in which giants float and sphinx wont let you pass until you’ve solved their riddle.It’s split into two parts one of light and another of dark.Each ruled by it’s own queen.The problem is the queen of the light won’t wake up and now the darkness is slowly encroaching on the land of the light.Can she get back home and somehow save this world?