This is a rather unusual film that caught my interest for a few reasons. Now for most people, it was the director and producer who made them want to see this. But the name that jumped out for me was Stephanie Leonidas. Now this is someone who was in the cast of ITV1’s soap Night And Day, which was creative, but ultimately a big flop with viewers.
A lot people including myself thought that she was the best of the younger generation of cast members, and she is also just about the only one whose TV work hasn’t consisted of going on to appear in another soap, and barely anything else. It was definitely good to see her again, and in a film that promised to be something rather different too.
MirrorMask managed to have a distinctive look, and was like little else that was around at the time, and this was mostly thanks to the hard work of The Jim Henson Company. The long time that this spent in development hopefully was worth it. Stephanie played Helena, a girl who worked at a circus that was run by her parents (her dad was played by Rob Brydon).
But she has now had enough of juggling and the like, and there has been trouble bringing the punters in, you won’t believe how much peanut sales have fallen. Things just aren’t what they used to be and she simply wants to do something different with her life. But then she suddenly finds herself in a rather unusual land, filled with lots of creative characters. Could this possibly be a dream?
The clues have to be found in order to obtain the MirrorMask, only her companion Valentine can help her. This is the only way that she can escape, and then her life will be complete, if this is happening at all of course. But who is Anti-Helena? And what does The Queen Of Light want? Stephen Fry, Andy Hamilton, Lenny Henry, and Robert Llewellyn were among those who gave their voices to the characters.
This was all definitely fascinating to watch unfold. One critic said that all of this was “spectabulous”. Is that a word? I think so. But this didn’t seem to attract too much of a buzz at the time though, although there has been a DVD release, and I think that this eventually turned up on TV many years later, on Film4, but it was in an afternoon slot.
There are a lot of extras though, including some insights into how the characters were created. Of course you do forget that the making of this film was standing around in a blue room while all of the visual effects were added in later, this one was definitely enhanced in post-production. I hope that we’ll be seeing Stephanie in films for a long time to come.