First Hit: I think I’m going to be at odds with most other reviewers of this film: I really liked the mixing of the old and new technology with the filming of the character models movement by movement using high tech 3D, but for me the pacing of the story dragged the film down.
This film is remarkable in the way it uses handmade puppets, which were moved and filmed bit by bit in 3D, so that the audience sees the film as fluid and amazingly beautiful.
This old time (claymation type) process married with a non-gimmicky 3-D was extraordinary in that it doesn’t push the 3D images into your laps or eyes. It uses the 3D to enhance the geographic scene and stage of the film.
The story is of a girl who is stuck in an old building apartment while her parents are busy writing a garden manual and catalogue. She wants to go out and work in the garden but her parents are too busy and keep telling her to explore the house, which she does. She discovers a small door in one of the rooms and when it is opened it opens to a brick wall.
While dreaming, dream mice lead her to this small door and in the dream it opens to a tunnel to an alternate reality. In this alternate reality she has a mom and dad who pay attention to her and say they love her. But the darkness of the film and the feel of these alternate parents we know we’re headed to something not very pleasant. She is befriended by a young boy and his cat which help her sort out the real from the unreal and how to help other kids stuck in this alternate space.
There was a lot of attention paid to the visualization of this film, as it needed to be, however the execution of the story unfolded in a way that was too slow, especially for children snoozing next to me and the restless kids in front of me. The graphics, 3D, and execution of the visuals are first rate and extraordinary but the movement of the story never caught up to it.
Overall: This was film was fantastic from a visual sense and mediocre from a storyline execution sense making the film too long.