A supernatural fantasy action adventure whose combination of whimsy and gothic melodrama seems to have been cobbled together from focus groups held at Comic-Con and Renaissance fairs.
This is less an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 1999 novel than of its dust-jacket synopsis, which will come as disconcerting news to fans of the author's delicate jigsaw-puzzle fantasies.
A kitchen-sink fantasy, in both mood and content. It is exciting, funny, adventurous, magical and very romantic. The special effects are great, but the characters are even better.
As with most fairy tales, it can sound silly and overcomplicated because, really, it is silly and overcomplicated. That's part of the fun, part of its out-of-this-world power.
There are lots of good things in the movie, but they play more like vaudeville acts than part of a coherent plot. It's a film you enjoy in pieces, but the jigsaw never gets solved.
I'm a sucker for fantasies, but this one is so undistinguished and arbitrary that it left few traces in my consciousness, apart from the impression that the filmmakers resort to cruelty whenever they run out of ideas, which is often.