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Book Review: Mirror Mask: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from the Jim Henson Company

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Mirror Mask: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from the Jim Henson Company, a beautifully rendered companion book to the upcoming motion picture from The Jim Henson Company, written by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.

A fantasy in the tradition of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, Mirror Mask is the story of Helena, a young girl whose family owns and performs in a small circus. When Helena’s mother falls seriously ill shortly after a confrontation in which Helena professes that she’d like to run away FROM the circus, the 15 year old feels she’s to blame. On the eve of her mother having surgery, Helena falls asleep and enters the and of the Mirror Mask, a dark and magical world where all is not well. Helena soon finds herself on a quest for the Mirror Mask, the only thing which will revive the Queen of Light, who is the sole person who can save this world, and return Helena back to her own.

The book is unique in that it tells the story through the actual movie screenplay, accompanied by more than 1,700 illustrated storyboards. At first I wondered how the simplistic B&W story board pics would replace descriptive text, but in a strange way, it was liberating. With nothing more than a rough visual guide, my imagination was given free reign to conjure my own visions of the marvelous characters, and backdrops… That was, until I reached about a third the way into the book, where stills from the movie leapt from the pages, and simply took my breath away. The imagery is absolutely stunning, and I found myself immediately looking for the film’s release date! For a taste, check out the previews.

Complimenting and completing the experience are comments, appreciations, and memories from the authors and filmmakers. Aside from a thoroughly enjoyable story, the book offers a fascinating birds-eye view of the creation of Mirror Mask, from conception to filming, and leaves you feeling somehow intimately connected, and wonderfully bewitched.

Neil Gaiman is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning author of the novels American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, Coraline, the short fiction collection Smoke and Mirrors, and the children’s books The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls (NY Times Illustrated Book of the Year), both of which were illustrated by McKean. He lives in the United States.

Dave McKean is an award-winning, world-renowned mixed-media artist, illustrator, and director. A longtime collaborator and friend of Neil Gaiman, McKean is famous for his distinctive work on the covers for the entire run of Gaiman’s CD/Vertigo Sandman comic-book series. He lives in England. The Art of Dave McKean

Mirror Mask: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from the Jim Henson Company is published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.

Mirror Mask the film is set to hit theaters September 30, 2005.

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About Annie

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    great review, Annie. i been really looking forward to Mirror Mask. fingers crossed! although i’ll refrain from readin books like this till after i see it.

  • Annie

    Thanks Aaron! I`m looking forward to it too. They only had a 4 million dollar budget to work with…Hard to believe from what I`ve seen from the clips.

    Let`s hope the movie lives up to the trailers, and reputations! Either way, I`d still recommend the book, especially if you`re a fan of Gaiman, or McKean.