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MirrorMask : The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from The Jim Henson Company by Neil Gaiman
Review by Drew Bittner
William Morrow Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0060798750
Date: 03 May, 2005 List Price $34.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Helena is a fifteen-year-old girl whose life in the circus has grown unbearable. She decides to run away to find a more ordinary life... but Fate has other plans. She finds herself in a magical world of bizarre creatures, where a dark queen is on the verge of triumph and the light queen lies in a deep sleep. Without balance between the kingdoms, catastrophe will ensue. Somehow, Helena is the key.

It is a world of masks. The real face is always hidden behind something representational. Is this artifice or a doorway into a deeper truth? Perhaps Helena, as the only unmasked visitor to these places, reflects something poignant by showing her real self in a world of pretense.

On her travels through these strange lands, she begins to see the connections between her life in the circus-- with its own source of unhappiness-- and the fantasy realm. Her course steers her toward the MirrorMask, an artifact of tremendous power that will save or destroy the two kingdoms. Weird characters such as Valentine aid her mission... but can she find the mask before time runs out?

Through the storyboards and illustrations in this book, it seems clear that Gaiman and McKean will have a quirky, heartwarming hit on their hands.

The book includes appendices written by the creators, illustrating their thought process, as well as odds and ends, correspondence, and profiles of Gaiman and McKean each written by the other.

MirrorMask: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture from the Jim Henson Company (to give the book its full title) is a beautiful volume. Anyone fond of surrealist fantasy will treasure it, finding it whets the appetite for the film itself. Gaiman and McKean are a brilliant team; hopefully, this represents their initial entry into a long, highly successful string of feature films.

Highly recommended.

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