Incredible as it might seem, ten years have passed since the release of
Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece modern fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth. The film is in every way, a meticulously crafted
visual treat. So, it deserves a similarly crafted book to mark the decade of
its existence. This volume is sumptuous, to say the least, from the get go,
from the beautifully embossed cover on through. The paper is an exquisite heavy
Trivia abounds from del Toro’s
foreword, where he reveals that Pan’s
Labyrinth was the second toughest film to shoot in his experience, (the
toughest was Mimic) and is one of his
three personal favourite films of the ones he has made - Devil’s Backbone and Crimson
Peak being the others.
With lessons learned in the
disciplines of makeup and digital effects from Blade II and a greater sense of visual construction from his
experience on Hellboy, he set out to
create a whole new mythology.
Creating a brand new fairy tale
with all its trappings, locales, inhabitants, is a massive undertaking, as we
learn from the book. From del Toro himself, to the producers, the director of
photography and several of the stars, we gain a valuable insight into the
trials and tribulations of bringing this project to the screen. It was, after
all a major project, budgeted at a modest $19 million, filmed in Spain and
Mexico that contained creatures and effects that were uncommon in the film
industries of those countries with everything having to be built from scratch. Some
of the creative decisions were born out of a need to save some money due to the
constraints of the budget. A prime example detailed is that the fairies in the
film are bald, purely because the ability to create believable CGI hair wasn’t
there yet and further development would’ve incurred extra cost.
The illustrations that accompany
the text are just bewilderingly beautiful. Not only the high resolution photos,
giving the reader the opportunity to pore over every detail of The Faun, step
by step photographs show the stages of makeup being applied, as well as the
electronics housed in the headpiece that allowed some of the facial features to
One of the most fearsome
creatures of recent years is del Toro’s Pale Man, sitting at his banquet table.
The story of his creation, along with production sketches and concept drawings
is all here in detail.
There are full sketches than can
be pulled out, from simple line drawings to complex work of art showing every
minute detail of not only creatures but carved arches, furniture and wall etchings
ensure that no facet of this amazing film is left unexplored.
This is definitely a book that
should be in every genre fan’s stocking this Christmas. Well worth the cover
GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S PAN'S LABYRINTH: INSIDE THE CREATION OF A MODERN FAIRY TALE / AUTHORS: NICK NUNZIATA, MARK COTTA VAZ / PUBLISHER: HARPER DESIGN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW