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If you like Guillermo del Toro's films, heard of his Bleak House but have never seen what's inside, or just admire his sense and sensibilities, this is going to be an incredible book for you. It provides wonderful insight into the working mind of a director and eclectic collector.

This is a big and heavy book. The hardcover is nicely embossed to make it feel like a wooden bookshelf. Inside, the book is filled with plenty of pictures and extensive text which makes for a substantial reading.

The book's roughly split into three parts, covering his collections, notebooks and lastly the unfinished projects.

The first part shows off the amazing collection of items found in his man cave, also known as Bleak House. There are photos of the different rooms and the incredible amount of objects he collects. There are movie props, huge piles of books, all sorts of character figures, a few life-size sculptures, one is of H.P. Lovecraft, in the hallway there's the monster Sammael from Hellboy and many more. The whole place feels like an intimate museum. The photos are delightful, and when you look closely you can spot surprises, such as a Totoro or a book you might also have read.

In this section, GDT also talks about his graphic inspirations, on how he read paintings, analyse films, explains his techniques of storytelling and his idea incubating notebooks. Fascinating.

The second part on notebooks actually looks at the eight films he has made so far, namely Cronos, Mimic, The Devil's Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy II and Pacific Rim.

In interview style, author Marc Scott Zicree (MSZ) and GDT talks at length and in detail the inspiration behind each film. It's really insightful to read about how the ideas morph and evolve. No all ideas get used, of course, but you'll still see them in the notebook pages. You'll gain much more if you've watched the movies, although that is not totally necessary, but highly recommended. Pacific Rim's coverage is sadly much shorter than the other films.

The numerous scanned notebook pages really provides another dimension to how GDT's mind works. There's quite a lot to read from the notebooks' captions alone. Also included are amazing concept designs from GDT himself.

GDT says the notebooks are for his daughters, but they only draw manga style and find his drawings reprehensible and horrible. That's pretty funny. Author MSZ managed to elicit lots of interesting bits of information with thoughtful questions.

The last part on unfinished projects is quite brief. Five projects are mentioned with each taking two pages.

Interspersed throughout the book are also write-up by prominent guests, such as James Cameron, John Landis, Alfonso Cuaron, Ron Perlman, Mike Mignola and others just to name a few.

What's missing in the book is perhaps his role as a producer on other films. I would love to read about what he does as a producer. It's not mentioned in any way, but that's a small issue.

Overall, this is a truly insightful and incredible book. Highly recommended.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on 28 December 2013
Goodness me, this is a beautiful book. Due to a combination of overzealous book buying and the physical constraints of my bookshelves, I've reached the point where I will only hold on to books that are either somehow unique or personal favourites - Cabinet of Curiosities, I feel, qualifies as both.

Every page of this book confirms that Del Toro is a true visionary, and it's truly sad that the lengthy film-making process means that his output will inevitably be somewhat limited. We should appreciate what he has managed to produce. His takes on Hellboy stand out in a field of bland and overly-similar comic book adaptations, and in my humble opinion the realms of fantasy and horror have never been so well combined on film as in The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth. Even his latest effort, Pacific Rim, which could have been an utterly brainless monster vs robot snorefest, is thoughtfully designed and executed.

If you like Del Toro's films, or even just well-made books, then this is a must-buy.
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on 22 February 2014
My missus loves Del Toro and this glossy book was a nice, unusual gift for her. A great book to leave on the coffee table for guests to flick through. Great photos of his second house, his thinking space and full of collectables ... basically his man cave.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 November 2014
 If you've followed the career of director Guillermo del Toro, you no doubt have an admiration for his films. On the whole, some films are more successful than others - but they all have great design work. In particular, his films are known for their abundance of creatures (some elegant, others terrifying).

We get personal artwork from every film that Mr. del Toro has directed - "Cronos", "Mimic", "The Devil's Backbone", "Blade II", "Hellboy", "Pan's Labyrinth", "Hellboy II: The Golden Army", and "Pacific Rim". Most of these are early drawings, sketches, and storyboards - and some of it differs greatly from what appears in the finished film. There are also full-page scans from del Toro's idea journals, which includes extensive writing in both English and Spanish. I am so glad that this artwork has been made available, it shows how much time and effort goes into the designs of these movies.

Del Toro has been attached to dozens of projects, yet he has only made 8 films. So there's a lot of work that has yet to make it to the screen - fortunately, we also get a few pages of designs from some of these unfinished projects, such as "At the Mountains of Madness" and "Meat Market".

By far the best and most numerous designs come from "Pan's Labyrinth" and the two "Hellboy" movies... a lot of the book's real estate is dedicated to those films. In terms of disappointments, I would have liked to have seen more from "Pacific Rim" - there are about 10 pages or so on that movie, but oddly there are no Jaeger or Kaiju drawings.

What's NOT included in the book: most notably, del Toro spent 2+ years working on pre-production of "The Hobbit" before leaving the project. As a fan, I would have loved to see some of his artwork from Middle-Earth. Also, del Toro has overseen various Dreamworks Animation projects, like "Rise of the Guardians" and "Kung Fu Panda 2". I'm not sure how hands-on his involvement with those films was, but its hard to imagine he didn't sketch out something for those movies.

There are a number of notable individuals who author pages discussing their friendship/collaboration with Guillermo del Toro:
James Cameron - director of "Titanic" & "Avatar"; writes the book's Foreword.
Alfonso Cuaron - acclaimed director of "Children of Men" & "Gravity", longtime friend of del Toro.
Mike Mignola - artist and writer of Hellboy
Ron Perlman - actor who has appeared in many of del Toro's movies
Tom Cruise - was set to star in del Toro's film "Mountains of Madness"; writes the book's Afterword.

We also get an extensive interview with del Toro, and photographs from his Bleak House (an entire house full of horror artifacts, models, and artwork that inspire him).

For more reviews, please see my Amazon profile or visit MovieArtBook(dot)com. Thanks for reading!
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on 28 May 2016
A truly insightful and beautifully produced window into the mind of Guillermo del Toro. The book itself is large format and high quality in both print finish, paperweight and overflowing with both imagery of concept sketches, renders, on set behind the scenes candid shots and a wealth of info and inspiration in written word that will intrigue and entertain. Whether you've seen just one of his films, a handful of them, or are an epic fan and have seen them all, this book will not disappoint.
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on 19 October 2015
This is the best book in my book shelf by far. So interesting, full of Guillermos notes, scribbles, ideas and original artwork from many of his films. Fantastic, fascinating, and a wonderful insight into his mind.
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on 22 September 2014
Beautifully illustrated book for del Toro fans and artists alike.
So glad that I purchased this and it helps with University studies too!
Couldn't find anything on del Toro at my local library, so this is an essential tool if studying art, surrealism etc.
Highly recommended...go buy it!
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on 8 July 2016
Bought this as a present for a friend into props and special effects makeup and she was thrilled with it. The book arrived still in plastic wrap and in excellent condition. It is a lovely coffee table book if you're looking for something a little bit unusual.
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on 26 April 2014
I love Guillermo del Toro: love his movies, his writing, his view of the world and his style of living.

This book is wonderfully presented and written. It's a great window into the life of GDT.

I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about GDT, but also the act (art!) of making films and the mind behind such wonderful characters and creatures like Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth.

A fantastic read!
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on 14 January 2014
Gave this as a present for Xmas and it was the right choice.
The packaging is amazing: it's a sturdy cover that reminds wood.
It's full of pictures and lots of insights.
Great!
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