Book Review “The Art and Making of Pacific Rim Uprising”

Author: Daniel Wallace
Foreword: Steven S. DeKnight
Hardcover: 156 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
April 3, 2018

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I see a specific movie is getting the “Art and Making of” treatment, I always get excited to get to see the film from another view but I get more excited when it is being released by Insight Editions. Insight always gives their releases a little extra. They have fold out posters or little index cards glued to pages to lift and reveal more info, I really enjoy this “gimmick”, if you want to call it that. This adds a whole new interactive level to the book. Personally I wasn’t a huge fan of this film but the book does do the film justice and it is a must have for fans for sure!

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” is a big movie and has a lot of great detail that is showcased in this book and allows you to go deeper into the mythology and world of that the movie continues from the 2013 Guillermo del Toro directed predecessor. If you are looking to be transported behind the scenes and right into the middle of the epic battle between Kaiju and Jaegers then pick up “The Art and Making of Pacific Rim Uprising” because it delivers that…and then on the next page gives blueprints on the robots and CGI breakdown and showcases the beautiful concept art from the film. This book was a page turner for sure or rather hard to turn to the next page because their was so much to look at in detail in each page!

Got excited (and a bit concerned) for a minute that this book was authored by Daniel Wallace, the author of “Big Fish”, which was made into a movie by Tim Burton…but same name different guy. This Daniel Wallace is definitely still the right man for this book. I am well aware of his work in books “Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual History” and “Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History”, which is another amazing book from Insight Editions. Even though, I didn’t love the movie I still really enjoyed the book. The sequel’s director, Steven S. DeKnight, gives a good foreword as well and give wrap-up and I did how he came as a fan of the series to end up directing the next film. This book is jam packed with great images and content. check it fans of “Pacific Rim”.

Explore the OASIS Like Never Before In Insight Editions’ “The Art of Ready Player One”

Explore the OASIS Like Never Before In The Art of Ready Player One
Written by Gina McIntyre
Foreword by Steven Spielberg
Introduction by Ernest Cline

On March 29, director Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated new film Ready Player One hits theaters. Based on Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel of the same name, Ready Player One is a sci-fi adventure set in an expansive virtual reality universe. While the dystopian world lies on the brink of chaos and collapse in 2045, people have found salvation in the OASIS, the virtual reality universe created by James Halliday. When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune in the form of a digital Easter egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero Wade Watts, joins the contest, he embarks on a reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical world of action, danger, and mystery.

The Art of Ready Player One (Insight Editions / April 3, 2018 / $45.00) created in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, delves into the creation of this world, showing how Spielberg realized Cline’s hugely imaginative vision, adding new twists on the original story and populating the OASIS with a vast array of pop culture references and fan-favorite characters. Featuring interviews with key contributors, including Spielberg, Cline, and production designer Adam Stockhausen, this deluxe book showcases the breathtaking designs for each element of the OASIS and the dystopian real-world future of 2045. Featuring a foreword from Spielberg and introduction from Cline, The Art of Ready Player One is an unforgettable journey into the OASIS and the creative minds that brought it to life.

About Ready Player One:
Spielberg directed Ready Player One from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on the book by Cline. The film was produced by Donald De Line, Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah, with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers. Ready Player One stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, with Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, an Amblin Production, a De Line Pictures Production, a Steven Spielberg Film, Ready Player One. Slated for release on Thursday, March 29, 2018, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures. This film has been rated PG-13. readyplayeronemovie.com

 

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Book Review “The Art of Moana”

Series: Art of
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
November 15, 2016

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me start with the fact that “Moana” is my favorite film of 2016. It is a beautiful movie with beautiful songs. The colors are just jaw-dropping and the design is a work of art. “The Art of Moana” is the latest title from Chronicle Books that dives into the stunning artwork going behind-the-scenes in “Moana” with some outstanding character designs, storyboards, colorscripts, and much more. If you loved this film then this book will only make you love it more

Official Film Premise: Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world ventured across the Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped—and no one today knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios, Moana is a CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui and together they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.

When I see that Chronicle is releasing a new Art of Book, I go wild because they really know how to put together an amazing book. I really enjoyed the exploration of what was or could have been in this book and how certain characters and aspects of the film have developed over the years. Other than just the photos, the text in the book delivers a nice story to complement them and educate you on the process as well. This movie is simply beautiful and the book is a perfect companion to the film.

 

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Book Review “The Art of Trolls”

Author: Jerry Schmitz
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Cameron + Company
Release Date: October 11, 2016

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you had seen the movie “Trolls”, it is colorful and a ton of fun! I know that the “Art of” book would have to be equally as filled with color and excitement to make me happy…and it was and more! Looking through this book each page explodes with energy and vivid color. I was cracking up as my 4 year old looked with me and was making comments on all the other designs for each character on whether she liked them or not. I was actually able to share this with her because she already knows and loves this film and its characters. Highly recommended if you enjoyed the film and looking for an inside look into the making of process

Official Premise: Based on the popular troll dolls created by Thomas Dam, Trolls is a 3-D computer-animated musical comedy from DreamWorks Animation, directed by Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After). Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is an upbeat, if slightly naïve, Troll who inherits her crown on the day her people face the first challenge that can’t be solved with a song or a hug. Accompanied by Branch (Justin Timberlake), they venture out on a quest that tests their strength. Full of playful designs, The Art of Trolls showcases hundreds of pieces of concept and production art to illustrate how DreamWorks’ team of talented artists created an enchanting reinterpretation of the Trolls phenomenon that has gripped popular culture for decades.

The author of the book is Jerry Schmitz, who is no stranger to Art of books. He has done previously “The Art and Making of the Peanuts Movie”, which coincidentally was another that I shared (and loved) with my daughter last year. He also authored “The Art of Shrek Forever After”, which is cool be because the director of “Trolls”, Mike Mitchell, also directed “Shrek Forever After”, so that is a cool connection between those titles and films. Jerry delivers a great combination of art and making of with this book and delivers a book that not only adults but also kids as well.

 

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“Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years” Lands at New York’s Paley Center

September 16- “Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years”,  which made its debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con opens up to New York fans today at the Paley Center for Media in midtown. The exhibition, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek television series, features fifty pieces from ten nations as well as tie-in fan screenings and whimsical photo ops sure to please the Trekkies of Manhattan. Noteworthy amongst the art on display is a piece of the famous Vulcan salute by none other than the late Leonard Nimoy himself.

Work by Leonard Nimoy

To my eyes, Spock looks to be favored character by the show’s artists, including a digital illustration from Stanley Chow whom I spoke with at the exhibition preview:

Where are you from?
Stanley Chow: I’m from Manchester England.

What Inspired you to choose Spock?

SC: I think like when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s and then watching reruns of Star Trek, the first person I kind of looked up to was Spock. He seemed like the more intelligent one and slightly different. I guess with me it was–when I was growing up, I was the only Chinese boy in the village, you always kind of–I felt you needed someone different to look up to and aspire to, you know? And Spock was always the one, with his cool, calm, collected demeanor. And his pointy ears.

Artist Stanley Chow with his work

Do you have a favorite Spock moment?
SC: There’s not been a favorite moment, but I’ve always liked the kind of relationship he had with Uhura. You know? It was never kind of like a fully fledged relationship. It was always kind of like an underlying thing…Which was sort of my life with lots of girls when I was growing up.

Do you enjoy Zachary Quinto’s take on the character?
SC: Oh, I think he’s amazing! When he was picked, obviously he was off of “Heroes”…And then once he puts the ears on and he does his thing [in the] movies, he’s the only actor–it’s sounds kind of cliché to say he’s the only actor who could do Spock but he’s done it so well but that’s why it’s become a cliché isn’t it?

Head of CBS consumer products, Liz Kalodner was also on hand to celebrate the opening.

Do you have a Star Trek favorite character?
Liz Kalodner: Well Captain Kirk is the classic, c’mon! Although I have to say, Captain Janeway [From Star Trek: Voyager], also pretty good.

Do you enjoy the new film franchise?
LK: Oh, absolutely. i think JJ Abrams has done a wonderful job. It’s brought in a new, younger audience, and really has given the franchise great energy.
As you’re from consumer products, I noticed you’ve got a fictional cereal here in the exhibit, is that a favorite item?

LK: Yeah! So that’s by an artist named Juan Ortiz who loved Star Trek from when he was a kid and actually had that idea when he was a child. And he always wanted to do it. And I don’t know if you saw the back but there are cutouts, trading cards, because cereal boxes always had you know, the free in-pack or on-pack, so he created that.

Since Star Trek is coming back to TV are you getting ready with your department for that?
LK: We are getting ready! We’re working with showrunner but it’s all in the development stage. But it’s a wonderful time to be in the Star Trek business.

“Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years'” brief stop in NYC concludes on September 25th. Details on the Paley Center’s screenings to coincide with the exhibit can be found here.

The Paley Center for Media is located at 25 West 52nd Street.

Book Review “The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road”

Author: Abbie Bernstein
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is easily one of the best films to date for 2015. When you watch this film it is like watching a video game live action. You can also see in the film that there is very little visual effects in this film and a lot of practical effects were used. I couldn’t wait to dive into the making of book for this film. Kicked off with an amazing foreword by creator/director George Miller. This guy is extremely passionate about “Mad Max” and this intro really gets you in the mood for this.  “The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road” is another winner from Titan Books.

Official Film Premise: Max Rockatansky returns. Haunted by his turbulent past, the wandering Road Warrior becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. Seeking escape from the tyranny of Immortan Joe, what follows is a high-octane Road War – and a chance for redemption.

“The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road” is jam packed with super high res production stills, some really cool behind-the-scenes photos and my favorite concept art. You can tell that a lot of planning and details went into making this film and it is well represented here in this book. They deliver another winner. Author, Abbie Bernstein knows here making of books having worked on “Fantastic 4: The Making of the Movie”, “The Guild: The Official Companion” and “The Cabin in the woods: Official Visual Companion”. She really sums up what any reader is looking for after soaking in this crazy film. A must read for any “Mad Max” fan!

 

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Book Review “The Art of Inside Out”

Series: The Art of
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Personally Disney•Pixar really hasn’t WOWed me recently with their sequel/prequels from “Cars 2” to “Monsters University”, it is really excited to see them going back to an original movie like “Inside Out”, especially with Academy Award-winning director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”) taking lead. This film looks to be one of the best projects to come out the doors of the studio recently. This film really looks to examines the depths of the mind and the powers of emotion and imagination. In terms of “Art of” books, this one is a one of the better to come from the Disney series.

Official Premise: Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

“The Art of Inside Out” gives the reader an exclusive inside look into the hard work that went into the making of this vibrant film. It features tons of eye-catching and very colorful concept art including sketches, collages, color scripts. There is also a great foreword by actress Amy Poehler and also an introduction by the film’s writer and director Pete Docter. Actually speaking of text, there is not much text here at all, which is a big of a minus but the tons of great photos really make up for that shortage. Now the only problem after reading this book is that I want to see this movie 100% times more now! Can’t wait!

Event Review “Festival of Trees: Tis the Season” Orlando Museum of Art

Entering its 28th year, the Council of 101’s Festival of Trees kicked off the holiday season in Central Florida with this year’s holiday event “Tis the Season.” For a few weeks, the Orlando Museum of Art become a winter wonderland filled with designer decorated trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses, which are also all for sale BTW. If you have never been to a Festival of Trees event, you are missing out. The wife and I have been going since around 1999 and this year was one of the first years that our two year old daughter was able to attend and really enjoy it. This year the event runs from November 15 – 23, 2014, 10am – 5pm daily. If you are looking for a fun holiday event, this is a nice day out.

It is isn’t all just look at trees though at this event, there are tons of other holiday shopping available in the Festival Boutique, drawings for various prizes and a fantastic Toyland Town activity area and shop for the children, which is great when you have a two year old. Mostly importantly the jolly red man himself, Santa, is there to meet the kids and take pictures for free. This is not just a department store Santa, this guy was the real deal. My daughter probably sat on his knee actually chatting with him for quite a while. Plus, there is also face painting and free holiday tattoos for kids.

Compared to the Festival Of Trees that we have attending in the past in New York, this is a definitely a little more cultural and upper class since it takes place at the Orlando Museum of Art. I will use the word “arty”. But it is a still a good event. The admission is a little high personally $10 Adult and $6 Child (ages 3-11) but it also includes admission to current Orlando Museum of Art exhibitions including Lamar Peterson: Suburbia Sublime and David Rathman: Stand By Your Accidents.

Last time I attending this event at the Orlando Museum of Art, it was a little bit different. In the main room, it was transformed in a Christmas world with a stage and band playing music through, there was also a band in the main hub hallway as well. This year, the main room had a more artistic feel to it, playing out more like the them of the art museum. Also before you leave be sure to stop by the Festival Café for some amazing food. This is not just quick service amusement park food. This is quality hand made sandwiches and salads. ‘Till next year!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo”

Author: Chris McDonnell
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Adventure Time” is a show like no other. I remember when I was a kid and “The Simpsons” used to be the show to watch. Now “Adventure Time” has taken that place with today’s kids/teens. This show is such a trip. That is really the only way to describe it. It is colorful, funky and totally out there…but I love it and I also love it’s animation. “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” is a beast of a book running over 350 pages. This page is no joke at all. If you are a fan of this show and want an inside look behind-the-scenes, this is the book you are going to want! FIST PUMP!

Official Premise: Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of Finn the Human’s and Jake the Dog’s adventures in the post-apocalyptic, magical land of Ooo. Packed to the seams with concept art and storyboards, this lavishly illustrated tome offers an all-access pass into the Emmy Award–winning show team’s creative process. The Art of Ooo traces series creator Pendleton Ward’s early influences and work, then reveals how the writers, storyboarders, animators, and voice actors work in tandem to bring this wildly inventive series to life.

When I heard that “Adenture Time” was goign to be getting a companion book from Abrams, I knew that we were going to be in for a real treat. This book includes some great early character sketches, back­ground paintings and rare glimpses into the series’ show bible. It is a real visual guide to this show along with commentary from all the show’s key creative talent throughout. If you are just getting into this show or a fan from day 1, you will not be disappointed by this book, no question.

If you are going to get an author to do a book about a weird animated series, you have to get someone that understand’s weird and strange animation. Chris McDonnell has designed books on amazing and very unique animators like Ralph Bakshi and Bill Plympton and to me that sums up the definition of what is needed here. Plus too this book off with an outstanding introduction by Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”) and you have a guaranteed hit. I hope Abrams have future books planned for this series!

 

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Book Review “The Art of Big Hero 6”

Author: Jessica Julius
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If there is one movie that I am excited to see this fall it is easily “Big Hero 6”. Walt Disney Animation Studio has been delivering some of the best product recently including “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen” and even wiping the floors with Pixar’s lackluster recent films. “Big Hero 6” looks like yet another winner for Disney. The animation in the film is so colorful and vibrant. The book is a little heavy in character designs and less in the high-tech city of San Fransokyo the film is based in. If you are looking for a great behind-the-scenes look into this film, Chronicle Books has done it again!

Official Premise: Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6 is the story of Hiro Hamada, a brilliant robotics prodigy who must foil a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. This new title in our popular The Art of series, published to coincide with the movie’s U.S. release, features concept art from the film’s creation—including sketches, storyboards, maquette sculpts, colorscripts, and much more—illuminated by quotes and interviews with the film’s creators. Fans will love the behind-the-scenes insights into Disney’s newest action comedy adventure.

The author of the book Jessica Julius is also a creative executive at Walt Disney Animation Studios. She has worked on such films as “Frozen”, “Tangled”, “Wreck-It Ralph”, “The Princess and the Frog”, and “Bolt” aka all of my favorites in the last decade. So if you looking for a good inside look, she is definitely a trusted source for the topic at hand.  John Lasseter gives a great preface to the book. Co-directors of “Big Hero 6”, Chris Williams and Don Hall serve up a fantastic foreword as well. I really enjoyed reading this book and I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy it even more getting to revisit once I have seen the film.

 

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Book Reviews “Star Wars Art: Illustration & Posters” and “Star Wars Visions”

With “Star Wars Episode VII” in the making and the new animated series “Star Wars Rebels” having just premiered everyone in hyper drive for more “Star Wars”. Personally, I am eat, sleep and drink “Star Wars” and I wouldn’t be happier. Thanks to the amazing people at Abrams, they have been releasing amazing “Star Wars” books for their fans for years. I have a two year old daughter and she already knows all of the characters by name because we would spend time looking through the books and identifying all the characters.

I wanted to go through a few of them and showcase what is out there for fans. The first book, I received was “Star Wars Art: Illustration”, which was originally released in October of 2012. This was the third book in the “Star Wars Art” series. “Illustration” is a collection of the best of artwork from various books, trading cards, magazines, video games, and merchandise. The art in this film is everywhere you turn even still today.

This artwork was also curated by the man himself, George Lucas. It also includes previously unpublished, rarely seen, and fan-favorite art from Mark Chiarello, Dave Dorman, Hugh Fleming, Tim and Greg Hildebrandt, Ralph McQuarrie, Jon J. Muth, Tsuneo Sanda, Drew Struzan, Jerry Vanderstelt, Christian Waggoner, and many others. If you are a fan looking to see “Star Wars” from a wide variety of different styles from many illustrators than this book is definitely for you. Abrams really showcases this art so well and in such an amazing book.

The next one is also the latest “Star Wars Art: Posters”, in fact at the time of this writing it is technically not even released yet as it streets on October 14, 2014. The fifth book in the series is a another great book from Abrams, which simply focuses on that wonderful artwork from the posters in the world of “Star Wars”. Ranging from Tom Jung’s iconic one-sheet for Episode IV to Roger Kastel’s Gone with the Wind–inspired painting for Episode V and beyond, “Star Wars” has delivered some of the best posters in movie history over the last four decades.

This book also not able includes showcases the best artwork from all six Star Wars films’ posters but also the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated television series, and limited-edition prints. Again, George Lucas–curated “Star Wars Art” series, impresses. What I really can’t wait to see is what Disney and LucasFilm are planning for the new Episode VII poster. There have already been tons of outstanding fan posters.

The last book, I am covering today is “Star Wars Visions”, which was originally released November 2010. This book calls out to the fans of “Star Wars” to deliver their inspired art work from the series. It includes over 100 well-known and promising artists artwork devoted to the entire Star Wars galaxy. “Star Wars: Visions” features pieces by renowned artists such as Amano, Allan R. Banks, Harley Brown, Gary Carter, James Christensen, Michael Coleman, Kinuko Craft, Jim Dietz, Phillipe Druillet, Donato Giancola, Ann Hanson, H. R. Giger, Daniel Greene, Ron Kleeman, Arantzazu Martinez, Syd Mead, Moebius, Paul Oxborough, Alex Ross, Anthony J. Ryder, Dolfi Stoki, William Stout, Dan Thompson, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo, Scott Waddell, and Jamie Wyeth

This book is a real tribute to “Star Wars” and really features some amazing alternate artwork. Some of the art included is Kermit the Frog fishing with Yoda or even the manga Leia, which is a quite different look for the character. Other books in this series include “Star Wars Art: Comics”, which I will try and features later this month along with the upcoming “Star Wars Costumes”, which is being released by Chronicle Books later this month.

 

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Book Review “The Art of Princess Mononoke”

Series: The Art of Princess Mononoke
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Release Date: August 26, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Princess Mononoke” was the first Studio Ghibli film that I saw in theaters and one of my favorites. This film is so epic and just visually outstanding.  Even though, I am a huge fan of this film, I have never checked out “The Art of” this film. Luckily, Viz Media is re-issuing this in their line of Studio Ghibli artbooks. The book includes fantastic interviews, concept sketches, and finished animation cels from this animated classic.

I grew up watching films like “Castle in the Sky” and “My Neighbor Totoro” but “Princess Mononoke” was the first Studio Ghibli film from Hayao Miyazaki to break out with American audiences. This film really exploded by interest in animated kids outside of Disney films. There are literally hundreds of images from preliminary sketches to dynamic animation cels. If you love “Princess Mononoke”, Then I cannot recommend this book any more. Plus kudos to Viz for delivering this gorgeous full color art cover, which is simply gorgeous!

 

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Book Review “The Art of Planes”

Author: Tracey Miller-Zarneke
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: July 1, 2014

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Disney’s “Planes” is an interesting topic, since it was never really made originally be a big theatrical series. It was originally set for direct to video release to cash in on the success of “Cars”. Of course, it got some traction and took off into theaters and did fairly well. I do not think anyone was really dying to see a sequel thought, especially barely a year later. Personally, I haven’t even seen “Fire and Rescue” yet. Nonetheless, these are still very pretty films and I am sure a lot of work went into making them, so if you enjoy the films though, the book is a decent companion.

Official Film Premise: In Disney’s Planes and Planes: Fire and Rescue, the big-hearted crop duster Dusty Crophopper is full of dreams. In the first film, he overcomes his fear of heights to win the Wings Around The Globe Rally. In the second, Dusty learns his damaged engine will keep him from racing, but he finds the true hero within himself working alongside firefighting aircraft on a courageous wildfire air attack team.

Even though this film is not made by Pixar, it still has that certain look but doesn’t have the same heart. The book “The Art of Planes” looks into some of the concept art from the development of these two films. There is some focus on colorscripts, storyboards, character studies, sculpts, background art, and more. I would have liked to see a little more focus on the characters and a little less on the environments. There is also insider insights from the films’ artists and filmmakers. There is a nice preface included from the film’s directors Bobs Gannaway and Klay Hall. Of course, there is a foreword from the man himself, Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, who gives insight into the creation of these films.

 

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Book Review “The Art of the Films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes”

Author: Matt Hurwitz
Hardcover: 173 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: July 8, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was released in 2011, I was very upset when it didn’t have an art of companion book. All the work, all the visual effects that went into that film to make it amazing as it was needed to be shared with the world. Well with the release of “Dawn of Planet of the Apes”, we are now getting an art of book for both of them. The book is a literally amazing from the hard cover to the last page including tons of great production photography and concept art for both films. I absolutely love both of these films and if you do as well, this is a must own.

So it is kind of obvious what the focus of this book would be and that is the creation of the apes. I recently went back and re-watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” after seeing Dawn of Planet of the Apes” and if you look at the apes in the first film compared to the second, there has been such an improvement. I thought they looked amazing in “Rise” but “Dawn” really delivered 10x the visual effects. So this book includes some fantastic concept art, production stills, VFX renders and finished frames from these movies showcasing those aspects. You also have to remember that these apes aren’t just CGI effects they included state of the art technology mixed with motion capture performances from some very talented actors.

Aside from the apes creation, there are also tons of great locations that was focused on. From “Rise”, there is the lab, Will’s home, primate shelter and, of course, the Bridge. In “Dawn”, there was a bit more since it takes place 10 years after “Rise” and shows pretty much the wipe out of the human race a very degraded world. I really enjoyed this section quite a bit for sure. Between the apes lair and the human’s hold up in a run down San Francisco, it just shows how much work went into this film. Kudos again to Titan Books for releasing yet another gem and my wife is cursing you for us needing a gigantic coffee table since each book is better than the next.

Book Review ”The Art and Making of Hercules”

Author: Linda Sunshine
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is at the top of his game right now. He has taken over franchises like “Fast & Furious”, “G.I. Joe” and even “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and is still on fire. “Hercules” though doesn’t really look like a great next choice for him. Especially after this January’s very weak “Hercules” entry, people do not really seem to be craving for much more of the legendary hero. If you are unlike me and are looking forward to this film, there are more than 200 photos and drawings in this illustrated companion to this live-action adventure tentpole film

Film Premise: Fate has not been kind to Hercules. The legendary hero-warrior has endured the twelve harsh labors and the loss of his family, and he is now a world-weary mercenary with a loyal band of fighters, all seeking redemption for past misdeeds. In this new adventure, he agrees to help the King of Thrace build an army to fight a tyrannical warlord, then finds himself tested once more when he discovers unexpected treachery and betrayal. But for good to triumph and justice to prevail, Hercules must face the sins of his past—and embrace the hero he once was.

The film itself is quite a large scale film, it was all shot on location in Budapest with actual locations, sets, kingdoms, battles, weapons, warriors etc from the world centuries ago. So this book does go into some of the details of those challenges dealing with the sets, costumes, battle sequences. There storyboards, concept art, commentaries from the cast and crew, and even a few extracts from graphic novel and comic book script. In case you didn’t know this is being based on a graphic novel (I didn’t). So there is definitely some good info here, I just read a lot of art of/making of books and this is definitely not my favorite.