02/03/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Chronicle Books. 233 page large illustrated hardback. Price: originally $50. 00 (US) but I got it for £ 12.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ISBN: 978-0-8118-5777-2.
check out website: www.chroniclebooks.com
From time to time, I like getting books about how films were made. With my review reading schedule, fitting them in when I get them myself can be problematic. Case in point is 'The Spider-Man Chronicles' which I got last year but what a delight when I got into reading it. Grant Curtis isn't some writer brought in to observe the production but is actually one of the producers of 'Spider-Man 3', so you're really seeing in from an insider's point of view.
If you ever wondered what a producer does on a film then this book definitely illustrates these are the people who get things organised for the director, whether its sorting out locations to getting the right extras for the background at short notice. Reading this book, the producer is the fixer who sorts the problems to make it easier for the director to do his job.
From the massive diary at the end of the book, I never thought it was so much organised chaos, especially with so much done brought in at the last moment and with various decisions to be made. The added bonus is where Curtis uses film terms, he also explains why they mean as well as why certain decisions are made, including the need to show Spider-Man without his mask on.
Combined with this are production stills from behind the scenes and blue screens, comparing of design to finished product that illustrate what is being referred to. If you're buying this book for cast stills, then this book would probably be not for you. Yes, you do see the cast but not in final production. This book looks below the surface at the preparation for creating film super-beings in the shape (literally) of Sandman and Venom with Spidey and the new Goblin.
Oddly, Curtis' book finishes with the live action filming so you aren't watching the process of seeing all the effects work, which is covered to some extent at the front of the book cos it had to be started early, being combined with the live action. Whether this was because this was less of Curtis' concern, book size and cost or release date would be hard to say.
I found this book insightful and came away knowing a lot more about the decisions made that I feel the need to watch the film again with a greater understanding than I did the first few times. If you can afford it, then it's worth adding to your collection.
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