01/05/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Titan Books. 254 page horizontal illustrated hardback. Price: £29.99 (UK), $40.00 (US), $45.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84856-068-0.
check out website: www.titanbooks.com
There is something rather surreal seeing the transition between Dave Gibbons' 'Watchmen' artwork to being depicted by other graphic artists as paintings rather than comicbook panels and then seeing the set photographs and bringing it into a physical world. Well, apart from the bits that were added by CGI. Please remember, at the time of writing this review, I've yet to see the 'Watchmen' film but half-way through this book it suddenly dawned on me about the change in Ozymandias' plan in the film version.
It'll be interesting hearing what director Zack Synder has to say about that in his audio commentary, if he does one with the DVD, cos it had to be pre-planned before 'Hellboy II' took a similar direction with its monster effect. I'm betting its because it would have been expensive paying for the rights to 'The Outer Limits' plot as well.
Ignore that for the moment. This is a great book. With little text for the most part, I can see people flicking through the pages in bookshops, liking what they see and rushing to take it home to devour at their leisure. Quite right, too. Mind you, if the only way you're going to get any idea what the book is like off the Net, then I'm your surrogate reader. It's worth owning.
This book is more than artwork from the film because it is a guide to the costumes, vehicles and props as well in superb detail. There's enough gen here to scratch-build your own Owlship, set up your own Comedian arsenal - where laws permit it although I did notice he didn't carry any grenades, have a look around Karnak or see the crystal creation on Mars, see Bubastis or even to look at the newspapers and magazines. Just when you think you've only seen a small amount of detail it gets a fantastic enlargement further in.
Something I did find interesting was seeing a picture of Rorschach's mask was actually considered in latex although quite why this choice was left in the 'War Room' isn't disclosed unless it was something to do with actor Jackie Earle Haley having to breath through it or the complications of kids imitating and suffocating. Then again, you'd have to be a little bit crazy to want to imitate Rorschach in the first place. He wouldn't approve and I can see the elevator shaft being rapidly filled.
No pages are left empty. Don't forget to check inside the dustcover. I can see people watching the film, in any of its formats, and then using this book as a guide for the close-ups. If nothing else, it'll save you having burn-out with your TV screens. It's a book that you'll refer to time and again, marvelling at the attention to detail.
As you might have noticed from other reviews I've done that I do like books about how films are made. I often make a point that the art production books don't always show the finished product. This one does and really needs to be used as the template for the books to come. Add to your shopping list.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA