Book Review: Star Trek: The Art of the Film November 15, 2009by John Tenuto , Filed under: Art,Books,Review,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback
Fans have been waiting for non fiction ‘making of’ books about 2009’s Star Trek. In fact, it has been almost ten years since a Star Trek film had a dedicated behind the scenes tome, yet the good news is on November 17th, the same day as the release of the 2009 Star Trek DVDs, Titan Publishers are making available "Star Trek: The Art of the Film" by Mark Cotta Vaz. TrekMovie has this early review of new coffee-table book.
Review: Star Trek: The Art of the Film
This is a beautifully presented book that very much deserves a space on the coffee tables of fans of the 2009 film. There have only been a few lavishly presented Star Trek books, and this definitely qualifies. It more than lives up to its name as an "art" book. The images are often inspiring and there is a joy in seeing how the imagination of the artists such as Ryan Church and Scott Chambliss were translated to the feature film as shown in theaters. There is a brief essay tracking the making of the book at the start and a foreword from JJ Abrams. Both reveal interesting trivia, such as how Abrams was very nervous that most of the main characters, including Captain Robau and all the Romulans, were bald in the opening scene, a detail missed by the director until he was on the set. This making of text is offset by really nice imagery of the characters on the side. For the rest of the book, the text by Cotta Vaz is efficiently utilized, and there isn’t too much text to distract from the art on the page, yet there are plenty of details and information about the film. We learn interesting facts such as that the outside of the Narada went through very few edits, yet the USS Enterprise had many different proposed designs.
The book appropriately defines art in a wide sense, from design to makeup. Some of the more intriguing art is the unused makeup designs for the Romulans, showing how much care and creativity the artists had about the film. Also worthy of careful study are the various USS Enterprise bridge designs that demonstrated the need to honor the original and yet create a new aesthetic. If there is a complaint about the book is that it could have been even longer (it is less than 200 pages, although that is a comparable size to other "art of" texts) and it could have included more "could have been." art. There are a few intriguing bits of roads not traveled, like potential Enterprise engineering sets and a alien planet ‘bazar’ (both of which proved to be too costly). And there is a great picture of Sarek on what could certainly be confused for a Star Wars speeder bike from a scene that was edited from the film. But, more of this would have been welcomed and a Volume 2
Art of the Film would be a real bonus.
Make-up designs from the "Art of the Film" book
In the era of behind-the-scene DVD featurettes replacing text-based ‘making of’ books, it is applaudable that Star Trek has been given this treatment. Hopefully, this book will be as successful as it deserves to be and more non fiction texts could follow (an annotated screenplay book for example). While bonus features on DVDs are great, there is no substitute for engaging a book’s text and photos in a way not possible no matter how big the television. Star Trek: The Art of the Film is bold and refreshing, and a welcomed addition to the line of Star Trek non fiction books.
"Star Trek: The Art of the Movie" is released Tuesday, November 17th. You can preorder "Star Trek: The Art of the Film" at Amazon.com now.
Star Trek: Art of the Film Previews
Titan has provided TrekMovie and some other websites with a number of preview images. Click the images below to be taken to the various articles across the web.
Images from Star Trek: The Art of the Film. Out November 17th from Titan Books
Images Copyright ‘STAR TREK: THE ART OF THE FILM. © 2009 Paramount Pictures Corporation. ® and © 2009 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved. Titan authorized user. All Rights Reserved.’