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Book Review: Star Trek: The Art of the Film November 15, 2009

by 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.


Cover for Star Trek art book

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. 


TrekMovie.com


io9.


MTV


Wired


AICN


SciFIWire


IGN

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.’

Comments

1. Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar - November 15, 2009

Sigh

If only there was never the comment to “slim down bulk” on the bottom of the engineering hull could have been a damn near perfect design. Even though it’s now 750 meters long and they don’t need the extra space, astheticly the original engineering hulls look sooooooooooooooo much better

2. Gustavo - November 15, 2009

I can’t wait for this book here in Brazil!!!

But it is highly unlikely this book will come out here, sou I will have to order from amazon anyway

A book with the screenplay of the movie with some side note comments and a few photos from the scene being described on the page would be a fine purchase too!!

3. taino40 - November 15, 2009

It’s great to know that star trek is back full force. This book is a must have for me as well as the DVD. Keep the collectables coming.

4. NCC-73515 - November 15, 2009

The slug really looks a bit like the Conspiracy parasites! They also had the two long posterior appendages…

5. Hat Rick - November 15, 2009

Keep on Trekkin’! :-) Yet another eagerly sought product on which to spend my dineros.

6. CarlG - November 15, 2009

Want. Want, want, WANT. :D

And I love those aliens. I really hope lots of ‘em show up in the next movie!

I think it would be really cool if Humanity in Trek was portrayed as a minority (cause in reality, we would be, in a Federation-style group), but that it didn’t matter (that’s the important part).

Long story short: show us a cosmopolitan galaxy. Give us aliens. Lots of aliens. The weirder-looking, the better.

7. CarlG - November 15, 2009

Oh, yeah, and that Enterprise poster at the AICN link is insanely awesome and is guaranteed to make the TOS-philes squee like giddy schoolgirls. :)

8. Shadowcat - November 15, 2009

I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon UK,, but it hasn’t shipped yet. I can’t wait to get it. I love “making of film” books. I still have a copy of the “Making of Star Trek”, and the “Star Fleet Technical Manual”.

9. MikeTen - November 15, 2009

#1, did they finally decide on the size of the alternate universe Enterprise? I’ve been hearing numbers all over the place.

10. ole - November 15, 2009

Just received an advance copy. It is really good, especially the clarification regarding the size of the new E

11. Hat Rick - November 15, 2009

9, I’m thinking that by default it’s the figure that’s around 2,500 ft., which is insanely large, and yet there it is. And I love it.

I’ve been looking at the Trek Wiki, etc., and they all cite the same sources we’ve seen here and in the Cinefex magazine, and the same statements that Mr. Chambliss had to make the starship larger that originally it was.

Hey — it may be nuts, but it just might be nutty enough to work. ;-)

12. SupremeDalekOnTheBridge - November 15, 2009

I got mine on Friday….

MWAHAHAHAHA!

13. PJ - November 15, 2009

a day at the range, then PT, then inspection and I’ll finally get my hands on this and the blue ray set. i just cant wait.

14. Porpoise - November 15, 2009

@ #1

I could not agree more. A lot of people had issues but this was the only big one for me. Hopefully they’ll do a minor redesign for the next one.

Great movie though!!!

15. Trekenstein - November 15, 2009

#14, well it would be nice if they would actually build that engineering set for the next one, which was designed for the film, but I guess they could not afford in the end.

16. John Gill - November 15, 2009

That sketch of The Enterprise with the notes looks better than the finished product!

17. CaptainDonovin - November 15, 2009

Can’t wait to get my paws on it. Being bald myself I was glad to see a lot of bald characters.

18. The Lensman - November 15, 2009

I don’t think the secondary hull bothered me so much as the warp engines being so close together \ to far inward. Look at the top view, it just bothers me for some reason. If they tweak anything for the next movie, I hope they push them back out.

19. Matt Wright - November 15, 2009

Looking forward to this book :)

20. Anthony Thompson - November 15, 2009

I’m getting mine on Trekkie Tuesday!!!

21. MC1 Doug - November 15, 2009

I’m still curious as to why so much space is devoted to alien faces that did not make it in the film… and perhaps were not even utilized at all.

I’m looking forward to seeing the book!

22. james rye - November 16, 2009

I liked the new ship.

23. Rick Sternbach - November 16, 2009

Looks like Anthony’s going to have to boot an abusive poster…

24. FrequencySpike - November 16, 2009

What’s the deal with 23-29?

25. Eli - November 16, 2009

oh! only 20 bucks for the book? good price! I’ll definitely pick this up after next payday from the local book seller.

26. Zebonka - November 16, 2009

“Slim down bulk” ??

Oh dear .. if only.

27. Trek Fan Forever - November 16, 2009

It’s going to be a Trektastic Tuesday!!!

28. Colonel West - November 16, 2009

@30 & 31

gotta love those web crawler bots!

Anyway, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, no sign of it over here yet but they said it should be in this week at some stage. Nice to see TPTB noticed that a few of us were asking for one of these even long before the film came out and did one!

29. Randy H. - November 16, 2009

Reports are that there is a (non-canon of course, since it is not part of the film) extra feature on the Blu-ray disc that confirms the length of the new ship to be 2379.75 feet. As pointed out, elsewhere, though: “Embarrassingly, on the comparison diagram with the TOS Enterprise that is supposed to make the huge size retroactively more plausible the scale is totally off. The new Enterprise would be just 490m long if we chose to trust the depiction, rather than the figures.”

Which just goes to show that the people working the technical aspects of the film didn’t work very carefully. I’ll trust my eyes and the film, thank you very much, which puts the ship at around 1100ish feet.

30. Erich - November 18, 2009

Saw the book in person and after skimming through it, all I have to say is “Dear Santa….”

31. mntrekfan - November 19, 2009

i picked the book up today. Very nice! I’ve only looked at the pics not not read any of the text yet. A must have for anyone wno loved the movie!

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