On Tuesday, September 1st Titan Books releases a new coffee table book all about the art of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. TrekMovie spoke with the authors and has exclusive imagery from the book for a preview.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Inside the Art and Visual Effects
Starfleet spent eighteen months redesigning and refitting the Enterprise before launching the legendary ship on a mission to intercept a giant cloud. But a new book detailing the art and visual effects work of that adventure took considerably longer to come to fruition.
“I pitched it to Titan Books at least three or four years ago,” co-author Jeff Bond told TrekMovie. “It actually goes back further than that,” added co-author Gene Kozicki, who cites the 2014 book Return to Tomorrow, Preston Neal Jones’ oral history of Star Trek—The Motion Picture, as his starting point.
Kozicki, a 30+ year screen industry veteran who’s worked on visual effects for dozens of films, appreciated the many interviews included in Return to Tomorrow. But he also immediately noticed a few key omissions, specifically the lack of any input from Robert Abel & Associates, the special effects firm that was famously dismissed during the movie’s production. And maybe even more than that, his other complaint about the book was summed up in a single question: “Where are the pictures?”
Using his own personal collection as a starting point, Kozicki teamed with his friend Jeff Bond to pitch a new book idea to Titan, for whom Bond had already written several books, including Planet of the Apes: The Evolution of the Legend, The World of the Orville, and The Art of Star Trek: The Kelvin Timeline.
“I’d already done some Star Trek-related work for them,” Bond said. “In the context of discussing what a next project would be, this was a pretty obvious one, because the anniversary of the movie was coming up. And by that time, I had gotten to know Gene and knew that he was going to bring his vast expertise to this book. He’s a visual effects producer and has worked for a long time with the Visual Effects Society and is a genius at preserving and excavating all that history. And he has contacts with everybody.”
Using contacts they’d both made over the years, Bond and Kozicki conducted dozens of new interviews with such legendary figures as Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Richard Yuricich, Andy Probert, and Syd Mead. They also spoke to some overlooked contributors, people like Richard Taylor, one of the effects artists who worked with Robert Abel & Associates.
“I felt that it was time to talk about that,” Kozicki said. “Talk about the positive contributions that Abel and his organization did.” Along with finding new insights into the production through original interviews, the authors tapped numerous sources for artwork, including scouring both the CBS and Paramount archives.
“The Star Trek division, John Van Citters, was extremely cooperative,” said Bond. “They allowed us unfettered access.” Paramount even provided the authors with a thumb drive containing thousands of high-resolution production photos. “There were 27,192 photos on this drive,” Kozicki said. “It’s like they have given us access to pretty much every photo they have in their archives.”
With this embarrassment of riches, the authors felt like part of their chore was trying to find photos that fans haven’t seen before, which was quite a challenge considering the material is over 40 years old. In the end, they were able to publish over 400 photos in a big, 192 page, coffee-table art book. “It deserves to be bigger,” said Bond, “because it’s the first Star Trek film and it’s the most visually expansive of all those movies. It’s groundbreaking in its way, and it really deserves to have a big book like this.”
All the artwork above and much much more is available in Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Inside the Art and Visual Effects by Jeff Bond and Gene Kozicki, published by Titan Books. The 176-page hardcover coffee table book will be released on September 1, 2020. It retails for $50.00 but you can pre-order it at Amazon for $39.99.
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