The Art of Monsters vs. Aliens (Anglais) Relié – 3 mars 2009
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Linda Sunshine is the author of more than sixty books, including novels, humor books, and other Newmarket Pictorial Moviebooks on the films How to Train Your Dragon 2, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Mummy: Tomb of the Emperor Soldier, Angels & Demons, and Saving Private Ryan. She lives in Los Angeles.--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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The book is split into 5 parts, Character Design, Locations, Special F/X, The Making of Monsters vs Aliens and Out of the Picture.
The book starts off with an foreword by Stephan Colbert who voices President Hathaway. Just like many animation films, he coincidentally looks like the character he voices.
Every animation film has a specific technical or visual problem to solve. In this case, it was the tricky portrayal of size and scale. This is all in the introduction where the staff talks about this and other technical and story challenges to making the movie.
Under Character Design, we have concept sketches and digital paintings. Each character comes with writeup on how they come into being, from idea to how many times it has evolved as required by story. The characters featured are Susan aka Ginormica, Dr. Cockroach, The Missing Link, B.O.B, Insectosaurus, Gallaxahar and clones, Robots, President Hathaway, General W.R. Monger and other humans.
On Locations and Set. The art featured here shows how the set is caricatured to fit into the comedy. Everything is captioned to explain the rational. There are lots of interesting stuff to read and see. For example, there's one cross-section blueprint on the Area Fifty-Something, and just right outside the facility, there are people tunneling to China. And the humpback commercial airplane looks hilarious.
Part four addresses the more technical aspect of making the movie, like rigging, lighting and texturing. There are 12 pages in all, and I'll probably be getting the DVD when it eventually comes out for additional behind-the-scenes production process.
Finally, the book ends with a few unused concepts.
The beautiful illustrations are printed in low gloss thick paper, well bind in hardcover (with a dust jacket).
Linda Sunshine has done well by providing lots of context into the art and story, making this a very enjoyable book to read.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
The Art of Monsters vs Aliens is divided into several sections: character design, locations, special F/X, The Making of Monsters vs Aliens, and then some concept art that never got used for the movie. I'm more of a character person when it comes to drawing, but every page in this book has artwork that I'd stare at and examine for minutes at a time, no matter how 'boring' it might be (like a simple space ship control room). Usually I'll spend the least amount of time with the location portions of an art book, but that section got just as much attention from me as the characters portion did. A lot of things are covered here and accompanied by very useful text that never gets boring. How they stylized the Golden Gate Bridge while trying to keep it more realistic, the mapping out of Area Fifty-Something: showing every part of the base and then some, the monster prison...I could go on about this for a while. It's that good. A couple of storyboards are featured as well.
The characters section alone is worth the price. There are some absolutely beautiful paintings of Susan done in digital paint, and the only negative thing I can say is that it's such a tease having these pictures here without any prints or posters available like Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon got. Dr. Cockroach's design stayed pretty much the same from the initial sketch to the final product, but Susan's changed a bit over time. The Missing Link had a good story too, as the first few drawings were labeled as being a little too gruesome and scary, but still fun. They mention a lot about how BOB's design seems so easy to do when you look at it, but they had a lot of difficulty animating him and having limits on what he could and couldn't do. Insectosaurus had her own problems, mostly when it came to scale and looking too small in some scenes, but they were obviously able to work it out. There are also pages for the President, a couple of military officials, extra characters, Gallaxhar and more.
All the text that's here is interesting, and it shows that DreamWorks' animators and writers put a lot of thought into making the movie. The fact that they only wanted shots done that they could replicate in real life, instead of zany camera movements, is something I admire.
I'm really surprised that this book isn't going for a lot more money like some others do once they go out of print. Maybe it's just overlooked, or maybe people don't care enough about the movie to give it a shot. Either way, fans of animation in general will get a lot out of this one. I can't stress enough how much I'd love some huge prints of the art here. The portrait of Susan, the Missing Link trying to be a charmer, Insectosaurus vs the alien robot at the bridge, etc. Get this book while it's still cheap, though it's definitely worth the original price and more. If anything, this is the book that really got me into 'Art of' books, and is my standard.
We start with a look at the character designs from pencil sketches to mock theater posters to digital paintings. You'll see firsthand how the various characters were developed into what we finally saw onscreen. What I love is the retro look to the designs. It's a throwback to cartooning of the 50s and 60s with a nod to influences like Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Rat-Fink character, and 1950s Sci-fi films. Part two looks at the creation of the film's locations like "Area Fifty-Something" and the alien mothership. Again, we get loads of concept art, sketches, thumbnail frames.
Part three look's at the film's special F/X, and part four looks at the animation development. But part five might be my favorite as it looks at some of the ideas and concepts that DIDN'T make the final cut of the film. These include an alternate opening to the film featuring an alien invasion, as well as various other robot, alien, and monster designs. Very cool. The book is 192 pages and absolutely loaded with full color art. The perfect complement to the film!
What I will say is that I wish the movie had used the earlier designs for several of the characters shown in this book. Susan, for example, is supposed to be based on a typical 1950's style movie vixen, but her character in the movie had more of a weird squishy gumdrop face. They said they wanted to modernize her a bit more, but I think they did so at the expense of the overall design by going with cute rather than sexy. What they ended up with was an adult female with a pudgy 12 year old's face.
Insectosaurus was another one where they went with cute instead of vampy after her transformation. Some people will say, "Yeah, but this is supposed to be a children's movie...", but anybody who has seen Monsters vs Aliens knows that it is really a kid friendly adult movie.
Perhaps they can tweak a few things if there is ever a sequel.
If you are an animator or you just love animated movies and the work that goes into them, you should seriously consider adding this book to your collection!