Mike's Bookshelf

Currently showing posts tagged Kathleen Kennedy

  • The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak Book Review

    The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Following the purchase of Lucasfilm by the Walt Disney Company in the fall of 2012, the power of the Force was reignited by fans worldwide at the prospect of new adventures carrying on George Lucas’ sci-fi legacy.  With famed producer Kathleen Kennedy (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park) steering Star Wars’ future, Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek) was selected to bring viewers back to a galaxy from far, far away.  Aided by the industries most creatively talented artists, Phil Szostak’s The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens pulls back the curtain on the challenging three year journey of development that took place to realize the many new worlds, characters, costumes and set pieces designed for the long anticipated Episode VII.

    Accompanied by a foreword from the film’s Co-Production Designer Rick Carter (Forrest Gump, Avatar), The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens unsurprisingly focuses on the design aspects of the film beginning with stunning inspirational art establishing early looks for the new characters and imaginative possibilities for new planets.  As the book progresses with production nearing, more refined design work is showcased on the evolving costume choices for the stormtroopers and our heroes while, several unique considerations for the appearance of Jedi killer Kylo Ren is displayed.  While Szostak’s behind-the-scenes hardback is relatively slim on text, interesting insight is revealed as Rey and Finn, the young heroes of the film, were originally named Kira and Sam.  In addition, artwork by Concept Artist Iain McCaig (the Star Wars prequels, Guardians of the Galaxy) suggests that the ghost of Anakin Skywalker was at one time considered for inclusion in the film.  As anticipated as the latest film is and with several episodic sequels and spinoffs currently being prepped, The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens may not be the definitive making-of account for the franchises rebirth but, still provides readers and fellow artists with an incredible look into the awe-inspiring artistry that has made the film an immediate success with viewers.

    Available now from Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens can be purchased via AbramsBooks.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk Book Review

    Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Serving as production publicist on its sequels, Michael Klastorin, along with noted Back to the Future expert Randal Atamaniuk, launch readers on an explosive journey into the past chronicling the history and enduring legacy of the Back to the Future franchise.  Dating back to Director Robert Zemeckis and Co-Writer Bob Gale’s days at USC to their earliest developments of the time-traveling tale, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is an unprecedented retelling of the trilogies making, told from the creative talent who were there.  Featuring countless never-before-seen stills as well as concept art, storyboards and additional removable treats, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History gives fans a comprehensive look into the series like never before.  

    Granted full access to decades old material, Klastorin and Atamaniuk’s passionate love letter to one of the greatest film franchises of all time is an expertly detailed and consistently intriguing chronicle.  From an acorn of an idea through its countless drafts, Back to the Future was unbelievably rejected by every studio before Steven Spielberg’s belief in the concept and Director Robert Zemeckis’ box-office success with Romancing the Stone changed the winds of destiny.  Established at Universal Studios, Klastorin and Atamaniuk guides readers through the weekly production schedules that involved shooting on the Universal backlot, crafting visionary special effects and filming with another actor in the lead role of Marty McFly for several weeks before making way for the original choice of Michael J. Fox.  Complimented by phenomenal production stills and remarkable conceptual drawings, interviews with Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Steven Spielberg and many others paint a clearly defined picture of the difficult but incredibly rewarding experience.  Furthermore, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History details the lengthy production schedules of shooting both sequels back to back as the makers juggled bringing the story into the then long-distant future of 2015 before sending Doc and Marty in time to the Wild West.  In addition, the fascinating but rarely told history of Back to the Future: The Ride at Universal Studios’ theme parks and the short-lived Saturday morning cartoon are also recounted in this definitive document of all things Back to the Future.

    Celebrating the original film’s 30th anniversary, Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk’s Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is the perfect literary companion to the beloved time-traveling trilogy that altered cinema.  Definitive and excellently researched, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History provides readers with overwhelming insight and extensive imagery into the franchise that demands a spot on all fans’ bookshelves.

    Available October 20th from Harper Design, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History can be purchased via Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers.