Mike's Bookshelf

Currently showing posts tagged Special Effects

  • The Art of Ready Player One by Gina McIntyre Book Review

    The Art of Ready Player One by Gina McIntyre

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    In arguably Director Steven Spielberg’s most visually dazzling and technologically challenging film to date, Ready Player One invites viewers to a cautionary tale where reality and the limitless possibilities of its virtual counterpart blur beyond belief.  Embracing a pop culture obsessed way  of life, Ernest Cline’s fanboy-loving novel of which the film is based on could only be realized on the big-screen by one of its crowning inspirers.  Without the requirement of VR goggles, Gina McIntyre’s The Art of Ready Player One sends readers on an in-depth journey through the film’s distinctly unique realization with insight from the many makers and creative heads who helped bring this once-thought unfilmable premise into our world.  Set in Columbus, Ohio of 2045, Spielberg’s 3D feature follows Wade Watts’ (Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Apocalypse) struggles, along with his trusted core friends of competitors, to win the late James Halliday’s contest, granting the victor control of the virtual realm known as the Oasis and the latter’s lucrative company.  While Wade expresses himself differently in the Oasis as the avatar known as Parzival, his real-world life is anything less than stellar.  Residing in the poverty-stricken Stacks, McIntyre’s book showcases the production’s challenges in realizing the RV stacked mobile homes and their eventual explosive destruction.  

    Furthermore, the behind-the-scenes account showcases the film’s juxtaposition between its traditional set-built locations and the digital realm of the Oasis where the actors spent months on end performing on motion-capture stages in order for the digital wizards at Industrial Light and Magic to bring their avatars to life.  Showcasing gorgeous pieces of concept art for the wide army of creatures seen in the film, otherworldly locations such as Planet Doom, the variety of familiar vehicles utilized and the futuristic costume designs donning our characters, The Art of Ready Player One is eye-candy galore.  Taking a particularly hefty and appreciated look into the characters’ exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and the film’s equally intense and action-packed racing sequence, McIntyre’s leap into Spielberg’s latest blockbuster easily stands as one of the best art-of books of the year for a film that will leave viewers scratching their heads and pondering “how did they do that?”.

    Available April 17th from Insight Editions, The Art of Ready Player One can be purchased via Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers. 

  • Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness by Mark Salisbury Book Review

    Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness by Mark Salisbury

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Best known for his texts focusing on Director Tim Burton and the makings of his films, Author Mark Salisbury’s latest effort chronicles the creation of Director Guillermo del Toro’s hauntingly gorgeous descent into Gothic romance.  Culled from extensive interviews with del Toro, his talented cast including, Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), Tom Hiddleston (Thor), Jessica Chastain (Mama) and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) plus, the countless artists involved in its making, Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness explores the sumptuous detail and obsessive passion put forth into the making of this uniquely conceived ghost story.  Influenced by dark fairy tales and literary Gothic romances, del Toro’s vision for his own influenced tale dates back nearly 15 years.  Hailed as one of cinema’s true visionaries, del Toro’s latest grand opus continues the darkly rich path of the director’s previous surrealistic masterpieces, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth.  

    Containing the intriguing biographies of its characters and a splendid array of color photographs and inspiring production art, Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness also extensively details the exhaustive design work and construction of the film’s haunted residence, Allerdale Hall.  Furthermore, Salisbury explores the practical and digital makings of Crimson Peak’s ghostly apparitions and the sublimely stylized costume designs, realized by Kate Hawley (Pacific Rim, Edge of Tomorrow).  In addition to several speciality items including a miniature movie poster and a foreword by del Toro, Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness is a sprawling look into one of this year’s most eerily seductive films.  An exceptional creation that only refines the particular genre its based on, Salisbury’s excellently conceived Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness offers readers a magnificent companion piece to the film and an entryway into del Toro’s boundless imagination.

    Available now from Insight Editions, Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness can be purchased via InsightEditions.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers.