This book, frankly, disappointed me. At first gloss, this may be a surprising
statement (especially coming from someone like me, who's apparently the only
sci-fi fan on the planet actually eagerly anticipating Attack of the Clones).
After all, this is a big glossy book filled with all sorts of nifty production
drawings, insights into story developments, and tidbits about how the latest
installment in the new Star Wars saga took shape and form. How can any
self-respecting Star Wars geek NOT think this book is a vital addition
to any Episode II collection?
The main problem is that this book is really rather... well, unnecessary. Yes,
the artwork is fantastic, especially the big concept drawings of the costumes
and the digital storyboard paintings (bordering on sheer visual poetry in their
composition). But while those pictures are definitely pretty to look at, they're
not really as fascinating as they should be to Star Wars fans. Gearheads
who want the nitty-gritty details of how the characters and their world will
look will be better off with the Visual
Dictionary and its actual photographs instead of the unused concept
drawings in this book. The same goes for the mechaheads, who'd probably enjoy
the Incredible Cross-Sections book more than the concept art. Even the
secondary draw in this book, the script (while still much more intelligent and
nuanced than Phantom Menace), seems like so much flat text in comparison
with the verbal embellishment of the
novelization and the visual mastery of the movie.
The REAL draw of this book is ostensibly the peeks at the "bones boiled
to make the soup", as Tolkien once said. However, while Attack of the
Clones looks like it will be a visual treat, there's nothing spectacular
or memorable enough about the design to warrant a big hardcover art concept
book. For Phantom Menace, sure... everyone wanted to see how the Lucasfilm
design team would create a retro-futuristic version of the most successful science
fantasy movie series of all time; getting a privileged look into the design
processes for that movie therefore made sense. But Attack of the Clones,
as the middle film in the new trilogy, just doesn't have that same fascination
for fans. We already know how the pre-Empire Star Wars world looked,
and there's still a whole other film to go before we get the true transitional
designs. As a result, this book is a big flashy presentation of something that
most Star Wars fans really aren't going to care about all that much.
This artbook, while cool enough to ooh and aah during a flip-through at your
local bookstore, just doesn't justify its existence enough to warrant a purchase.
There are better, more focused books that will appeal to fans of certain aspects
of this film, from story to starships. Unless you're an aspiring sci-fi designer
or a Star Wars completist (or just can't live without knowing what dress
designs for Amidala were cut from the finished film), I recommend skipping this
book. It's too expensive and too irrelevant otherwise.
Still, it does have some great art...