Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Art of X2 designed and edited by Timothy Shaner

The Sequel to the X-men movie is covered in this glossy picture book. It has storyboards, production images, sets, animatic frames and covers everything from set design to costume design, face makeup, prosthetics and more.

Pictures from the movie are interspersed with concept art and sketches, showing how things worked, were constructed, and how they were meant to move and work. Not just pencil sketches, but color art as well.

It's interesting to see how many things in the movie were digitally manipulated, from the facade of the Xavier mansion to (of course) Wolverine's claws and Lady Deathstrike's nails. But even more things were constructed, like Cyclops' visor, the interior of the SR-71 Blackhawk the X-Men fly to their missions, and the chairs inside the plane.

Each picture shows the amazing level of detail used in the film, from the X-rays of iconic characters like Angel and Sabertooth, neither of whom actually appeared in the film, to the spines on the facial prosthetics of Mystique and corresponding markings carved into Nightcrawler's face and body, each of which was based on a sigil meant to summon a different angel.

This is an incredible book, allowing you to take long looks at places and scenes that went by too fast in the movie to be studied. You get to see the movie's possible take on Storm's short "Mohawk" haircut that she sported in the comics, which was eventually dropped in favor of the mid-length cut she wore in the film.

This book is a delight for fans of the X-Men, something you'll savor and come back to time and time again. I especially loved the costuming sections, where they showed the various looks the characters sported at different points in the film. And yeah, there's lots of great pictures of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Which, for a woman like myself, was a pretty big draw for the movie.

I loved this book, and though it's pretty expensive to buy, I found it at the local library, allowing me to read, savor and enjoy it without having to pay that expensive pricetag. But I'm not as big a fan of the X-men as some are, so only you can decide if you want to shell out the bucks for the book. Recommended.

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