Friday, 10 January 2020

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 10th January 2020: "The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Ships & Battles" by Landry Walker (Abrams)

We're unapologetic Star Wars nerds here at ReadItDaddy Towers and now we're all caught up with the latest blockbuster movie "The Rise of Skywalker" it's time to dip into a book of the week par excellence, particularly if you love cool concept art and gorgeous vehicle designs.

"The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Ships & Battles" by Landry Walker draws together an enviable collection of material from right across the Star Wars cinematic and TV universes (though it's not quite up to date enough to encompass the glorious "The Mandalorian" show on Disney Plus).

That said, this is a fantastic guide to all the amazing ships and climactic battles that have been such a huge part of turning Star Wars into such a cultural phenomenon.

From the earliest movies, and some of the groundbreaking designs that turned wide eyed little kids like me into real fans back in the 1970s, bang up to date with the latest trilogy (and yeah the prequels are in here too, bless 'em) there's just about everything you'll need to know about X-Wings, Tie Fighters, the mighty Millennium Falcon, those romping stomping AT-ATs and many, many more iconic ships and vehicles.

Unusually, the book also has 'lift the flap' sections that show the evolution of certain designs from concept to finished models or CGI renders.

Though the books (rightly) celebrate the amazing work of concept artist Ralph McQuarrie (the late designer and concept artist who is often credited with creating the distinct look and feel of Star Wars), I was delighted to also find Joe Johnston's original and far more industrial designs for ships and vehicles being beautifully showcased in this fantastic book, alongside Doug Chiang's concept work too. Very much hoping that we get to see more books in the series (particularly if there are any planned titles about costumes, scenery and stuff like that).

For process nerds and concept art fans in general this is an essential tome, detailing and showing the way movie designs evolve, with some truly fantastic anecdotes and stories from those closest to the movies, and the directors (George Lucas of course, Irving Kershner, Ron Howard, JJ Abrams etc.) who brought those visions to life on screen.

Sum this book up in a sentence: Brilliant for a range of ages, even old Star Wars geeks like me, this is absolutely unmissable stuff.

"The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Ships and Battles" by Landry Walker is out now, published by Abrams (kindly supplied for review).