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Book Review

Book Cover

The Art of the Film (Hardback)


Author: Mark Salisbury
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £29.99, US $39.95, Cdn $47.00
ISBN: 978 1 78116 247 7
Publication Date: 06 August 2013

It’s been a bumper year for science fiction films and a bumper year for quality tie in books. The latest coffee table release - although, opened up it’s bigger than my actual coffee table - Elysium: The Art of the Film, has been published by Titan Book. Written by Mark Salisbury, who has previously produced similar books for Prometheus, Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland, this release has a forward by writer-director Neill Blomkamp.

If you haven’t seen the film already, it’s another Blomkamp film which appears to be an action science fiction film, but which does what all good science fiction should do, use the genre to comment on the world around us. Whereas District 9 was really about racism, Elysium is really about the financial and power differentials between the first and third world. The film follows Max as he attempts to storm the space station where the rich live comfortable and pampered lives, while those left on Earth live in poverty and squalor, in a ruined world.

Weighing in at 31 cm x 28 cm, with a hard cover and one hundred and seventy-three pages, this is a quality item, which will take centre space of any Elysium fan's collection.

Starting with the cover, the book has the film’s title inlayed in silver, open it up and we get the Contents, which break the film into two parts: Earth and Elysium. Earth has twelve chapters and Elysium eight. Each section is text rich, with contributions from the many who were involved in making the film. The pictures form various percentages of the page; possibly the most impressive is a fold out section on the space station which folds out to three pages wide.

The book reflects the film in such detail you probably shouldn’t have a peek inside until after you’ve seen it. Spoilers! The book contains copious pictures of the environments, ships, robots and characters, including artwork for things which never appear in the film. Syd Mead has been influential in the styling of the future, having been involved in some of the most important films, in the genre, so it’s great to see another book which highlights Mead's talent as a designer.

The book will make a great addition to your library of sci-fi reference material; it’s another quality product from Titan.


Charles Packer

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