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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Trek Beyond
The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow (Hardback)


Author: Joe Nazzaro
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £29.99
ISBN: 978 1 78565 587 6
Publication Date: 27 October 2017

Star Trek Beyond: The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow (2017. 208 pages) is a large format hardback tome written by Joe Nazzaro, who writes extensively about the world of the makeup artist. Harlow is an Academy Award-winner having worked on such diverse projects as Star Trek (2009), for which he won an Oscar, as well as The Stand (1994), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and Logan (2017), plus many more films and shows...

The book's large format is perfect for showing off the makeup and the skills which have gone into creating so many aliens, offering up hundreds of plates to pour over.

It made me think just how much work passes you by when watching a film. I don’t mean that you consciously ignore it, a lack of aliens in Star Trek would be noticeable, but rather when the makeup is right none of the characters pull you out of the drama of the story.

Apart from the main characters, alien or otherwise, a small army of other aliens were created to populate the Yorktown. In scenes where you may have been concentrating on the foreground a whole lot of stuff was happening in the background.

With over fifty new aliens to create, the book meticulously documents the process of bringing them to screen. The book goes through the entire process, from the creation of preliminary sketches to the finished product.

The bulk of the book consists of in-depth looks at each of the aliens that were created, the space allocated reflects their relative importance. So, Jaylah, a principle character gets fourteen pages with fifty-one pictures, four full paged, which takes you through the entire process, allowing you insight to not only the design but also the manufacture, fitting and painting of the prostatic. Each page is accompanied with Nazzaro’s interviews with the makeup artists involved.

The book has a forward from director Justin Lin and Simon Pegg with an afterward by Sofia Boutella. Rather than try and manage the material in a strictly chronological way Nazzaro has more sensibly collected the aliens into groups relating to where they appear. They key characters of Jaylah, Krall, Manas and Kalara are all grouped together with the others appearing under the sub headings of The Enterprise, Altamid, Teenaxia, with the great bulk to be found under Yorktown.

The skilful art of the makeup artist was usually confined to the pages of publications like Fangoria, its first issue had an article about makeup artist Tom Savini and for the most part has remained a niche market, so it’s good to see that both the art form and its artisans are finally getting the exposure they deserve.


Charles Packer

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