Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Review: The Art of Epic by Tara Bennett

Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Large hardcover
Released: May 3rd, 2013
Rating: 9/10

Amazon summary:

Epic reveals an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and evil. When a teenage girl finds herself in this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of characters to save their world -- and ours. The Art of Epic includes over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent. 


"I want people to see our movie and then take a walk in the woods and imagine that those birds squawking overhead are being ridden by Boggan warriors". 

 - Chris Wedge, director of Epic.

I've been following Epic's journey to the big screen since late 2012 when I saw the first trailer. I was instantly excited; the art, characters and concept looked amazing and I've always had a soft spot for tiny talking creatures. Since then I've followed every aspect of it's production and have looked forward to this book, The Art of Epic, for months. I knew the film would be something special (will it overtake Rise of the Guardians as my favourite animated movie?) and reading this book has cemented that further - honestly, it looks like a magical adventure for all ages. I can't wait to see it in a couple of weeks!

Epic is brought to you by Blue Sky Studios, the geniuses behind films such as Ice Age, Rio and Robots. That should give you a quick idea of the scope of their animation and art featured in Epic, all of which is beautifully showcased in this art book.

Director Chris Wedge provides an insightful foreword before handing the reins over to Tara Bennett, who then takes us through the film section by section. Even though I haven't seen it yet, it seems most aspects of the story and characters are covered, including major plot points (beware a few spoilers) and all the cool little people you see in the trailers. After starting with the human world, Mary Katherine, Bomba and Ozzy the dog, The Art of Epic then explores the Leafmen and their forest environment. The baddie Boggans are then introduced, and included throughout are pages and pages of early concept art, digital art and final frames. Some of the artwork showcased here is so eye-catching that I went back a few times to re-read sections and paragraphs just so I could take it all in again. The world created for Epic really is breathtaking and I'm looking forward to seeing how it translates on the big screen!

In addition to amazing art and scene sneak peeks, The Art of Epic also includes a decent amount of text detailing the making of the movie. Lots of little facts are made available, like the significance of Nim's jacket design and the differences between Nod's sword and the other Leafmen's. It's all fascinating stuff and anyone with even a passing interest in Epic or animated films in general will agree that this book deserves a place on their bookshelf.

Titan have once again delivered with The Art of Epic, and it's the best movie art book I've seen since last year's The Art of Rise of the Guardians (also published by Titan, review here). I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this film or even likes the look of it - a further glimpse into Epic's world is well worth your time and effort. I hope you all like the film when you see it and, if you wonder where I am around the week of May 22nd, I'll be glued to a cinema seat watching it multiple times!

The Art of Epic, by Tara Bennett. £24.99, 3rd May 2013, Titan Books.
Copyright: Epic © 2013 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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