Altered States Magazine - June 2002

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    Print Review
    Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Books

    By Douglass Kern

    ASM Quick Facts

    Title: The Art of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
    Format: Hardcover
    Length: 224 pages
    Publisher: Del Rey
    ISBN #: 0345431251
    Price: $35.00

    Title: Star Wars Episode II : Attack of the Clones -- The Visual Dictionary
    Format: Hardcover
    Length: 64 pages
    Publisher: DK Publishing
    ISBN #: 0789485885
    Price: $19.99

    Title: Star Wars Episode II : Attack of the Clones -- Incredible Cross-Sections
    Format: Hardcover
    Length: 32 pages
    Publisher: DK Publishing
    ISBN #: 0789485745
    Price: $19.99

    One of the things about Star Wars: Attack of the Clones that I really enjoyed was the design work that appeared in it. The people at LucasFilm managed to go overboard in the film, giving us some of the nicest environments, creatures and vehicles to grace any film in a long time. Because of this, the three books detailed below were must haves on my list of movie-related purchases. Attack of the Clones is just so filled with visual treates, it is often very hard to get a good look at a lot of it. With these books, though, you can!

    The Art of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

    This book doubles as the art book and the shooting script for the film. As such, I will discuss each separately.

    The art section takes up the majority of the book. In here, one will find an overflowing amount of concept art for just about everything in the film. It is amazing at how beautiful some of this stuff turned out, especially since almost all of the paintings were done digitally on a computer, rather than on traditional paint and canvas.

    If you enjoy seeing the steps that were done to develop everything in the film, you are going to love all this stuff in this book. The entire design process is included here, including designing the film's new Sith Lord, Darth (Lord) Tyrannus. The final visual of Tyrannus is quite different than the initial concepts. Also for your reading pleasure are included all the varations on the Geonosian design, such as this excerpt below:

    Sample of Genosian design from The Art of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

    The script included in the book is the shooting script for the film. Because of this, it is different and longer than the actual film. After all shooting had completed, the movie went through Lucas' editing process, in which some scenes were cut and some lines were redubbed. Illustrating the script are various shots of the animatronics the CGI animators used to setup scenes. This also includes an animatronic for at least one cut scene. The script is a nice extra, but really not needed; the art portion of the book makes the entire purchase worthwhile.

    The book has one main downside, though: the price. The book is expensive, with a standard retail prices of $35.00. While it might be discounted at some retailers, there is not a good chance it will get the softcover treatment and therefore receive a lower price. But if you can afford it, it is definitely a worthwhile purchase if you enjoyed the film, or Star Wars in general.

    Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones -- The Visual Dictionary

    The Visual Dictionary is designed to show off various things from the movie in detail, mostly focusing on the various characters from the film. The book uses the same presentation style as the previous Star Wars Visual Dictionaries did. Photographs of various objects are edited and displayed on a white background, with accompanying text. This style, featured in various books from DK Publishing and copied by other publishers, is perfect for displaying the various items.

    The accompanying text for each picture is very informative, helping to fill-in a lot of background that otherwise you would never know. I also was thrilled that a lot of the CGI models of Kaminoans and the Geonosians get full showings in this book. My favorite section shows off the various Separatists, some of whom aren't easily viewed in the film.

    While loaded with info, the book does have one major short coming: it is too small. With a film that is as packed as Attack of the Clones, the limited amount of pages (64) doesn't cover enough. For example, the Techno-Union leader does not even get shown in the book, despite having screen time and lines in the film. Some of the subjects could use an extra photograph as well, such as the various Separatist war machines. Still, even with the flaws, the book is a good purchase, if you can find it on discount.

    Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones--Incredible Cross-Sections

    This book is also a DK Publishing release, and follows in the same layout as previous Star Wars -- Incredible Cross-Sections books. The book details vehicles and buildings in a highly detailed presentation. The subject of each set of pages is drawn with sections of the outside stripped away, revealing the interior beneath. The effect often ends up looking like a dissection.

    For Attack of the Clones, the book details many of the vehicles from the movie, with a heavy emphasis on the Clone Trooper arsenal. Some vehicles, like the Republic Gunship, even get a full four page layout, with folding out pages. Just about every minute factoid about the subjects is detailed, including such information as the manufacturer and eventual destiny in the future Star Wars timeline.

    While this is nice and good, the book suffers much like the Visual Dictionary -- it, too, is short, but even more so, containing only 32 pages. More than half the various vehicles in the movie are left out in the book. The Separatists are particularly ignored, and this seems to be a trend in the DK Publishing Attack of the Clones books. This annoyance becomes greater when you realize that the film showed a great deal of military equipment that would be perfect for this type of book. On top of this, some of the subjects in the book are rather dull. Owen's Speeder Bike is a bit less exciting than a killer giant spider droid.

    Despite the faults, the book does have some good material. I recommend waiting to see if you can get it on clearance.

      Copyright © 2002 Altered States Magazine
    A SkyJammer Enterprises Publication