The next film from Blue Sky Studios (who brought you such films as the Ice Age series and Rio, to name a few) is Epic, a nature-inspired animation feature that seems to possibly be the film’s most ambitious work to date. The Art of Epic by Tara Bennett gives us a detalied look into the world of Epic, and if the story is as good as it looks on paper, the film will definitely be an incredible journey.
As a filmmaker and artist, one might say I’m a bit of a concept art book enthusiast. The process of making a film is always a fascinating subject, so I love to learn about the process, whether it’s from DVD extras, interviews with cast and crew, or books about the film, such as this one. However, what sets this book aside from other concept art books is that it doesn’t only focus on the art. There is an extensive amount of written content as well, delving into the characters and settings, so that the reader truly gains an understanding of the world that exists within the film.
I loved reading about the creative process because it really gives an idea of how much detail went into the film. The filmmakers used every effort possible to make this world as deeply rooted in our own as possible. They created a world that is hidden in our own, explaining the little mysteries we often find in nature that sometimes only seem possible in fairy tales. There’s so many little details thrown in that a lot of people won’t catch upon a first viewing–or possibly many viewings after that. The creative team spent so much time drawing inspiration from nature, art, and architecture, that one cannot truly appreciate the details in this film until they explore it more through this book.
Of course, the art in this book was wonderful to look at as well. There is so much to take in on every page, that the eye is constantly moving. It was a rush to see so much color; I saw the story come to life, even through the quick mock-up pictures that lacked certain details.
The book does an exceptional job of showing the progression of how art serves a story from beginning to end. Some pages present the art from the original concept to the final product in the story so that you gain an understanding of the thought process of the animators. It felt as though I was witnessing this film made, and I’ll have seen it through to the very end once I sit down in the theatre and see the final product on screen.
Whether you loved the movie and want to learn more, have a desire to gain a better understanding of animation, or would just like to see the creative process that goes into filmmaking, this book is for you. I am now so excited to see the art from these pages come to life before my eyes, and I know that if the story falls flat somewhere, the film will still at least be visually stunning. I’m giving this book 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.