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Dis­cover how the Ja­panese monster was re­an­i­mated and su­per­charged for this year’s cin­ema au­di­ences by its CGI-savvy di­rec­tor

ImagineFX - - Imagine Fx Reviews - Au­thor Mark Cotta Vaz Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books Price £30 Web www.ti­tan­ Avail­able Now

The Book of Mir­a­cles; The Art of Watch Dogs; Godzilla: The Art of De­struc­tion.

There can be few people in the vis­ual ef­fects in­dus­try right now whose po­si­tion is more en­vi­able than Gareth Ed­wards’. Hol­ly­wood’s hottest di­rec­tor’s ca­reer started humbly enough, pro­vid­ing vis­ual ef­fects for BBC tele­vi­sion se­ries, be­fore he made his low-budget film de­but, Mon­sters. His un­der­stand­ing of how to use ef­fects to tell a story led to Leg­endary Pic­tures hir­ing him to head up its $160 mil­lion re­tool­ing of the Godzilla fran­chise.

It was a risk for Leg­endary to place such a huge and iconic movie char­ac­ter in the hands of a rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced di­rec­tor, but Gareth’s quiet con­fi­dence and in­ti­mate knowl­edge of ef­fects soft­ware won the ex­ec­u­tives over. Sud­denly a man who was used to work­ing alone (he did all the cam­era work and ef­fects for Mon­sters) was given a hefty budget and a vast crew to work with, in­clud­ing lu­mi­nar­ies who'd worked on Harry Pot­ter and The Avengers.

This sur­pris­ingly text-heavy tome de­tails ev­ery step of the cre­ation of the movie, from ini­tial con­cept art de­signed to show the sheer sense of scale Gareth wished to in­voke, to pre­vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of cer­tain scenes, set­build­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and the al­limpor­tant ad­di­tion of vis­ual ef­fects. It’s also nice to see a whole chap­ter ded­i­cated to sound de­sign, an of­ten over­looked part of cre­at­ing a film.

In ad­di­tion, a fas­ci­nat­ing 14-page pullout de­tails many dif­fer­ent de­signs for the tit­u­lar beast, rang­ing from rep­til­ian crea­tures to the more hu­manoid fi­nal monster. In stark con­trast to Godzilla are the Mas­sive Uniden­ti­fied Ter­res­trial Or­gan­isms – gi­ant in­sec­toid crea­tures that rep­re­sent his big­gest foe – which went through a sim­i­lar num­ber of it­er­a­tions.

Gareth is, in fact, one of the world's big­gest vis­ual ef­fects geeks, and a mas­sive fan of Mak­ing Of books, so it must be a lit­tle odd for the di­rec­tor to see a book on him­self. “If you looked at my book­shelf at home, you wouldn't see many nov­els or screen­plays, as ev­ery spare bit of real es­tate is largely taken up with Art Of books,” he writes in the in­tro­duc­tion.

While the griz­zly beast takes cen­tre stage, this book is very much about Gareth’s jour­ney into the big league, and au­thor Mark Cotta Vaz skil­fully weaves his story with the ins and outs of a mega-budget block­buster. Gareth is ob­vi­ously do­ing some­thing right too – Godzilla has been her­alded as a huge suc­cess and as well as de­vel­op­ing the sequels he’s also helm­ing a Star Wars stand­alone movie. We couldn't be more en­vi­ous.

Godzilla dwarfs an air­craft car­rier as he swims along­side it. The film tries to keep him in shot as much as pos­si­ble.

The gi­ant rogue lizard raises tem­per­a­tures in San Fran­cisco’s his­toric Ma­rina District.

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