you could want to know...
One of the most thrilling moments in movies this year has
to be that one in Spider-Man 3 when the Sandman breaks
out of prison with the Vulture. Don't remember that one? That's
because it's from an earlier draft of Sam and Ivan Raimi's
screenstory, before Avi Arad prevailed upon them to listen
to fans and include Venom.
Whether or not Arad was right will be debated by fans
for a while. Luckily, both versions have been preserved,
or at least acknowledged with pre-production sketches, in
producer Grant Curtis' new book on the making of Spider-Man
3, The Spider-Man Chronicles. A real insiders'
look, the text also covers Curtis' rise from assistant to
producer across the three films.
Why not celebrate that? It allowed for some good fly on
the wall stuff. Although Curtis jumps around a bit from
film to film, we get nice glimpses into the thought-processes
behind what became a trilogy. The first chapter covers that,
while including a good mixture of production art, behind-the-scenes
photos, and final product. If you're looking for how the
right elements came together, it's all here.
However, this kind of hefty book comes out to leak the
secrets of the special effects, which Curtis covers extremely
well in his second section. Some have complained that the
cinematic Venom didn't go far enough. The maquettes and
sketches here should prove that the production did indeed
intend to push the envelope; it may have been a fear of
an R rating that tamed the symbiote.
right, smart guy, YOU tell which is which...
Though some things calmed down, it's also clear that the
Sandman is an almost perfect translation from thought to
screen. One shot of Thomas Haden Church alongside a CG double
No wonder, too, that actors in these big-budget extravaganzas
complain about the boredom. In order for the modeling to
be that accurate, all the actors had to sit around doing
nothing for quite a while - while remaining completely still.
At least the pencils test are accurate, frighteningly
so. Several of the sketches included here should be offered
up as prints. They're surprisingly spot on to actors' features,
crossing the line between what a comic book pose can be
and what a real human being can do. This E.J. Krisor fellow
probably makes more money in movies, but Marvel would do
well to lure him out for at least a one-shot comic.
They can't lure out Curtis, though. He's having too much
fun. The last half of the book comes from his on-set journal,
interspersed with design notes. It's one of the clearest
explanations of production design you could come across
in such a mainstream book, and may inspire some kids to
go behind the scenes.
make a great comic boo -- heyyyyyy --
To be honest, my enthusiasm to see the film had waned
a bit before picking this up, and leafing through it got
me pretty hyped. Chronicle Books can usually be counted
on for this sort of book accompanying a superhero movie,
but this one really feels the most personal. It's still
hype, but it's hype with affection and sincerity, really
worth having around for thumbing through at your leisure.
Spider-Man Chronicles: The Art and Making of Spider-Man