The Spider-Man Chronicles: The Art & Making of Spider-Man 3 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 05, 2007
Whenever there are big budget blockbuster films coming out you can bet that there will be an avalanche of media tie-in material from toys and clothing to calendars and books…A film like Spider-Man 3 is going to generate even more than the usual mass merchandising items because of its broad appeal to children and adults. One of the very best tie-in items I’ve seen for Spider-Man 3 is The Spider-Man Chronicles: The Art and Making of Spider-Man 3 from Chronicle Books.
This book is no mere fluff piece filled with lots of photos and vapid text…this is a handsomely illustrated, 234 page, coffee table-sized book that truly takes the reader behind the scenes of the smash film and lets you see into the inner workings of every aspect of the movie.
As soon as Spider-Man 2 wrapped, Sam Raimi and brother Ivan Raimi, sat down to begin working on a treatment for the third film. Initially, the villains were to be The Sandman and The Vulture. You’ll get to see very rare production storyboards of The Vulture escaping prison with the aid of The Sandman. So how did Venom and up replacing the Vulture? Well, you’ll have to get the book to read how and why the change came about. Trust me, it’s fascinating reading and we would have had a much different film had Raimi kept the Vulture in the story.
When it came to casting, Raimi was insistent that every actor, no matter how big or accomplished they were, had to read for their role. One interesting note is that had the Vulture remained in the film, the actor tapped to play him would have been Sir Ben Kingsley! The book goes on to relate how Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace won their roles as The Sandman and Venom respectively.
Special effects junkies will be in heaven with this book. There is a wealth of information about everything from the design of the costumes to the effects of the Sandman’s powers. You’ll see talented artists create the molds, models, and drawings for all of the characters. The Venom sculptures are just unbelievably realistic! Another great insider treat is an interview with Neil Spisak and Michael Riva, the Production Designers for Spider-Man 3. They talk about the making of the movie and films in general beginning with the earliest conceptual art, to set design, to the special effects. This 25 page interview is almost like being on the set yourself.
Grant Curtis is the author of the book and Grant had the opportunity to be on the set while the film was in production. Curtis kept a daily of the 120 day production. The remainder of the book features Curtis’ log from the entire 120 days! Short of being a member of the film crew, this is about as close to being on-set as any of us will ever get. This is a firsthand look at filmmaking, which should be invaluable not only to Spider-Man fans, but also to aspiring filmmakers.
The book is lavishly illustrated over 350 full color photos, and dozens of production drawings and storyboards. It’s a highly collectible book that comes in a gorgeous hardcover, heavy stock format with dustjacket. Well worth the $50 price tag!
Mania Grade: A+
By: Grant Curtis
Publisher: Chronicle Books