Book Review: The Art Of Prometheus / Writer: Mark Salisbury / Format: Hardback / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
I think it’s fair to say that Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien franchise (sort of) with Prometheus truly divided people. People continue to debate it and argue about its merits even a month after its release. Being a Ridley Scott film and a science fiction piece, inevitably the film was visually stunning and the book The Art of Prometheus has to be equally stunning to look at to live up to the film.
As a visual companion the book works magnificently. Full colour pages, a great hardcover and the book is a must buy for fans of production art and storyboards. You also get a lot of pre-visualisation pictures which show just how detailed and how well thought out a lot of the concepts were. Much like the film it’s tied into though, it’s very nice to look at but lacks a little substance.
The book starts with a nice introduction by Ridley Scott where he outlines his reasons for going back to the well so many years after the first film made his name. Whatever you may think of the finished film, Scott’s reasoning is sound. More of this would have been welcome, but that’s pretty much all you get and it’s on to the artwork.
If you were baffled by the plot of the film, the book is a fairly neat way of re-living it and allowing some of the pieces to fall into place. The book goes through the film in sequence so initially there are some great pictures of the ship Prometheus and the interior. We then move on to the suits and vehicles. It’s surprising to learn how much was based on reality and practical application rather than just making something look cool, but the production managed both and you appreciate how much work went into this. It’s when we move into the more alien aspects where the book really kicks it up a gear. What's surprising is just how well conceived and thought out the creature and set design really was. Also for fans who felt it was missing something you get some unused creature designs. Not only did they go back to look at the art design of the first Alien but they went further and tied things in to Earth based life forms and the story they wanted to tell. For instance the Engineers as they are known with their large forms and bald heads are based on classic Greek statues. A lot of the film was also influenced by the work of Erich Von Daniken where he theorised about civilisations before man so much of the set design related to ancient relics and statues.
For fans of the film this is a must by, for everyone else there are worse things you could have on your coffee table.