“The Lord of the Rings: The Art of the Two Towers” by Gary Russel (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)

Art of the Two Towersstarstarstar

If you’ve already watched The Two Towers, you will not consider is surprising that the movie won the Oscar for best visual effects.  But should you be in any doubt (which is unlikely), or rather, should you wish to view the evidence again, then The Art of the Two Towers is the book for you.

The second in the series after The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring, this book takes you as close to the movie as possible, except for actually watching the movie in theaters or on DVD.  Filled with beautiful glossy, colorful photographs, paintings, and sketches, one can see how ideas like the tower of Orthanc, the different Orcs, and enemy forces, as well as characters like Gollum initially came to life.  There are many initial sketches and ideas of what they were thought to look like, and then a comparison with the final product that is featured in the movie.

It is a book that deserves to be on the shelf of any avid fan of the trilogy, as well as anyone who has an appreciation for art and color.  The Art of the Two Towers is simply a great book to own.

Originally published on April 21st, 2003.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

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“Lord of the Rings the Making of the Movie Trilogy” by Brian Sibley (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)

Make of the Movie Trilogystarstarstar

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy is like a wonderfully large colorful journal of what it was like working on the set of this magnificent trilogy for those many, many months.  With a foreword by Ian McKellen, a.k.a. Gandalf, author Brian Sibley does an excellent job of keeping the reader locked in with the many different happenings that took place during the shooting of the trilogy.  With some wonderful color photos of cast and sets, as well as illustrations and drawings, there is a never-ending supply of detail and information about the trilogy, like the fact that 48,000 pieces of armor were designed and made.  It is a fantastic book that belongs on the shelf of any fan’s, and makes a great Christmas present for anyone who is interested in Lord of the Rings.

Originally published on December 9th, 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Visual Companion” by Jude Fisher (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)

Two Towers Visual Companionstarstarstar

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Visual Companion is the second in the series and features full-page, full color photos, drawings and illustrations from the upcoming movie release, a well as a foreword by Viggo Mortensen, a.k.a. Aragorn.  Familiar characters are show and discussed, such as Gollum and Treebeard, not to mention the wonderful foldout battle plan of the climactic events at Helm’s Deep.  There is also a brand new map of Rohan and Gondor, specially commissioned, as well as a selection of large-format shots of Middle-earth.  It is the perfect item to be acquire to gear up one’s excitement just before the movie release.

Originally published on December 9th, 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring” by Gary Russell (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)

Art of the Fellowship of the Ringstarstarstar

Where did most of the design influences from the movie come from?  What does the floor plan of Bag End look like?  How were digital techniques used to increase the scale of Middle-Earth on screen?  Who made the Orcs look so fearsome?

In this interim period, where time is counting down tot eh next Lord of the Rings epic release, The Two Towers, it is important to take out your copy of The Fellowship of the Ring (no doubt on DVD) and view it over and over, for you simply cannot stand the waiting.  Fortunately, there are other means of tedium solving than watching the movie and reading the books repeatedly.  And that is The Lord of the Rings: The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring.

With breathtaking colorful scenery pictures, tantalizing sketches and drawings of characters and creatures, as well as full color final depictions, this book is a work of art itself.  Plus there’s a great commentary provided by Gary Russell pointing out crucial facts and details, such as answers to the questions posed in the first paragraph of this review, as well as many others.

Hopefully, The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring will keep your satisfied until the movie release, and if it doesn’t, watch this space for a review of The Art of the Two Towers.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally published on October 14th, 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.