As a former employee of Digital Domain, and one of the people who worked with Piers Bizony to develop his book, I find it necessary to respond to the vituperative review posted earlier, entitled, "Digital Campaign - its like 250 pages of add copy!"
That rather misguided review calls into question the author's integrity as a journalist. It's a totally ridiculous notion that Piers Bizony was "used" in some kind of marketing scheme cooked-up to repair Digital Domain's image.
The book was originally conceived and begun in 1996. It was in development for almost five years. Piers was given free reign in developing the form, theme and tone of the book. He maintained editorial control throughout the process. It was never intended as some kind of tawdry expose of the underbelly of the company. Nor was it EVER envisioned as some kind of "revisionist" history of the company. In point of fact, the book has been embraced by many former Digital Domain employees for the book's balance - and for having refrained from becoming a "revisionist" ode.
Based upon his prior interest in visual effects, from working with Stanley Kubrick on his "2001" book, and also his appreciation of Digital Domain's efforts on "Apollo 13," Piers chose to document a portion of the company's work, admittedly its higher profile accomplishments, to give a non-industry, non-technical audience an idea of the processes involved. More than anything, the book is a salute to the hundreds of artists who've worked at Digital Domain.
Although it's blood-sport in Hollywood to savage people and companies who've attained certain status, the reviewer in fact reveals a predisposition which one might imagine is informed by either their own personnel bad experiences at the company or a really naive prejudice against the company.
No one at Digital Domain has ever failed to honestly admire the accomplishments of the standard-bearers of the effect's industry. You will not find greater appreciation for the accomplishments of both ILM and Pixar anywhere else in the industry.
By simplistically citing some of the company's supposed failed efforts, does that call into question Digital Domain's place in the effects industry? I think not. The production problems of two of the cited films are nearly legendary in the industry. They had nothing to do with the film's visual effects. And Digital Domain should not be stigmatized because it was hired to work on poorly conceived projects. Even ILM would be the first to admit they are generally only as good as the projects and scripts they serve.
And the reviewer's notion that somehow the company's best days are behind them is equally ill informed. The book covers work up through the year 2000. Since that time, Digital Domain has produced effects work on many of the highest profile films and highest grossing films. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was the HIGHEST grossing film of 2000. At the same time, the company handled a large chunk of "X Men." More recently, the company delivered great work for director Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind" - the likely Academy Award winner for Best Picture for 2001. It also delivered great work for "Lord of the Ring" - another likely candidate for Best Picture and likely winner for Best Visual Effects. Currently, Digital Domain recently delivered "Time Machine" - some of the most beautiful imagery in the company's history!
The reviewer drags out some old news, as it pertains to Jim Cameron's departure from the company. Why is that even remotely of interest or of the slightest relevance? Piers did NOT use Mr. Cameron's name more than to state that he was the director of a number of the company's major achievements. This is a book about the artists. And should one question the accomplishments of Digital Domain's artists one would only need look into the ranks of every other effects company in the industry.
If there is a certain patina to the book, it simply reflects the company's desire to work on cool projects. In a de-facto sense, the company has been driven by the directors and studio clients who've brought in challenging projects - director's like Neil Jordan, Ron Howard, Luc Besson, David Ficher, Bryan Singer, the Coen brothers, etc. etc.
As to the reviewer's ludicrous Enron comment, Digital Domain is a privately held company that produces some of the best work in the industry - and has been self-sustaining FOR YEARS!! They make money. They are not subsidized by anyone, or anything other than their own ability to stay in business.
No one should underestimate the difficult nature of visual effects. Just like the industry at large, it's a tough business. But Digital Domain, like every other company in the industry, is essentially held captive by the forces at work that rule the industry. It's also an incredibly challenging and rewarding part of the business - but clearly not for those with thin skin or easily bruised egos.