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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best tome of the three, 12 Feb 2004
By 
Vladimir Cvetkovic Sever (Zagreb, Croatia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
Publishing production art from a major movie that demanded a lot of world-making can be a tricky thing - you're letting people get a glimpse of the meanderings of the creative process, and this can, some would say, dispel a bit of the mystique. People might even like some of your rejected concepts better. As for the first bit, I've long since discovered that knowing the inner workings of the cinematic medium actually enhances the enjoyment. And as for the second - well, everyone's idea of Middle-earth is a tad different from the next person's; I just drool every time I see a Daniel Falconer design, including his discarded ones...
What's important is that this book is the best repository of the production art done for a LotR movie so far. It doesn't have the layout that hampered The Art of Fellowship; and it covers things like Gondorian Armor, Fell Beasts, and the Tower of Barad-dur, which should have been included in The Art of Two Towers, as that book had considerably less ground to cover. But none of those items feel short-shrifted, fortunately. And even though Alan Lee spent by far the most time designing the film yet again, this finally feels like a true collaboration between him and John Howe - who was mostly charged with designing the Mordor stuff in the trilogy, and was thus a rare visitor before. The previously-not-featured designs from Dan Hennah and his art department are a real bonus, so that by the end of it you feel that no stone has been left unturned in the design process. And even though any 'Art of' book has to exclude much by default, this one feels thorough; for every piece of production art you get a sizable blurb by the artist involved, and those are longer and more detailed than in the previous two.
Furthermore, the book is over 30 pages longer than its predecessors, and wisely incorporates much material that is going to appear in the Extended Edition of the film. If you wish to get a single tie-in book to this film, or have to pick one Art of book among the three, this one packs the most punch and probably has the most lasting value.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book to finish the series, 29 Jan 2004
By 
mutlien "NT" (Warrington, Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
Point one - I adore these films. Point two - I love art.
An awesome achievement, painstakingly studied, re-studied, a fantastic job. This series of books is an utter must for fans of the film who want to see the whole design process. A perfectly designed companion to the great minds that worked on bringing tolkiens characters and places to life. Buy it, you will not be dissapointed. Glorious full colour pics and a real sense of achievement. Well done PJ and crew.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book, 27 Sep 2004
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This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
Beautiful sketches throughout the whole book. Especially the ones of Minas Tirith. Exquisite detail of the whole city from angles. You could sit for ages and just stare at each picture.
I also find the digital paintings in this book excellent as well.
It just makes you realise how important these artists and designers are to a film; with drawings of props, swords, costumes, chairs etc.
With each sketch, painting, design, or concept comes detailed analyses and explanations by the artists themselves. Brilliant.
An excellent addition to any LOTR fan's collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adds Depth and Appreciation to LOTR: ROTK, 11 Mar 2004
This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
Impressed by astounding cinematography of LOTR? I am. "The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings)" by Gary Russell shows the amazing art behind the movie is more than pretty pictures.
From "The Siege of Gondor" to "Shelob's Lair," Russell walks us through the stages of design that created a real and surreal world of Middle Earth.
With Shelob, for different artist's reasons for the balance of spider- and crab-like characteristics. Part of the problem was in trying to stay as close to Tolkien's own version while bringing plausible life to Shelob that would work in a movie.
Some of the pictures are pencils. Others are full-color, finely detailed views. Various angles are provided as in the many scenes of Mordor. There are photos of early models, both colored and plain, giving a 3D perspective of what the artists were thinking.
The insight here will intrigue nonartists like myself who are amazed at how complex the making of LOTR was, and serve as a primer for character and building studies. There are elements of technical discussion, but I felt I learned about the relationships of style and message.
I fully recommend "The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings). It is a beautiful book, with interesting text. Having recently watched the movie, I appreciated both Tolkien and the makers of the movie so much more.
Anthony Trendl
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Art, 10 Aug 2004
This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
This book is packed with gorgeous illustrations, photos, concept art and artwork. The artists involved add descriptions and explanations to their work in little 'sound bites'. It doesn't give much insight into the process of film making, the actors or the story as such, but it provides a fascinating insights into the work that goes into those things which make the film 'feel' real. I recommend it for anyone who is a LOTR completist, or has an interest in art or prop design. It's not a film guide, and contains few shots from the film itself. It's essentially a book about art, and if you're into that, I recommend this 100%.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Artfully done, 28 Feb 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
Any sweeping epic is going to have tons of concept art, and "The Lord of the Rings" is no exceptional. In the third collection of movie art, Gary Russell introduces us to the images and models that helped Middle-Earth come alive, and the excellent people behind them.
"Return of the King" introduces us to new civilizations, new monsters, and lots of new enemies and allies -- even more than "Two Towers" did. So the concept art ranges from armor and clothing (Faramir's regal armor, the Haradrim, Eowyn's masculine disguise, the archaic "Dead" armor), the perfect pirate ships, different kinds of Mumakil (prehistoric elephants), weaponry (different sketches of the Grond battering ram), and monsters like the hideous spider Shelob, whose sketches take up a full six pages.
On a more sweeping scale, there are full-fledged paintings, mattes, models and special effects shots. Among the artists are the excellent Alan Lee and John Howe, who both paint and sketch their usual beautiful material. Jeremy Bennett also does a good job, although his stuff is substantially rougher. As for models? Try the ghoulish head of the dead king, different Fell Beast models, the Mumakil, and much more.
It's nice to see the concept art in all its stages. For example, one Witch-King sketch from 1996 shows (Ben Wootten apologetically says) D&D-influenced armor. At the same time, an early sketch of Gandalf confronting one of the Black Riders is shown in nearly identical form in the finished movie. Okay, Pippin isn't there -- but the pose and setting are similar.
The comments from the many artists also give a greater insight into how the various things in the film evolved. Some things (like battering ram Grond) were pretty thoroughly described in the original novel. With other things, like the Fell Beast, the concept artists had to be a little more creative. So it's intriguing to see how their designs shifted and changed, ranging from the grotesque to the silly to the final designs used in the movie.
"The Art of Return of the King" is a good insight into the making of the epic film, and the concept art behind everything from spiders to siege towers. Well worth having.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Speechless, 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
Now we come to the art and design behind the evilest parts of Middle Earth. Every image, fact, and sketch that was made to create the dominating beauty of Minas Tirith, the sinister evil of Minas Morgul, or the menacing terror of Mordor can be found in these books. All through the trilogy we were awaiting what Mordor would look like, they describe it as evil, a land of shadow and waste... and we finally get it.

A word of warning to arachnophobes - if you are as petrified of spiders as I am be slightly careful as you get the pages about the creation of Shelob. Even though the pictures are bareable there are images that may give you a fright on initially turning the page. Still incredible information on why they chose to make Shelob look as she is.

I've always wanted to know the ins and outs of how the artists behind LOTR created such wonder and outstanding beauty in the films, but I never thought I would be provided with such an intense, broad, and deep amount of information/images. Thank you for this book, and the other two. I will treasure them always.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The series has to the best published, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
As a series's the art of books are some of the best that can be purchased on today's market, absolutely beautiful and well worth the money. The books take you thought the very first concept to the finish design with many drawings, paintings and sketches that are just stunning. Its thanks to these that I went on and did a degree it it!
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artastic, 3 Jan 2004
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This review is from: The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) (Hardcover)
The return of the king is one of the most biggest selling films at the box office making over 124 million in the first 12 days of it's release, so why not buy the book showing you in great depth the surroundings of which the travel in the third instalment taking you through computerised images and even hand sketches, this is one of the most detailed books for a accomplament to a movie. Do you want to know every detail of shelob's layer and the surpurb imaging of Mt.Doom ? Well this is the book for you.
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The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings)
The Art of The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) by Gary Russell (Hardcover - 5 Jan 2004)
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