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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming for a movie that was over the top
Customer Video Review     Length:: 0:25 Mins
(I've updated this review a bit after watching the movie.)

If you're blown away by the visual quality of the Pandora, as shown in the trailers, you'll be glad to see that majority of the art in this book are on the environments. There are also designs for the plants, animals, vehicles and the Pandora inhabitants, the Na'vi. Weta...
Published on 7 Dec 2009 by Parka

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pandora pics
For months, people have been talking about James Cameron's sci-fi epic "Avatar" -- the exotic alien world of Pandora, the clash between the blue cat-elf natives and Earth's military, and the Pocahontas-ey love story that all movies of this type have.

"The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure" could easily fill a vast tome that follows this movie from...
Published on 16 May 2010 by E. A Solinas


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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming for a movie that was over the top, 7 Dec 2009
By 
Parka (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
Length:: 0:25 Mins

(I've updated this review a bit after watching the movie.)

If you're blown away by the visual quality of the Pandora, as shown in the trailers, you'll be glad to see that majority of the art in this book are on the environments. There are also designs for the plants, animals, vehicles and the Pandora inhabitants, the Na'vi. Weta Workshop is also roped in to provide some models and help in designing the Na'vi. The creativity behind the design and the scale of work is of course amazing.

The downside is there are only 108 pages, which is underwhelming considering that every set and prop in the movie is made totally from imagination. They certainly could have packed more pages but the price is also lower for that matter.

This book didn't include as much preliminary designs as I hoped, like the iterations they had to do to get to the final designs. The only area where there are iterations are the character designs for the Na'vi. The rest, like the flora, fauna, vehicles and sets look pretty close to the finalized designs.

Most of the art in this book look computer generated (not that it's a bad thing) and there are very few pencil sketches. Quite a few pieces created with mixed medium are a bit jarring to me, like mixing photos with digital painting for backgrounds. Again, nothing wrong with mixing medium but some of the styles just clash and calls for attention in the wrong way.

The writeup talks mainly about the design concepts and very little on the production. Stereocopy, which James Cameron is an advocate of, is used, but it's only briefly mentioned.

I'm intrigued that James Cameron actually wrote the script in 1995. But he had to wait until 2006 before technology was (deemed) advanced enough (for him) to make the film. I thought technology was already available when Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was released in 2001. So what technology are we really talking about here? It's not mentioned but, well, this isn't a making-of book. I'll definitely be getting the disc when it comes out.

Overall, this book looks like a rush job. Page 82-83 has an image of the flying Ikrans printed upside down. I can't imagine how it's possible to place an picture on a page (on the software) without looking at the picture. There are very slight pixelation with the really big pictures, something I don't normally see with other movie books.

It's a nice book but more for Avatar fans. But be prepared to be underwhelmed, especially after you've watched the movie.

3.5 out of 5 stars

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pandora pics, 16 May 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
For months, people have been talking about James Cameron's sci-fi epic "Avatar" -- the exotic alien world of Pandora, the clash between the blue cat-elf natives and Earth's military, and the Pocahontas-ey love story that all movies of this type have.

"The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure" could easily fill a vast tome that follows this movie from conception to finished product... but instead we get a lushly-illustrated, thinly picture book that dips into the origins of Pandora's designs, but not much else. It feels less like an "art of" book that explores the visuals, and more like a pamphlet advertising the movie.

Most of the conceptual art seems to revolve around the Na'vi's world of Pandora -- there are floating mountains, lush misty rainforests, vast lakes and twisting mushroom-shaped trees. Additionally, there are some studies of the bizarre flora (luminous, fungus-like plants and ferns) and fauna (the six-legged viperwolf, the vaguely reptilian/leonine thanator). Not to mention the Na'vi, the aforemented cat-elf aliens.

And there's also some focus on the human technology -- the sterile grey "shack" known as Site 26 and the Vietnam-era base around it, the clunky mecha "amp suit," the Dragon, and the chopperesque Samson (which looks a lot like something I saw in the anime movie "Appleseed").

Any movie as huge, elaborate and intensely alien as "Avatar" -- especially one decades in the making -- must have a small library's worth of concept art, outlines, backstory, and design work. And I'm sure this exists somewhere... just not in "The Art of Avatar," which is heavy on the finished visuals, but rather light on conceptual art, the evolution of the movie's style, and artistic bumps in the road.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this book is that it spends a lot of time telling but not showing. The creators of the sets and special effects talk about all sorts of fascinating creative dilemmas and unconventional artistic decisions (aerial mountain shots! Francis Bacon! Undersea life!). But.... we don't see a lot of it, or the various steps that took them from A to Z. We're just told that hey, they had troubles with the six legs or the sleek biolab designs, and that's it.

And there's no real exploration of the epic Na'vi/human climactic battle, except for some pretty pictures of the AMPs charging around shooting and blowing things up. Or the science of Pandora's epic-looking landscape (just how do those mountains float?). Additionally, the prose parts of the book are as skimpy as cheap pantyhose -- every couple pages we have two or three brief paragraphs, and that's it.

I will say this: the art is STUNNING. Luminous, filled with light and mist, with plenty of epic shots of Pandora's rainforesty fantastical world. And they have some foldout sections that give further exploration of Pandora's wildlife (such as floating firefly... lizards?).

HOWEVER, most of the pictures are straightforward digital pictures, with a relatively small representation of maquettes and pencil/watercolor concept art. Most of what there is.... pretty much looks like the actual creatures/places in the movie -- for instance, there are only a few concept images of the Na'vi that don't look just like the finished product (head tentacles and cat lips). It took twenty years to design all this?

The digital art is vibrantly, exquisitely lovely, but "The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure" isn't much more than a sci-fi picture book. Nice to look at, but it just left me frustrated by what WASN'T there.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb tie in book for what could be film of the year, 11 Dec 2009
By 
G. S. Nichols (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
This is a great book for any fan of film art books.
I'll agree with some other reviews that it could have more pages, as every single one has vibrant, detailed and high quality shots but I think overall, especially for the price, you cannot fault the book at all. It covers all the main aspects of the film, from locations (both native and human), animals on Pandora, the Na'vi and the human equipment.
It has 2 fold out pages, not really for any reason as they both have numerous pictures, it isn't to have large, panoramic pictures, which would have been quite good.
After seeing the reviews of the film that hit the net today it looks like it's going to be huge, and this book is a great gift in time for Christmas.
A must buy for any fan of the film and movie geeks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The art of Avatar Reviewed, 13 Jan 2010
By 
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This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
First of all, i have to say i was expecting this to be delievered around the 16th. I ordered it on the 10th of January, it then dispatched 11th and came today, the 13th, with the free delivery service, 3 days ahead. Well done Amazon!
Second the actual book. Just flicking through it, i found myself intrigued and awed at the creation of the movie. The art here reflects that of the film. The film wasn't soo much directed at the developement of the characters, more of the lush world of Pandora, and the book echoes this. What you see is the vibrance of the world painted by the artists.
What's more, the commentaries on it give a more indepth description and view concerning how the artists and Cameron came up with Avatar. If you liked the film, this is almost an essential.

Good
-Vivid and lush pictures reflecting that of the film
-Commentaries giving indepth descriptions
-The sheer beauty of it
-Developement of the world

Bad (hardly matters, just picky#
-No 3D images to be seen with cinema 3D glasses #just wishes)
-Quite thin with character pictures and developement
-A good quantity of pictures, but could have some more

For any fan of Avatar, this is a superb book. If not a fan, it's still a good book. Recommend the soundtrack and Avatar: The field guide. 5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced and shoddy binding, but worth a look, 28 Mar 2013
By 
Thomas Pots "T Pots" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
This is a good-looking hardback book, filled with a reasonable mix of informative text, and movie artwork. There is reasonable set of artwork on show, but there is little explanation of how designs evolved, so we are left with tantalizing glimpses of design developments that change and disappear without apparent reason.

In my copy, when I folded the pages out flat, the pages fell out along the binding, which is very poor quality. The cover price is a bit steep for something containing so few pages, and a surprising amount that's in the movie is missing here. This book is certainly worth a look, but I'd save some money and buy a used copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this all?, 13 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
I attended an amazing presentation by Shawn Dunn of Weta Digital last night in which he talked about Weta's work on Avatar. This was followed by a Q&A session during which he was asked whether they had been provided with storyboards for Avatar and he revealed that they hadn't but instead had received what he referred to as a massive book of concept art. He then proceeded to show some examples and the annotation listed at least four books of artwork - very few of those images appear in this book.

At just over 100 pages, this "art of" book feels a little pamphlet-like and must be one of the thinnest offerings available. I would be happy to go for quality over quantity but many of the amazing images I saw last night aren't in this book. There is some amazing work in here but I can't help feel that much of the best stuff is missing. A movie with such an amazing catalogue of concept art and an Oscar for art direction deserves something more complete and substantial.

If only books came with Directors Cuts too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book on conceptual design from AVATAR, 11 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
This is a beautiful book, with quite a few beautiful illustrations taken from the conceptual design of the film AVATAR. Excellent quality, clear pictures, all in colour (except for a few pencil sketches).There are even a few foldout pages that show the various stages in design of characters/landscapes, etc. Able to give a brief insight into the quality of detail that James Cameron put into the film. If you loved the film, this book is an excellent addition to your book collection.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing., 29 Dec 2009
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
Very disappointing. One of the thinnest and most poorly designed concept art books I've come across. (Perhaps the budget for the film was so high they couldn't afford a graphic designer?) Considering how many years it took to make this film, this feels like a bit of an afterthought - surely there must be more artwork than this? - very little is shown of the development of the characters, creatures, environments and hardware, just a few token images of the finished designs. And what of the amazing final CGI that went into the film? There's nothing here that shows off any of the transition from concept art to what appears on screen, and very little credit given to any of the artists who's work contributed to the film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Gift, 10 April 2014
This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
My brother is studying illustration at university and I bought him this for Christmas. He was very happy with it, and as was I. The book is beautifully designed with amazing high quality pictures, early sketches and ideas. I would recommend it highly to anyone who is arty and loves the film. I will use these books again for his birthday without a doubt!! From a very happy customer :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 20 Jun 2010
By 
M. J. Shaw (Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure (Hardcover)
Brilliant just wish there was more of it. Like a few more pictures of Neytiri but I'm an Avatar nut so plenty to enjoy.
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The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure
The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure by Lisa Fitzpatrick (Hardcover - 24 Nov 2009)
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