Top positive review
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A must-have inside look at Alien
on 12 September 2011
This book is a high quality hardback, presented in a very nice slide-in box. It is printed on thick semi-gloss paper, and in colour throughout. The content design combines the author's descriptions of each scene and setting, with recollections from various people involved in the production, including of course Ridley Scott. There are also numerous acetate envelopes throughout the book, each one containing interesting extra items, such as plans of the Nostromo, set designs, and storyboards. The whole thing makes for an entertaining and engaging journey through the making of the movie. There is certainly enough content to keep you returning to it time and again.
I found myself comparing this book with "The Book of Alien" (by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross), which is an excellent companion now long out of print. The books contain many of the same illustrations and photos and, in my view, the older book has a much better range of concept artwork and designs. Indeed, the older book was a source of information for this new one. Where the new book wins is on the input from the production crew, and especially Ridley Scott. Scott clears up many of the myths that have followed the movie, and sheds fresh light on his design decisions that will make you see things in the movie you had not noticed before. For example, there are many subtle themes and visual metaphors running through the movie, which I had never noticed, but which Scott makes plain. He also explains something about the legendary Space Jockey - what it is and what it was doing when it died, though the explanation falls apart somewhat in light of the character's rather different appearance in the movie "Prometheus".
Ian Nathan writes a decent bit of text. As editor of Empire Magazine, his knowledge of the movie business pulls the whole thing together well. However, it is Ridley Scott's contribution that makes this thing un-put-down-able. As such it is a rare treat for any fan of the movie. I would still also get a copy of "The Book of Alien" (available for very little money on Amazon), but this is a must-have. It gets a comfortable 5 stars.