We've all seen it, The LEGO Batman Movie, but how much do you know about how it was made? Well luckily those fine folks at DK have published a book that goes pretty deep into the process, and gives a behind the scenes peek into the massive undertaking it was. From the script to the screen, and everywhere in between, you'll get to see the inner workings and many, many steps it takes to go from concept to the theater.So grab some lobster thermidor, put on your best smoking jacket and settle in for a good read.
The first impression of the book was very positive. Rather than go for a well known image from the movie for the cover art, instead they opted for gorgeous pre-production art by Thomas Zenteno. A striking piece that captures the mood of the Batcave. The book is quality made, with thick, heavy covers front and back with a matte finish and subtle embossing. The pages are heavy stock with a satin finish and high quality printing. It's organized mostly by the categories Locations, Characters and Vehicles, but my favorite part was the Timeline at the very beginning. It shows the production process. A a filmmaker and veteran of the motion picture industry (and lifetime fan of movies) I found this part interesting and gratifying. I've spent my whole career behind the scenes, happy to be a craftsman and small part of a bigger machine. It's a pleasure to see others in that position to get a little recognition. It takes you through the whole process, including often overlooked aspects of the filmmaking process.
I really like the emphasis on art in the book. Practically every page has sketches, paintings and illustrations. It goes to show you how much preparation went into the production. There's also a lot of art represented in the film itself, from pictures on walls to billboards and products. The book gives you a chance to really appreciate them as little works of art. My favorite are the pastime pictures from Wayne Manor, depicting Batman doing everything from tennis to croquet. The breakdown of the Batcave is also marvelous. So much of it goes by in the blink of an eye in the film, the amount of work that went into those fleeting seconds is staggering.
The Locations section goes into great detail about a great many areas of Gotham. Again you'll find yourself gobsmacked by the sheer amount of effort that went into these locations. Not just from a polygon count, which sadly seems to be the only way the industry wants to measure how much work went into something, but from the interactive process, the underlying design queues, and back story of each location. Everything was very well thought through and richly developed, regardless of it's screen time or importance to the narrative.
And of course, you need characters to tell a story, and this book goes into great detail on a surprisingly large number of the cast of the film. It's not just the main characters that are covered (of course they get the most attention) but even characters that were briefly seen get a fair amount of pages. This is the largest section of the book, and possibly a little too big.
Of course fans of the Batmobile and other vehicles need not worry, the last section of the book (which is surprisingly small) covers them. I was surprised at the amount of art that was also employed here, since I tend to think along the more practical sense of building instead of sketching when it comes to vehicle design. Most of the major (and a few of the minor) vehicles are covered. I would have liked to have seen more of the iterative process in this section, to get a real feel for how much work went into all the vehicles.
Overall, I really like this book. I would have preferred more detail and pages devoted to the creative process (Timeline) of the film and I think some of the character section could have slimmed down to make room for more vehicle coverage, but these are minor complaints. I loved the movie, and this book was a pleasurable peek behind the scenes at all the incredible artists and technicians that made it possible. It's bristling with eye candy and bat-information. I give it five our of five Nerdlys
If you'd like your own copy of this fantastic book please consider supporting BrickNerd by using this link to order one.