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The Books: The Art of The Matrix
Hardcover: 488 pages, 1000 illustrations (storyboards, drawings, photos) script, notes, credits
Edited by Spencer Lamm
Introduction by Zach Staenberg
Afterword by William Gibson
Beautiful. Simply astonishing. A visual feast of stylish imagery. This book is a masterpiece of illustrative storytelling. Can you tell I liked it?
The Art of the Matrix is a huge, hardbound, coffee table book that tells the story of The Matrix, and more importantly, shows the difficult path the creators followed in getting the studio to greenlight the movie. The script for The Matrix (included in full) proved to be insufficient to fully demonstrate the Wachowskis' vision to the Warner Bros. executives, so they commissioned a number of artists (several from the comic book world) to produce detailed conceptual drawings, storyboards, and other illustrations. These illustrations proved essential to explaining the movie to the decision-makers at the studio.
The Wachowskis also broke from storyboard tradition and instructed the artists to use their comic book experience and graphic story-telling techniques to indicate movement, action, and other dynamic elements of the scenes. Normally in storyboarding, drawings are produced with copious use of arrows to illustrate movement and action. Feeling this was insufficient to truly demonstrate the level of action they had in mind, the Wachowskis corrected each artist once they produced their first drawing using the industry standard arrows…and they never used another arrow. This led to the dynamic, action-packed illustrations that fill over 300 pages of this 488-page volume.
Take a look at The Art of The Matrix!
And these illustrations are impressive, especially if you're a fan of graphic art, visual storytelling, or comic books. In fact, if you're a comic book/graphic novel fan, just go buy this book now. It's not cheap, but there are so many reasons that you won't regret it: the sense of movement in Steve Skroce's B&W storyboards, the beautifully colored art of Tani Kunitake's storyboards, and the incredibly detailed conceptual illustrations by Geof Darrow all add to this book's uniqueness and value. In fact, some of Geof Darrow's work on the 4 double-sided gatefolds in the center of the book are suitable for framing, and I would have done just that, but I don't want to cut my book up!
In addition to all the art, you get commentary by all the artists about their work on the film, the complete screenplay by the Wachowskis with scene notes by Phil Oosterhouse (assistant to the Wachowskis), thumbnail sketches by the Wachowskis, deleted script excerpts, & three cut storyboard sequences.
I hate to repeat myself, but this book is now one of my favorite Matrix items in my collection, and it's just about the only one I drag out to show everyone who visits. It's that good. Here's hoping we'll see The Art of The Matrix Reloaded soon!
Get The Art of The Matrix for yourself today!
Did You Know?
A reason for the 'sixth' One: In the TV show, 'The Prisoner', which contains similar themes to 'Matrix', the main character who seeks to be free from the hidden system of technological control which imprisons him is called 'No. 6'. But in the final episode, the ever-changing 'No. 2' who answers No. 6's repeated question, 'Who is No. 1?' puts the emphasis where it belongs for the first time: 'YOU ARE, No. 6.' (As opposed to 'You are No 6.') Indeed, No. 6 takes the monkey mask off the figure in the No. 1 chair and sees himself. Like Neo, the Prisoner's answer to his quest for freedom has always been within himself, as the Oracle so often tells Neo. Thus, Neo = No. 6, the sixth No. 1, but really, the first One.
- Suggested by Wes Howard-Brook