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A spectacular book is now available from Animal Logic, featuring the digitally generated images the company created that brought to life the imaginary world of Ga’hoole for their epic animated adventure, The Legend of the Guardians; the Owls of Ga’hoole. Andrew L. Urban steps into this unique world via its pages.

It’s a bit like Playboy used to be …. You’d buy it for the great stories, but of course you’d take a break exploring some of the photos of beautiful bodies. Don’t take the Playboy metaphor too seriously, but there is a significant element of eye-bulging involved exploring this amazing book. 

"immersive and impressive"

Measuring about 28 x 23 cms and running to 159 pages (plus expensive hard cover) The Art Of Legend Of The Guradians is a window into the world of Ga’hoole – but it’s also an inspiring cruise through creative triumph. The triumph is the success of its 31 artists (all credited) who translated three of Kathryn Lasky’s books into Zack Snyder’s 97 minute film, a spectacular visual experience. The book is just as immersive and impressive. It’s a great example of how beautifully creative forces can be blended and forged into a new and unique entity.

In one of the four forewords, Lasky remarks, “there were many things that I wished I had figured out how to do in the books that the writers, designers, animators, fx and lighting artists and director accomplished in the film.”

Well, don’t be too hard on yourself Kath – there were hundreds of them working on it. That’s the whole thing about movie making, it’s a collaborative effort. And yes, here is the proof, that art can be the result of collaborative effort. And in the creation of a whole new universe, it does take a team to solve many of the problems, and defy the impossible.

"fascinated with mythology my whole life…"

Lasky recognises this: “The most delightful surprise of all was Eglantine, whom I feel nearly steals the show. Why didn’t I make her more adorable in the books? Maybe this is where the limitations of the writer versus a filmmaker come in.” 

Director Zach Snyder remarks in his foreword that he’s been “fascinated with mythology my whole life…” 

Art Director Grant Feckleton recalls how in the early days of the film they all referred to it by a short title: Owls With helmets “because for some of us that was what attracted us to the project. For all those who think warrior owls are cool, he recommends the work of Jeff de Boer, “he had absolutely nothing to do with our movie but his samurai warrior cat sculptures are a sight to behold.”

These tiny samplings cannot do justice to the wealth of material that the book presents – both in terms of creative stimulus via the design aspects and through the words of the filmmakers.

Hundreds of images are reporoduced, along with background info and context; divided into chapters like Family Life, The Band, The Journey – and of course, a whole big section on the Ga’hoole Tree, with its various Hollows – it’s a book in which to linger longer …

"a book about art and about filmmaking"

It is both a book about art and about filmmaking; but it’s also about the hard work involved in the back rooms of mythmaking. Australian filmmakers should strive more to be mythmakers.

Published August 2, 2012

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