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The Art of X2
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Suitably, given the mixed background of its comic book hero subjects, this volume is a mutation of Newmarket's other offerings: it both documents the making of last summer's smash X2: X-Men United with tons of great stills-including a few foldouts-and prints the complete script as well as numerous production notes. This epitomizes a film book done right and will knock fanboys and -girls right on their Xes. There's also a less frilly $19.95 paperback (ISBN 1-55704-577-1) that omits the screenplay but contains most of the pics and production notes. The X-Men franchise rakes it in, so watch for X3 in 2006. A fish, a horse, a sailor, and a samurai A CGI fish named Nemo ruled 2003's box office, earning a jaw-dropping $766 million. Adaptations of popular novels also became equally popular films. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

What would convince a director like Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) to take on the project of adapting a venerable old comic series like X-Men for film, much less embark on a series of X-Men films, especially considering he had never even read the comics? This handsome volume more than ably provides the answer. It conjures a rich universe where mutants-the next evolution in human history, according to Marvel Comics-with names like Cyclops, Storm, Rogue and Wolverine become less muscle-bound action heroes and more grand, emotionally complex, mythological figures fighting prejudice and intolerance. Not surprisingly, the story attracted A-list talent like Singer and his laurels-heavy cast. The book's chatty opening text (which details Singer's introduction to the X-Men in all their mutant glory), the lavishly detailed art and storyboards, and complete text of the shooting script illustrate well not only the dedication of the members of the film crew to this peculiar mythos, but the ways in which they have expanded on it since the first film. The book will satisfy the desires of raving fans and the more cinematically inclined; it's a coffee-table book that both camps will actually read through, cover to cover; that great two-page spread of Wolverine in action doesn't hurt, either. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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