Author: Tracey Miller-Zarneke Publisher: DK RRP: £16.99 Available: Now
The LEGO Movie, being the surprise success that it was, did not have a ‘making of’ book released alongside it – which is a shame, as the intricately designed worlds must have had a huge number of artists behind them, producing beautiful artwork that would have fascinated moviegoers. Thankfully, for The LEGO Batman Movie, everyone involved knew that fans would be eager for such a book. So DK get to do something different to the usual LEGO volume with The LEGO Batman Movie: The Making of the Movie.
Forewords from some of the key creative people behind the movie – Chris McKay, Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Jill Wilfert – open the book, giving it a stamp of authenticity. The book explores the production of The LEGO Batman Movie both from the movie side and the product development side, meaning it contains insights that will intrigue cinephiles and LEGO fans alike. A timeline of the production process shows how the movie went from concept to final animation in the space of three years.
Locations, characters and vehicles are the main sections that the 200 page book is divided up into. Within each section, a particular subject is taken that is then explored through storyboards, preliminary sketches, sketch builds, concept art and rendered animation stills. It’s absolutely fascinating for a LEGO fan to be able to see rough versions of models that were considered for the various villains, just as is seeing the many amazing iterations of characters that were rejected in favour of the final designs.
It’s both the quantity of artwork that impresses as well as the attention to detail (if you missed the many billboards in the background of the Gotham scenes, they are reproduced here). Each spread focuses on the unseen production imagery, with small sections of text and captions contextualising the images. It would be a great book to flick through, were it not that every page is worth stopping on and peering into the detail of the artwork from animation studio Animal Logic and the LEGO Group.
This is the book where you can learn that Barbara Gordon was potentially going to be developed as a librarian by day and vigilante by night, that the ‘evil’ side of Two Face’s hair represents melted plastic and that there is a reference somewhere to the other masterpiece of Batman animated movies, Mask of the Phantasm. In other words, plenty of trivia to enrich a reader’s enjoyment of the film.
The only areas that the book avoids are those involving the villains that the Joker recruits in the Phantom Zone, presumably because the plot twist was considered too much of a spoiler to be revealed in a book published the same day that the movie hit cinemas. If a little background on this was included, then all bases would have been covered in terms of design work.
A few areas that are lacking is much of an insight into the voice work, plot development and place that this movie holds in the run of LEGO movies that are scheduled for the next few years. Those who are looking for information on that side of production should pick up Issue 28 of Blocks magazine, which provides a nice complement to this book in the areas of development it covers (full disclosure – this reviewer also worked on those features with the rest of the Blocks editorial team – so it’s a shameless plug).
DK continue to add to the LEGO library with new releases, but many use often seen official imagery and well-worn facts that focus on a child-friendly experience. The LEGO Batman Move: The Making of the Movie is an absolute treat for both adult fans and younger readers, providing a revealing look at the production process with never-before-seen artwork. This is undoubtedly the best volume from DK in a few years, recommended to anyone who enjoyed The LEGO Batman Movie or who wants to know more about the LEGO design process.
This product has been provided for review by DK.