Book: Prometheus: The Art of the Film


Earlier in the month, Titan Books released Prometheus: The Art of the Movie by Mark Salisbury (designed by Martin Stiff), a beautiful hardcover volume that features hundreds of full-color images, including production art, behind-the-scenes photos, and Ridley Scott’s hand-drawn storyboards. Looking through its pages, it affirmed that whatever I felt about the characters or the writing, the craft behind the imagery of Prometheus is spectacular.

Early on in the book, Scott says, “The design process on this was terrific because I’m still, at heart, a designer.” (There was a funny anecdote about Legend in Vic Armstrong’s memoir The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman that addresses this as well.) What’s remarkable is Scott’s commitment to practical effects augmented by CG, as seen in this visual effects breakdown. This philosophy carries through to the set design. A full-sized landing leg for the Prometheus ship was constructed, for example, and one set was roughly 500 feet long and 250 feet wide, stretching out of the sound stage and into the backlot.

The book does much of its work through imagery and captions, so in a sense, any attempt I’d make to review it wouldn’t do the book justice. There is no narrative or thesis, nor is there any build toward some greater conclusion. (There is a fitting phrase or two about H.R. Giger’s visual DNA infecting the design of the film.) I can only be descriptive rather than analytical: it’s a hefty, nicely laid out book which should be fascinating for devotees of Prometheus, and perhaps even some of the film’s detractors. In the gallery are several images from the book presented without comment (and a few mild spoilers).

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.