I’m not sure when exactly the trend started, but at some point in the last few years studios started to realize that they had way more pre-production materials than they could ever fit on a DVD. So they began publishing making-of books for all of their upcoming blockbusters. Now, of course this isn’t a revolutionary trend – studios have been doing it for decades (my favorite movie-related book as a kid was “The Making of Jurassic Park”) – but hand-in-hand with an increase in the frequency of these books has been an increase in the quality of them.
These aren’t just publicity still dumps, these are in-depth, well-written production chronicles. And “Constructing Green Lantern: From Page to Screen” may be one of the denser I’ve come across.
Who Wrote It: Ozzy Inguanzo, the film’s researcher, asset manager and resident comic book expert. There’s also an introduction from DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns.
Who’s In It: Unlike most of these books which focus on a broad spectrum look at a movie, CGL focuses purely on the design and execution of the film, meaning that you’re not going to find interviews with Ryan Reynolds or Blake Lively. You will find, however, plenty of quotes and coverage from director Martin Campbell, production designer Grant Major (Lord of the Rings) and various other conceptual and VFX artists.
What’s It About: As the subtitle implies, CGL is all about how the movie went from page to screen. It focuses on every crucial decision the production made along the way, from what specific comics would be used as script inspiration, to where they’d find an airport to double as Ferris Aircraft, to how they designed every aspect of the Green Lantern Corps and their thousands of alien members. It’s about showing fans the evolution from concept to creation, providing plenty of looks at final designs, those that didn’t quite make the cut, and why specifically that decision was made.
Why You Should Read It: What I’ve always loved about books like “Constructing Green Lantern” is that you don’t actually have to be a fan of the movies to take away plenty from them. Obviously fans are going to have the biggest geekgasm pouring through its pages, but if you know nothing about Hal Jordan but are even vaguely interested in film production and design, books like CGL can serve as a sort of mini (and cheap) film school, walking you through the ridiculously complex task of making a movie with skyscrapper budgets.
As far as these making-of books go, CGL is actually one of the most comprehensive that I’ve seen. If you do want cast interviews and a critical analysis of the actual movie, this isn’t for you. If, however, you go ape for concept artwork (like I do), then this boasts a borderline indecent amount of pre-production material. Even books as utterly fantastic as “The Art of Star Trek” look skimpy next to the quantity of material here, which features 207 pages filled with high resolution scans from the comics and the film script, as well as storyboards, concept sketches, pictures of 3-D sculptures and a whole lot more. For a Green Lantern fan, this is a must have, but what makes it a fascinating read is its ability to transcend just the fanbase. You don’t have to know a power battery from a car battery to be impressed (and educated) by this surprisingly thorough time capsule of Green Lantern’s first trip to the big screen.