Last week, I received a review copy of “The Art of Cars 2,” the newest in a long line of beautiful art books that Chronicle Books has released in collaboration with Pixar. The 160-page hardcover is packed with sketches, lighting studies, and storyboards that were created throughout the film’s production, which is essentially the reason why film fans love these types of books. It is like taking a trip with the film’s creative team and going on an in-depth visual journey through the development process. In “The Art of Cars 2,” art fans and movie buffs get the definitive behind-the-scenes look at Pixar’s latest, and boy, is it glorious.
The book is divided up into several sections, largely based on the locales and the timeline of the film. For example, Tokyo is the location of the first race in the World Grand Prix that Lightning McQueen and other racers from around the world are participating in, so a section in the earlier part of the book is dedicated to stunning artwork and designs created to capture Japanese culture. We also see recreations of other beautiful cities such as Paris and London. Through the articulate artwork, you can tell just how much time was spent on painstakingly bringing the cities to life but also with a Cars-twist. If that isn’t devotion, I don’t know what is.
Additionally, there’s a few sections on the new characters that will be joining the cast of Cars 2. Francesco Bernoulli, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell’s origins are all explained, and it is fascinating to see the development of their designs.
My favorite part of the book, though, is the section on ideas that were abandoned during the production of the film. This is where you really get to see the artists and other creative members of the team shine, as Pixar employees are allowed to let their imaginations run wild, which is one of the reasons why their films are so wondrous. Some concepts have to get left on the sidelines due to time limits, inability to fit it into the story, or any other number of reasons. It is evident that a lot of time is spent on reworking a script and story, as many great ideas are left out for the sake of creating one great film as a whole.
While I was sad to see that there is not as much text in “The Art of Cars 2” as there was in “The Art of Toy Story 3” book, we do get a good amount of explanations on the beginnings of the film and the course of its development from writers Ben Queen (screenwriter for Cars 2) and Karen Paik. Also, it’s an art book, so the text is not really the spotlight here – the important aspect is the stunningly beautiful artwork within its pages.
“The Art of Cars 2” is a brilliant book that provides us with a window into the development of the film. Climb in, take a look, and you will once again be blown away by a creative side of Pixar that is not necessarily directly seen on screen, but still deserves a ton of praise.
I have heard that the book has had a bit of difficulty arriving at retailers, so if you have not seen it on sale yet, it should be on sale no later than June 22. The book is currently available for purchase on Amazon and Chronicle Books.
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