Episode I Portfolio
by Doug Chiang
Published by Chronicle Books
Scott's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
This isn't really a book. It's more of a collectible. It is basically 20 very nice, glossy prints of Doug Chiang's concept paintings from Episode I. They are definitely suitable for framing. A short introduction by Chiang is included. It comes in a metal box and is wrapped with a paper strip to hold it closed.
This book is really only for the die hard Star Wars Collector with $55 to blow. Nobody else. If you're the casual fan, you're better off simply getting "The Art of Episode I" because most of these pictures are in there. However, this is for the collector who's looking for something to stare at for hours, marvel at the detail, and possibly frame on the wall. Chiang does an incredible job of creating additions to the Star Wars Universe that are totally unique, yet fit in perfectly with everything else. These prints demonstrate that.
The metal box this comes with is a nice touch and adds a little extra bit of class to it. Overall, very well presented.
My primary gripe (and the reason I gave it 3.5 instead of 4) was that there was absolutely no commentary to go with theprints. Much of the stuff in these drawings did not go into the film, so unless you read "The Art of Episode I" or "The Making of Episode I", you had no idea what you were looking at. A little text on the back would have been nice. What are we looking at? What inspired it? What was Lucas looking for in it? All of these were questions I had that could have been easily answered with some more descriptions.
The paper strip wrapped around the box also rips easily when slid off. When you slip it off, it must go over the sharp metal edges of the box, thus slicing the paper. Something like plastic or ribbon might have lasted longer. Otherwise, a neat collectible.
So many cool paintings to display, yet so little wall space!