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Thursday, 17 May 2012

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'STAR WARS: THE ULTIMATE VISUAL GUIDE' REVISED AND EXPANDED 2012 EDITION

A history of light and darkness, of good and evil, is wonderfully revealed in the new updated edition of STAR WARS: THE ULTIMATE VISUAL GUIDE from DORLING KINDERSLEY.


STAR WARS: THE ULTIMATE VISUAL GUIDE

(UPDATED AND EXPANDED 2012 EDITION)


By Ryder Windham


Published by DORLING KINDERSLEY BOOKS



Reviewed by Scott Weller


Just in time for Classic and Prequel Trilogy Celebrations (the original STAR WARS 35th Anniversary and EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES 10th), as well as the now landmark 5th Year set down by the triumphant hit animated series THE CLONE WARS from this September, writing adventurer Ryder Windham's excellent and esential THE ULTIMATE VISUAL GUIDE from 2005 gets a welcome re-release from DORLING KINDERSLEY books, fully updated and expanded for 2012, and truly chock-a-block full of the history of the saga both on and off screen.


Launched from 2008 onwards, THE CLONE WARS gets some fine coverage in the new edition...
As does the events of THE FORCE UNLEASHED.
More on Obi-Wan Kenobi's self-exiled life on Tatooine, as well as other planetary characters, is revealed. Art by Jerry Vanderstelt.

As the story, once described as belonging to "a boy, a girl and a universe", continues to evolve in its enduring mythos of wondrous imagination, memorable characters and stirring adventure, so too does the accompanying visual guide as, eight years on from its original release (of which an awful LOT has happened/emerged from the hallowed grounds of LUCASFILM and SKYWALKER RANCH since it's original publication!), this well-deserved update has a terrific and colourful new section on THE CLONE WARS series (the book even has an enthusiastic new launch foreword from Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano herself, aka the lovely and telented voice actress Ashley Eckstein) and looks at all the key moments, characters, battles, technology and drama of every story arc from it's first four seasons within a lovely visual feast that makes the most of the series pioneering animation and visual style (leading up to the return of the dreaded, once deceased, Darth Maul), but noticably not covering the separate, and no less enjoyable, Genndy Tartakovsky animated series events leading up to the live-action EPISODE III in either edition. Is there a long-term reason for this? Will the eventual final season of THE CLONE WARS be doing its own particular replacement lead-in to what had previously been established in 2005?). The Lucas made series 24 page section also includes some notable books and comics tie-ins, too, accompanied by a behind the scenes spread look at the making of the hit series and the talented cast and crew that bring it to life. Linked to the Classic Trilogy events both live-action and multi-media, there's also a new spread on the malevolent Dark Times period between movies EPISODE III and IV, in which our pariah hero Obi-Wan Kenobi spent nearly twenty years in isolation on the hauntingly beautiful desert world of Tatooine, the cataclysmic events of Dark Jedi servant/secret weapon "Starkiller" and THE FORCE UNLEASHED, and a look at the legacy decades after and beyond the original saga with the adventures of Cade Skywalker against an Empire now reborn and even more all-powerful. As if all that wasn't enough to further satisfy, there's also more-a lot more- dedicated space on the merchandise empire that is now a firm part of the STAR WARS legacy which fans old and new will wallow deeply in nostalgia to, a welcome look at the classic KENNER figures that helped create the toy craze from the seventies onwards into the huge conglomarate it is now with HASBRO- the modern guardians of the sacred flame, and a quirky and noteworthy look at some of the zany, old/new and beautifully specialised novelty SW items and mass appeal technology that have emerged to span four decades.

One of the books new spreads on the singular (so far) THE CLONE WARS movie from 2008.
Another new spread on the diverse array of Bounty Hunters appearing in the new animated series.

If you haven't already gotten hold of this release, now is the perfect time to sit (or should that be Sith?) back and clutch this enjoyably weighty tone, and discover, or re-discover, the wonderful, epic scope in all-things that is STAR WARS.

The essential purchase for STAR WARS fans of all ages, with its exhaustive research, exemplary picture selections (encompassing all media)/specialist photography, and its lovely and easy to follow overall design, the newly updated and expanded ULTIMATE VISUAL GUIDE fully justifies my 10 out of 10 rating for it, IMO.

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