The old adage goes — you can’t judge a book by its cover. Well, in this instance, you can’t judge a book by its size.
The Wes Anderson Collection looks like your everyday coffee table book and in many ways, this hard cover written by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz, is indeed one. Filled with vivid and iconic photos, the book is absolute eye candy. Skim through it and you’ll be dazzled with production stills, behind the scenes candids, never before seen storyboards, and fantastical, Andersonian artwork.
Yet, categorizing and shelving this book with the adult picture books that gather dust on our coffee tables and book shelves would be doing this book an absolute injustice.
The Wes Anderson Collection is truly a collection of all things Wes Anderson. Among the aforementioned pictures, photos, and illustrations, are highly engrossing in-depth interviews with Anderson himself conducted by the author. If you’ve ever wanted to step inside the wonderland that is Wes Anderson’s creative mind then read these interviews; the insight is incredible.
A famed critic, Seitz is also a bit of an Anderson historian as well as a man intrinsically tied to Anderson (He wrote the first review of a Wes Anderson movie back in the mid-90s on the original Bottle Rocket, then a short black and white film) Seitz’s essays, which open each new chapter, are scholarly works examining the director’s films. Yet, never do they stray into the world of high-brow academia, losing the average reader to heavy metaphor that’s spiked with a narcissistic vocabulary.
All this aside, the true genius of this book lies in the fact it mirrors its subject. Wes Anderson films are so richly layered that you can watch any of his films multiple times and you will discover new nuances and moments every time. This book is similar as it is full of rich detail — particularly in the book’s design. Read each of Seitz’s essays and you’ll see the background has significant meaning. For example, in the Moonrise Kingdom section, the background of the essay is the shirt of a Khaki Scout. Stuff like that shows an attention to detail that one documenting the career of Wes Anderson must take into consideration for their own art.
The Wes Anderson Collection is a book that all fans of the famed director must own. It gives a rich, supplemental history to the director’s films and it’s one of the most visually engaging books you’ll encounter. Masterfully written, whimsically designed and meticulously produced, The Wes Anderson Collection, like its subject matter, delivers a memorable experience.