The problem is, when I purchased the movie guide for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I was in the middle of my senior year of college and I just couldn't find the time to sit down and read it, page per page. So it sat, sadly, on my shelf (figuratively, since I don't keep my books on shelves) for months. I have since also acquired the companion for The Desolation of Smaug and the three Chronicles books from Weta. I'll be moving into all of those next.
After flipping through those immensely detailed Chronicles books, the movie guide seemed hardly to have time to go into any detail. It's only regular length at about 170 pages, yet it covers so many different aspects of how the movie was made. The Contents lists about 52 different sections; that means that many of them are only a couple of pages long. And yet Brian Sibley makes it all work so well.
The short sections make the book easy to read, if you want to sit for a few hours or only read a few pages at a time. As I always hope to find, the pictures flow well with the text so that you don't have to flip back and forth or pause in the middle of a paragraph to look at a picture. But the content itself is also well-organized. There is very little plot summary, very much of quotes from cast and crew, and details on both the more expected aspects (like wardrobe) and the less expected. I really enjoyed, for instance, learning about what Terry Notary does as the movement choreography and about Amy Wright's field as a breakdown artist. Interestingly, the character sections (on Dori or Nori or Radagast, etc.) are interspersed among the other sections. So you don't have to read all of the character material at once, or all the costume material, or all the digital material. It's arranged so that you have a large amount of information in front of you, but it doesn't seem overwhelming.
And the usual mix of still photos, behind the scenes picture, and concept art are all wonderful to have. I think I'll move on to the Desolation of Smaug companion before I dig into more detail in the Chronicles books.