I found an interesting website called Film Sketchr ("The Concept Art and Storyboarding Blog") which collects pre-production artwork from decades' worth of movies. As someone reasonably familiar with some of the great concept art that was created for my favorite movies (for example, Joe Johnston's incredible Star Wars design drawings, which rival Ralph McQuarrie's in terms of their importance to the movie's vision), I was delighted to find this site and to discover that some of my favorite preproduction art -- Johnston, McQuarrie; Syd Mead's fantastic Blade Runner paintings (see above) -- are lavishly represented here.
And I realized something interesting (or rather, I was reminded of something I'd learned a few times in the past): The quality of fantasy/sci-fi cinema is, I think, directly related to the filmmakers' ability not just to conceive of great visual ideas but to actually get them onscreen. After
Looks pretty great, doesn't it? And, if the movie had been made by George Lucas or Ridley Scott or Christopher Nolan or Joe "Captain America/The Rocketeer" Johnston (Yes, he went from ILM concept artist to director) it probably would have been great. But the movie was, instead, made by somebody called Chris Gorak, and the results (as I discovered upon watching the actual movie) were absolutely abysmal. It wasn't that it looked good but was stupid (like a Tim Burton movie); it was that it looked awful -- the imagery in the pictures above was not in any way reproduced in the movie. Anyway, it was interesting to discover a bad movie solely through its misleadingly-good concept art. I recommend that website, but remember: good concepts and good concept art is less than half the battle!