Published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited on April 3rd, 2014
Number of Pages: 104
Genres: Fantasy, Film
Purchase: At Amazon
Come face to face with Smaug the Magnificent, the most realistic, breathtaking and destructive dragon ever to appear on screen, in this gallery of exclusive images that tell the story of how he was created.
Smaug is possibly the most memorable character in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit: a huge, malevolent, fire-breathing, talking dragon! But while he makes quite an impact in the book, in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation he is definitely the most spectacular creature ever to appear on screen.
So how did the filmmakers manage to take the dragon that has lived in millions of readers’ imaginations and turn him into a totally unique and unforgettable living, breathing character?
The answer can be found in Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon. Packed with stunning, exclusive new images, it reveals how he grew out of thousands of detailed and fantastical concept designs into the beast that is unleashed in awesome digital glory.
Compiled by the Academy-Award-winning teams at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, who provide fascinating insights telling the story of the dragon’s creation, this is the perfect companion for every fan who was blown away by Smaug, the Magnificent!
“Smaug was covered in tiny gems, something straight out of the books, but it was done very carefully because we didn’t want him to look like a Christmas tree!”
“We calculated that the sheer volume of gold visible in one of the shots was equivalent to the total United States national debt!”
I won this book in a raffle, and was extremely excited that I was able to choose it!
Every page has at least one, usually more, full-color illustrations of Smaug. From early design concepts, all the way to fully realized shots that made it into the movie. It was really interesting to read about what the designers were thinking as they created Smaug for the Hobbit.
The first half of the book goes into almost extreme detail on how they designed Smaug. From skin texture and shading, to eye details, how they came up with his form, placing each scale and the scars. It was interesting, but also a bit more than I really was looking to know.
The second half of the book however, goes more into Smaug’s personality and how they thought his mind might work. There are comments from Benedict Cumberbatch about wearing the suit for the performance capture. Where they actually had him act out what Smaug would do in the movies, to help them get a sense of it for the digital bits.
It also covered things like Erebor, lighting on Smaug, how they made his voice. Things you may not even have noticed while watching the film, like exactly what sound his claws would make on stone or gold.
In the center of the book, is a fold out not-quite-poster, of Smaug and Bilbo. If it wasn’t attached to the book, I’d be tempted to remove it and hang it up.
I really liked this book, and am glad to have it for my collection. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the Hobbit, dragons, or reading about behind-the-scenes stuff.