Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon
Nonfiction, Media Reference
DESCRIPTION: Since his appearance in 1937, Tolkien's Smaug has been the epitome of the traditional Western dragon: cunning, vain, greedy, terrifying, and nearly invulnerable.
Peter Jackson's Hobbit films brought the dragon from page to screen, from the author's ink sketches to larger-than-life CGI. Achieving this took a great fellowship of animators and artists. This book includes a foreword (and occasional additions) by Benedict Cumberbatch, the voice of Smaug.
REVIEW: Though I was not as impressed as I'd hoped to be with Jackson's Hobbit translation, Smaug is indeed an epic achievement in CGI, well worth a special
look. From the earliest sketches to the final battle of the second film, this book tracks the inspirations and evolution of a truly monumental wyrm. It also confirmed that Smaug changed between the first and second movies - and that he was, as early promotional material promised, originally a four-legged dragon, as per Tolkien's book and illustrations. (Reading this, I understood why the design was changed. What's not explained is why Weta and Jackson released full-body promotional images before the final
design of the dragon was nailed down... but I expect I'm the only one who noticed, as nobody else seems to have seen it.) Some of the industry jargon grows a bit thick,
and it could've used a larger format to show off the details, but overall this is an interesting look at how much work goes into bringing a creation like Smaug to life on
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