Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Hobbit The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Chronicles: Art and Design
by Daniel Falconer
Harper Collins

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten
Jan Butterworth

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug – Chronicles: Art & Design is the latest instalment of behind-the-scenes art books (for want of a better description) to accompany the release of The Hobbit films.

For anyone with more than a passing interest in the designs and concepts in the films, this is a book to get. As with the two preceding companion books (for The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey) the art and design concepts are broken out in to chapters covering significant characters and/or scenes.

Daniel Falconer is doing an excellent job with this series; providing a window into the little known world of cinematic actor-image dressing and stage scene development that is needed to allow the viewing audience to believe the world of the film is real. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in this beautifully illustrated and assembled series. This is a coffee table book that needs to be shown off but should be kept well clear of potential coffee spills.

Simon Litten

This book details the meticulous lengths the production team and craftsmen went to in order to tell the story of The Desolation of Smaug. The creation of various environments, cultures, creatures, and artefacts, like Beorn’s home, the Woodland Realms, and Azog and the Orcs, are explored, telling us why it was envisioned like that and how the effects were achieved.

This is a wonderful coffee table book with comprehensive documentation of the incredibly detailed process involved in making this movie. There are thousands of stunning images of the conceptual art involved and photographs supplied by cast and crew. An introduction by the concept art director Alan Lee and foreword by the film’s set decorator Ra Vincent are included, along with a fold-out portrait of the Mater of Lake-town. Played by Stephen Fry, this I exactly as he appears in the film and a feature that is unique to the book.

Jan Butterworth

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