Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Cloaks and Daggers - Daniel Falconer

Summary: The ultimate celebration of the first two Hobbit movies reveals the culmination of the creative vision for the film through more than 500 previously unpublished photographs, plus exclusive interviews with the designers, cast and crew, written and designed by the team at Weta Workshop.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles – Cloaks and Daggers peers through the silver screen to examine the incredible efforts undertaken to create thousands of costumes, armour, weapons, props and set dressing elements for Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson’s adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Covering both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, this lavish volume bulges with behind the scenes images, sumptuous photography and film stills. The films’ stars and the creative geniuses behind countless beautiful objets d’art share their insights and stories, revealing how it felt to craft, wield and wear these precious pieces of Middle-earth.

Researched and compiled by Weta Workshop senior concept designer Daniel Falconer, with a foreword by Evangeline Lilly, playing Tauriel the Woodland Elf, and an introduction by costume designer Ann Maskrey, this is the definitive guide to the artefacts and sumptuous fabrics of The Hobbit film adaptations.
 (Summary and image from  I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.)

Review:  I need to start by apologizing to the publisher.  I devoured this book the day I got it.  It's been a staple coffee-table book in my house.  It's almost walked out of my house numerous times -- I have yet to have a guest over who hasn't gotten lost in its pages. I even shlepped it to Utah to show my Lord of the Rings fanatic brothers - who nearly made off with it.  I spent so much time gushing about this book that I was sure I'd reviewed it.

Guess what?  I hadn't.  Oops.  In my defense, I've given it multiple states' worth of Word of Mouth ... ?  And when I love a book, I'm fairly vocal about it!  Okay, so now to it.

This book is an incredible look behind the scenes of The Hobbit.  (Break out the pitchforks ...) I'm one of the few that actually appreciate the movies more than I appreciate the books.  Before you storm the blog, I've read the whole series multiple times.  It just doesn't resonate with me; I get bored.  The movies, however?  They accomplish what I believe Tolkien accomplishes to my personal detriment.  (I find his ability to say in 10,000 words what could be said in 1,000 tiresome.)  Peter Jackson has created the best love letter from a fanboy ever to hit the big screen in his six movies (although the Battle of the Five Armies was a little too long), and the depth and scope of his vision is incredible.  This book, this incredible, perfect book showcases that without fault.

The history that each piece of scenery, weaponry, armor, coinage, costuming, even the footwear that has been written, recorded, created, and masterfully sculpted into reality is beyond comprehension.  The descriptions and snippets of behind-the-scenes cooperation and the camaraderie that obviously developed endeared me to the film even more.  Someday I want to take an entire day to watch the series while reading these books -- just to give myself as much of the backstory I can, and to appreciate the work that went into these movies that much more.

Really, this is one of those books where the words written are amazing, but nothing can compare to the visuals.  The incredible detail and vivid coloring on the photographs are exquisite.  They so perfectly showcase the pieces that I still find myself getting lost in them.  

If you're even a small fan of the Lord of the Rings series, you need to check out this book.  There are multiple other companion books as well ... and I would love to pour through them as well!

Rating: Five stars

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