Sunday, 19 October 2014

I like Smaug




I like Smaug 

 

(Picture from new line cinema) 





It’s no secret that I love dragons and all they stand for. I accept their fierce, terrifying nature and their formidable might. Hey, when you love something you should love it unconditionally. 

Smaug, an awesome dragon, is of course a fictional character and the main antagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit. Smaug was the last great fire-drake of Middle-earth. 





(Picture from new line cinema) 


This fearsome dragon, according to the story we are told, had once invaded the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor (the Lonely Mountain) some 150 years prior. Since then this deadly winged fire-breathing dragon, described as red-gold in colour with his underbelly encrusted with many gemstones from the treasure-pile he had slept upon, was totally unaware that the Arkenstone was buried right  under him. 





(Picture from new line cinema) 


In the first film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we saw only Smaug’s legs and tail, and his eye, which is showcased in the final scene of the film. 



(Picture from new line cinema) 



(Picture from new line cinema) 


In the second part of Peter Jackson’s Triology, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, we watched a group of 12 Dwarves aided by the wizard Gandalf and the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins mounting a quest for revenge and to take the Dwarf kingdom back. Smaug the formidable enemy was portrayed as even fiercer, more wicked, cunning and greedy.






(Picture from new line cinema) 


We are fortunate that an exceptional actor Benedict Cumberbatch provided us with the voice and motion for Smaug. In the films Smaug is depicted as the typical mythical European Dragon with long head, red-golden scales, the wyvern-like body and piercing red-yellow eyes.

 

(Picture from new line cinema) 


Smaug speaks with an underlying growl, as Cumberbatch, taking his cue from the reptiles, has aimed to achieve a tone that would be “that bridge between animal and human”. He has succeeded with his deep and rasping guttural dryness of the voice. 



(Picture from new line cinema) 

(Picture from new line cinema)





(Picture from new line cinema) 




Additionally, the inspiration for Smaug’s appearance and persona (according to Weta digital Surpervisor Joe Letteri) was derived from the classical European and Asian Dragons. Things have advanced so far in the Motion Picture Industry that we are the fortunate recipients for Smaug’s exceptional design that is created with key frame animation, meaning that it is animated by hand in addition to 
Cumberbatch’s motion capture performance. 




 



This is made possible because Weta Digital has employed its proprietary “Tissue” software (honoured in 2013 with “Scientific and Engineering Award” from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) to make the dragon as realistic as possible. 




(Picture from new line cinema) 


In this second film when Smaug battles Thorin’s small band of dwarves coming to Bilbo’s aid, he survives the bath of molten gold and flies off in magnificent gold form to seek revenge. 



(Picture from new line cinema) 

In the meantime however, we have been told of the single weak spot in Smaug’s armor as the result of one of his scales breaking off during his attack on Dale. 






(Picture from new line cinema) 


This single weakness, a hole in his jewel encrusted underbelly on his left breast area, accidentally discovered by Bilbo Baggins, eventually would lead to Smaug’s death above Esgaroth. There Smaug would be slain by Bard, a descendant of Girion, Lord of Dale. 




(Picture from new line cinema) 


Alas, all good things must come to an end. Meanwhile I look forward to seeing Dragon’s third appearance, as terrifying as that may be, in the upcoming film The Hobbit: The Battle of the five Armies. 







 Stay tuned for the updates.



(Picture from new line cinema) 

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