Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon by Daniel Falconer

Smaug: Unleashing the DragonA review by Nalini Haynes
  • ISBN: 9780062326096
  • ISBN 10: 0062326090
  • Imprint: Harper Design
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 104
  • List Price: 19.99 USD
  • BISAC1: ART023000

Sexy, sexy hardcover book with gold embossed title and border, filled with richly coloured, detailed images from the drawing board to the CGI dragon. Complete with foreward by Smaug himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. Need I say more?

Apparently.

Ooookay.

The cover is richly colored with gold-embossed trim and titles. Smaug in flight features on the end papers. Smaug in various poses and stages of development – from drawings to CGI model to finished product – features throughout the book.

All the featured images are fabulous, including some fold-out pages giving extra-wide landscape-y up-close-and-personal pics of the devilish dragon himself.

Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon is broken into chapters from the foreword to cover all stages of development by Weta Workshop.

My only criticism is the book is too small. At 104 pages, I want MOAR. I mean: SMAUG. MOAR SMAUG.

All the fans say “HELL YEAH!”

The book is smaller than letter-size paper; I want MOAR. Ideally I would have gone for coffee-table proportions of other, related books like the Art of the Adventures of Tintin, Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan or even Trolls by Brian and Wendy Froud.

The writing is small white-on-dark-background, a combination that can be good for some and difficult for others. I’d find it easier to read (even with my desktop magnifier) if the writing was bigger with thicker lettering. I know, I’m ‘special’ but more people are reporting difficulty with smaller print. Sometimes it’s not that they can’t read it, it’s that it’s too tiring for recreational reading at the end of the day or on the train or whatever.

But still – PICTURES OF SMAUG. Look at the pretty pictures.

Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon will appeal to fans of pop culture, especially fans of Tolkien and people interested in CGI development. I’m not a huge fan of PJ’s fan-flick of his own work but SMAUG. The pics are gorgeous. I’m sure they’ll inspire a range of fan art. I’m bordering on breaking out the paints myself because SMAUG.

Highly recommended.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5 stars.