Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Art and Design by Daniel Falconer

The battle of the five armies art and design book

A review by Nalini Haynes

ISBN: 9780007544097
ISBN 10: 000754409X
Format: hardcover, 256 pages
Imprint: Tolkien – GB (HarperCollins)

No matter what you think of the never-ending story that is the Hobbit movie trilogy by Peter Lets-stretch-this-novel-past-breaking-point Jackson, the The Battle of the Five Armies Art and Design book is gorgeous.

The Battle of the Five Armies Art and Design book is destined for the coffee table: it’s a large hardcover with a fiery picture behind the embossed LotR-font title with a silver-Celtic-style frame inside a larger ‘frame’. It looks like an elaborate old-fashioned photo album cover.

Paper quality is good, displaying the images and text well.

And the images. The images.

Remember the Lord of the Rings photo books that were such a disappointment? Weta Workshop has learnt its lesson.

The images in the The Battle of the Five Armies Art and Design book are well framed, interesting and mostly in focus although I noticed at least one large image was pixelated. I was looking through my desktop magnifier but I mention it because the minion has confirmed that, with good vision, you can see the pixilation unaided.

Falconer has complied pencil sketches, paintings and photos, juxtaposing them with commentary on the movie and on how the set, clothing and SFX were developed, the commentaries written by the people involved. For example, they start with why they needed the set, how they developed the set, how they recycled the same models through the movie and so on.

The Art and Design book covers everything from weapons, costumes (eg the Nazgul, Galadriel), sets (maquettes to painting backdrops) and even includes a special feature on Odin. [cough] Dain Ironfoot. But doesn’t Billy Connolly look like Anthony Hopkins as Odin sans eye patch?

The Battle of the Five Armies Art and Design book is a must-have for collectors of movie art, for fans of Lord of the Rings and/or the Hobbit, for cosplayers, for those with career aspirations in movie design or behind-the-scenes development… It’s a gorgeous book.

Note: it’s also advertising. For the movie and for the “collectible art” shown at the back of the book.

Rating: full starfull starfull starfull starfull star 5 out of 5 stars