If you ever wanted to know….
- What Thorin’s original movie look was.
- The improvements in CGI that made Gollum even more life-like.
- The personalities of the trolls.
- That Christopher Lee filmed his scenes in London.
- The lifespan of Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel hair.
- How they made Hobbit feet and why they’re now reusable.
…then The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II – Creatures and Characters by Daniel Falconer is for you. It’s an officially sanctioned look behind the scenes of the movie, though it’s careful not to give away spoilers for the next installments.
I became lost in the book for a while, beginning with the foreword by Andy (Gollum) Serkis. This is the second book in a series highlighting different aspects of making the film, and it’s focused, as indicated by the title, on the creatures and the characters in the movie. The beautifully decorated cover opens to a map of Middle Earth on the inside front. The chapters include every creature imaginable in the movie: hobbits, wizards, dwarves, elves, the much-maligned stone giants, the strange and unusual goblins, orcs, beasts and Gollum rates a chapter all by himself.
The process of casting Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is explored in detail, including the fact that the movie was willing to work around Freeman’s schedule on Sherlock. They were that committed to him in the role. I re-read the section on the development of the dwarves, as I’m one of those people who think they made them a bit too noble (at least, Thorin was) and less dwarf-like.
My only complaint? Reading the book completely strips away the mystery of the film. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to see inside and prefers to enjoy the movie on its own merits, this is definitely not the book for you.