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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Dragon Problem (long)
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Unspoken_Request
Bree

May 2 2008, 3:33pm

Post #51 of 158 (7241 views)
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Smaug has to be GIGANTIC, FAST and charmingly arrogant [In reply to] Can't Post

As a former (long time ago) D&D player, I have always been disappointed by the Dragons I've seen in movies. They're never as big as they should be. They're never as ruthless or powerful as I would like them to be. I'd like to see at least something the size of a Great Wyrm (meaning humans should be about the size of his fingers).

I like how John Howe's Smaug looks, on this picture http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/details.php?image_id=410 and on the picture shown with this article.
but he is not big enough.
If he is to cause fear and differentiate himself from other Dragons, they should go the gigantic road. I really mean it and I cannot stress that point enough. If Smaug is smaller than the 1990s' Godzilla, I'll be disappointed. I want much bigger than that though.

If it is cinematically possible to make Bilbo the size of Smaug's eye, they should do it. Another ratio: Smaug should be between about 1/3 of the height of the Lonely Mountain (which I picture as a rather large mountain 2000m or 7000ft. The mountain is like a house to him... They could use a human/regular house ratio and apply it for Smaug and the Mountain.

Why so huge?
1) because despite the numerous dragons we've seen lately, nothing so big has ever been done.
2) the audience has to be completely convinced that no one, no matter how strong, can kill this mighty beast. We need to feel that he is completely and utterly invincible. We have to shake in our boots. We have to think they're doomed! Until... Bilbo founds his weak spot... If Smaug is so huge, it makes Bilbo's discovery much more crucial to killing the dragon...
3) Smaug's tail has to be able to crush a significant part of a mountain. That is what he does in The Hobbit and it would be impressive to watch one side of a mountain get pulverized like that.
4) He destroys a whole city
5) He conquered by himself a dwarf stronghold. That means he must be able to annihilate an army all by himself.

You know how some lizards and how birds move with impressive (almost inhuman) speed when they have to. They pass from total passivity to sudden and quick movements. That is how predators often catch their prey. These quick reflexes and burst of speed are impressive. While on the ground or when trying to catch something, Smaug should be able to this too. How can you escape something so powerful, so huge and so fast?

Adding to this, if GDT uses to good effect Smaug's interesting personality, His intelligence, his charms and arrogance. I'm sure tey'll be able to create the best of all dragons that has ever been shown on the silver screen. Well I think that is what they should aim for. Just the way they were able to create the mother of all giant spiders with Shelob.


(This post was edited by Altaira on Dec 26 2012, 9:35pm)


Owain
Tol Eressea

May 2 2008, 3:40pm

Post #52 of 158 (7473 views)
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Smaug - a Visual or Special effect? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello everyone!

It is great to be a part of the passionate and ever present LOTR community. Discussion boards (when they are discussions) are such an amazing thing. To have the freedom to share our ideas and even dreams on such a platform still amazes me.

I would like to respond to the idea of Smaug being a major challenge in our current cultural climate. I too agree that it will be a challenge from many different vantage points (Visual/Special Effects, character development - particularly with the point about cultural saturation - talent selection etc.).

It will be interesting to see whether Smaug is a visual effect (computer generated in post production) or a special effect (prosthetics, animatronics shot during production and enhanced in post production).

To me this is one of many challenges of which I believe Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Weta Digital and Workshop are all capable of accomplishing.

But I digress from Smaug to an even larger picture.

Having read the LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit, and enjoyed them each in their own right, I believe the greater challenge will be in the screenplay adaptation. Know that I have great admiration and respect for the adaptation of the trilogy.

However, the themes and characters, as in all great mythology, follow archetypes. And the two stories bear a striking resemblance in their respective timelines. To me, this is not a problem. Tolkien, being the literary genius, was able to write two very distinct stories from similar foundational pieces.

But the challenge for the film makers would seem to be in balancing contrast and comparison. If you compare The Hobbit and LOTR too much in the film adaptation, the audience will feel cheated. The "Oh great... another studio trying to capitalize on a former film franchise's success. This is just a rehash of the first three." It would seem to me that the contrast is where an original and fresh film will reside.

Guillermo Del Toro has referenced a "golden... more innocent world" that falls into "darkness". He has also mentioned "Riddles in the Dark" being a resonating element. So obviously the finding of the One Ring and the interaction of Bilbo and Gollum will be important.

While I believe that Smaug will be visually splendid, it will be interesting to see how large of a role he will play in the film.


Guillermo
Rivendell

May 2 2008, 4:05pm

Post #53 of 158 (10912 views)
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Deux centavos... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a big Dragon fan. I've said it before- And I was fortunate enough to be born a Dragon in the Chinese Horocope...

And although its always impossible to agree on the "greatest" of anything, I bring forth these two as the main film contenders for that title: Eyvind Earle / Disney's Maleficent dragon ( a triumph of elegance of color and design) and Vermitrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer.

In my opinion, every other design has borrowed heavily from these two.

Smaug should not be "the Dragon in the Hobbit movie" as if it was just "another" creature in a Bestiary. Smaug should be "The DRAGON" for all movies past and present. The shadow he cast and the greed he comes to embody- the "need to own" casts its long shadow and creates a thematic / dramatic continuity of sorts that articulates the story throughout-

In fact, Thorin's greed si a thematic extension of this and Bilbo's "Letting go" and his noble switching of sides when the dwarves prove to be in the wrong is its conceptual counterpart (that is a hard one to get through, Bilbo's heroism is a quiet, moral one) and the thematic thread reaches its climax in the Bilbo / Thorin death bed scene.

Anyway, back to Smaug: One of the main mistakes with talking dragons is to shape the mouth like a snub Simian one in order to achieve a dubious lip-synch. .. A point which eluded me particularly in Eragon, since their link is a psychic one.

To me, Smaug is the perfect example of a great creature defined by its look and design, yes, but also, very importantly, by his movement and -One little hint- its environment - Think about it...

A big tool is also how and when he is fully revealed. I could give you specifics- beat-by-beat in fact (I'm geeking out to do it), but... I will say no more in order to save you from ruthless spoilerage (we have a few years to go, you now...?) and increased anxiety.

Let me, however, say that this is actually one of the points I feel most enthusiastic about.

Don't get me wrong- THE HOBBIT is extremely challenging in so many, many other ways- chief amongst them its unorthodox narrative choices (no "continuous" antagonist, Sudden reveal of Bard, his post thrush inner monologue, unconscious Bilbo during the battle, etc, etc) which should be protected as much as humanly possible since this very idiosyncracies are the ones that allow it to retain its unique identity- and that distinguish it from LOTR.

Yr Obt Svt.

GDT

PD As to his voice- well, each reader has a Smaug voice in his / her head, just like you always do when "hearing" a great character in a book.

I have mine... and it will be revealed in time...


KateTheHobbit
Bree


May 2 2008, 4:20pm

Post #54 of 158 (7455 views)
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My belated opinion [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a big fan of dragons. I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been touched on, so I'll just state that I agree with everyone who has said that Smaug must be THE DRAGON, and not just a dragon. He has to be the King of all dragons, the embodiment of every great and grand aspect of these amazing creatures. He cannot be compared to any previous dragon: he must SET the new standard, and be the one that all other dragons are measured up against.

Obviously, it's open to each person's own imagination, but I always imagined him to be a HUGE, MASSIVE, classic-European-style dragon. This illustration is a good example of how I envision him: http://www.herrderringe-net.de/kalender/3/smaug.jpg But much of it is beyond his appearance: his voice is vastly important. The way he speaks and acts speaks volumes about him, and is a huge part of what sets him apart.



It's great to hear from you on this subject, Mr. Del Toro! Obviously, your opinion is of great importance to us.Wink


In Reply To

PD As to his voice- well, each reader has a Smaug voice in his / her head, just like you always do when "hearing" a great character in a book.

I have mine... and it will be revealed in time...



GAH! Always you seek to tantalize us! You'll have killed us all with anticipation by the time this is over!Laugh


(This post was edited by KateTheHobbit on May 2 2008, 4:20pm)


Guillermo
Rivendell

May 2 2008, 4:22pm

Post #55 of 158 (7946 views)
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Ah, yes- [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hildebrandt Brothers... Gotta love them-

G


KateTheHobbit
Bree


May 2 2008, 4:25pm

Post #56 of 158 (7224 views)
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Old calenders... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The Hildebrandt Brothers... Gotta love them-

G



A long while back, an uncle of mine gave me a HUGE collection of very old LotR calenders that featured a wide variety of illustrations. That was the first time I saw that image, and it has defined my vision of Smaug ever since. Angelic In my humble opinion, it embodies that sheer power and magesty that is Smaug.

P.S. Thank you for the reply! You've made my weekend!!! Cool


(This post was edited by KateTheHobbit on May 2 2008, 4:28pm)


_V_
Lorien


May 2 2008, 4:25pm

Post #57 of 158 (7101 views)
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We should pin this thread its really good [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name, but what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game"

Formerly known on TORN as "Draug the Unspeakably Violent"


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


May 2 2008, 4:29pm

Post #58 of 158 (7229 views)
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This is, IMHO [In reply to] Can't Post

By far the best piece of news I've heard concerning The Hobbit to date! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about some of your plans! It's very encouraging.



My LiveJournal
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See my Photos from Japan!!


Guillermo
Rivendell

May 2 2008, 4:33pm

Post #59 of 158 (7979 views)
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Many weekends to come!! [In reply to] Can't Post

we have almost half a decade- Enjoy this weekend now- I'll be submerged on HBII until mid-next week.

So, hasta la vista-

G


Brass_Ring
The Shire


May 2 2008, 4:35pm

Post #60 of 158 (7107 views)
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Smaug's voice [In reply to] Can't Post

Is crucial. Maybe sounding a like a English Aristocrat but with a deep, throaty gruffness to it?

Smaug considers himself superior to all other beings in middle-earth, in brains and brawn,
and his style of talking would always fluctuate between cunning and pompous.


Unspoken_Request
Bree

May 2 2008, 4:37pm

Post #61 of 158 (7331 views)
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Overall, I like the Hilderbrandt dragon, but he is too small... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just look at the sword next to him on the pile of gold... it's much too big.
Make him 10 times bigger and I'll like him.

He is a bit to fat too. Big tummy dragons may look a bit ridiculous if they can't move fast enough.
+ the bigger the tummy, the biggers the wings have to look compared to the rest. He has to fly after all.


Brass_Ring
The Shire


May 2 2008, 4:40pm

Post #62 of 158 (7214 views)
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HB II looks incredible. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
we have almost half a decade- Enjoy this weekend now- I'll be submerged on HBII until mid-next week.

So, hasta la vista-

G



I am looking forward to that. Catching Iron Man this afternoon. RD Jr is back baby!


MrCere
Sr. Staff


May 2 2008, 4:44pm

Post #63 of 158 (7117 views)
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I will buy those Centavos for a buck - at least {NT} [In reply to] Can't Post

 

I have no choice but to believe in free will.

The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie




Unspoken_Request
Bree

May 2 2008, 4:50pm

Post #64 of 158 (7140 views)
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If Christopher Lee was not Saruman, I'd like his voice for Smaug// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


MrCere
Sr. Staff


May 2 2008, 4:54pm

Post #65 of 158 (7125 views)
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"who could recognize John Rhys Davies as Treebeard's voice?" ME! {NT} [In reply to] Can't Post

 

I have no choice but to believe in free will.

The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie




Owain
Tol Eressea

May 2 2008, 5:08pm

Post #66 of 158 (7111 views)
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Eyvind Earle... [In reply to] Can't Post

Sleeping Beauty...

One of Disney's darkest and visually distinctive films. What a haunting artist.

Phil Tippet has done a few things as wellSmile

Star Wars, Willow, Jurassic Park, and most recently the Spiderwick Chronicles


MrCere
Sr. Staff


May 2 2008, 5:17pm

Post #67 of 158 (7158 views)
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Vermitrax Pejorative [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a film (Dragonslayer) and dragon that I remember well from childhood and own and love today. I even caught it at a double screening with "Clash of the Titans" and thought I was the luckiest kid around and the suckers at the theater could have made me pay twice. "Titans" doesn't hold up well at all but "Dragonslayer" is still very watchable.

Anyway, I considered this dragon a sentimental favorite of mine but didn't consider it as a great because I thought it was a peculiar and personal favorite. Anybody TORnados want to come over and watch "Dragonslayer" on the big screen?

I have no choice but to believe in free will.

The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie




Owain
Tol Eressea

May 2 2008, 5:23pm

Post #68 of 158 (7088 views)
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Beat by beat [In reply to] Can't Post

Guillermo,

I for one would prefer to be surprised and delighted opening night. Too much is spoiled and revealed in teasers and trailers today. The hyperactivity can sometimes "steal the thunder".

I have thought about what you have said. Environment connecting to design. It is clearer to me now.


deej
Tol Eressea


May 2 2008, 5:32pm

Post #69 of 158 (7124 views)
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Sleeping Beauty's dragon [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw this film when I was about 7, and remember thinking that dragon was both the scariest and most beautiful thing I had ever seen - and that's what I think Smaug's voice sounds like.

Insert signature here....


deej
Tol Eressea


May 2 2008, 5:35pm

Post #70 of 158 (7065 views)
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That would be very cool. [In reply to] Can't Post

It should only take me a few days to drive out to your place. Wink

Insert signature here....


deej
Tol Eressea


May 2 2008, 5:40pm

Post #71 of 158 (7190 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post

He's got such a smooth, deep voice that can sound very warm and friendly one moment, and sinister the next. Perfect for Smaug.

Insert signature here....


MrCere
Sr. Staff


May 2 2008, 6:07pm

Post #72 of 158 (7118 views)
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But have you heard him sing? [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9MuEA2eF8c

Here is another http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KPZJg5g7M8 but you need to get about 1 minute in.

He has an album too, TORn did a giveaway.

I have no choice but to believe in free will.

The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie




deej
Tol Eressea


May 2 2008, 6:36pm

Post #73 of 158 (7098 views)
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Corvar gave me one of those. [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't worked up the nerve yet to listen to it.

Insert signature here....


Timdalf
Rivendell

May 2 2008, 7:35pm

Post #74 of 158 (7114 views)
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Treebeard's voice [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope I have figured out how to post this in the correct spot!!

Yes, Mr Cere, but was that before or after you were told/knew who it was doing the voice? Of course, it is not totally unknowable... I was just commenting on the rather remarkable difference between his Gimli voice and his Treebeard voice... Not trying to make a claim of absolute unknowability! :-)

Timdalf


Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea


May 2 2008, 8:25pm

Post #75 of 158 (7173 views)
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Pictures of Vermithrax and Maleficent [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are pictures of Maleficent (first) and Vermithrax (second), the dragons Guillermo is talking about.





Vermithrax in particular looks very much like what I imagined Smaug to be.

These dragons had a big impact. I remember being terrified as a little girl when Maleficent transformed into a dragon. And when I took one of my little brothers to see Dragonslayer back in 1981, he was so scared of Vermithrax that we had to leave the theater! (I watched the second half of the movie through the foyer door.) Vermithrax was an extremely impressive dragon for its day, and still looks pretty good even now.

Trouble is, moviegoers are more jaded and spoiled these days. It's going to take some doing to make our eyes pop and our hearts race like this now.

With caffeine, all things are possible.

The pity of Bilbo will screw up the fate of many.

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