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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Is Smaug marketable to mainstream movie-goers?


May 2 2008, 1:20pm

Views: 732
Is Smaug marketable to mainstream movie-goers? Can't Post

Is Smaug marketable to mainstream movie-goers?

I agree with MrCere, that Smaug is going to be the most significant thing to come out of The Hobbit film and be the most challenging to realize. I love the article, and I think it is superbly thought out. It echoes many of my own thoughts and there is one in particular that I'd like to draw particular attention to. I totally agree with MrCere's comment that:

Smaug must be Smaug. The Magnificent, not Smaug The Third Dragon I've Seen this year

THAT in my mind is the biggest problem facing Guillermo del Toro and Richard Taylor. Is a dragon, even the best literary dragon (IMO) of the modern age, going to be an actual drawcard for mainstream moving-going audiences?

I honestly don't think dragons have EVER been a drawcard, and few dragon movies have EVER been particularly successful, certainly not to the level that people's expectations for The Hobbit's hopeful success at the box office returns will be. Beowulf, Eragon, Reign of Fire, Braveheart, Dragonslayer... all featured a dragon as their major "gimmick" and the results in terms of getting bums on seats in theatres were bad to mediocre. I think from the POV of most movie-goers who aren't opposed to seeing a fantasy film, will have the very thoughts that MrCere suggests, that this is just another dragon movie.

The only time anything comparable was a big success was Jurassic Park, and also King Kong, but the former drew on children's love of dinosaurs, and it was a first of its kind outside of claymation. In the case of the latter, it was far less focused on dinosaurs, but this time they were just there for a fantastic fight scene with a giant ape. Smaug is going to trash Lake Town, but he is also going to have to hold a conversation Bilbo, he's not going to be a popcorn movie dragon... and by that I mean simply there to give the audience a wild action packed ride. And conversational dragons like Eragon and Braveheart didn't exactly thrill the general public. So the public is unlikely to get jazzed up about Smaug unless del Toro, Taylor, Jackson and the whole team can make him into something really genuinely exciting to the general public. I think that is going to be tougher than most of us (Tolkien fans) think.

Jackson has made big monsters work in both LOTR and KK, where the audience responded directly to the visualizations of these creatures in the dramatic sequences. In Guillermo del Toro's case, I can only think of the big monster at the end of Hellboy, and that certainly wasn't the big thing about that film, I don't think it was even in the trailers. I donít doubt Guillermo for a second though. Just seeing the Lovecraftian cosmic tentacled horrors reaching down from the clouds towards the end of Hellboy thrilled me to bits. I wanted to see the whole deal, with those things walking the earth and decimating mankind. That sort of cosmic horror fantasy fires up my imagination and excitement. And I think itís the visuals that will excite the audience from a trailer point of view.

Smaug has to be terrifying. A far cry from Eragon and Braveheart, and he has to be more significant and appealing than the rather generic dragons in Reign of Fire. He has to completely kick ass and set a new benchmark for movie monsters. I would say I donít envy the Weta team, but I actually would love to be involved in a challenge like that. Itís like Guillermo saysÖ this is a challenge that is once in a life time.

I hope Smaug is huge, and I hope Smaug has a crocodile smile that would make Aslan cower. In fact, I hope he looks like he could tear Aslan into a thousand pieces.

(This post was edited by merklynn on May 2 2008, 1:25pm)

Subject User Time
Is Smaug marketable to mainstream movie-goers? merklynn Send a private message to merklynn May 2 2008, 1:20pm
    I'm With You On That DiveTwin Send a private message to DiveTwin May 2 2008, 2:53pm
    Dragonheart, not Braveheart acheron Send a private message to acheron May 2 2008, 3:18pm
        LOL yes, I meant Dragonheart... damn Sean Connery! - NT merklynn Send a private message to merklynn May 2 2008, 3:24pm
            Dos cents... Guillermo May 2 2008, 4:20pm
                By the "look" I also mean- Guillermo May 2 2008, 4:29pm
                Smaug vs the Cloud Guys merklynn Send a private message to merklynn May 2 2008, 4:34pm
                    I actually had a "fanboy" moment on your behalf... Foe Send a private message to Foe May 2 2008, 5:38pm
                        Smaug Sunnydale_Strider Send a private message to Sunnydale_Strider May 2 2008, 6:07pm
                            For me... Jazmine Send a private message to Jazmine May 2 2008, 8:17pm
                        Yes, it was pretty neat... ;-) merklynn Send a private message to merklynn May 2 2008, 6:28pm
                            I froze up just then Fatty Lumpkin Send a private message to Fatty Lumpkin May 2 2008, 7:08pm
                            *high five* // Foe Send a private message to Foe May 2 2008, 7:42pm
                            Way to go :D .. Elven Send a private message to Elven May 2 2008, 11:06pm
                    Congrads Merklynn! Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower May 4 2008, 4:22am
                        oops...that's the Captain, not the General:) Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower May 5 2008, 6:40am
                            I 100% think I know who will voice Smaug.... merklynn Send a private message to merklynn May 5 2008, 12:55pm
                                Voices and Actors CaerLaw Send a private message to CaerLaw May 8 2008, 8:48pm
                We'll see Beorn transforming? _V_ Send a private message to _V_ May 2 2008, 5:01pm
                    Super Special Awesome merklynn Send a private message to merklynn May 2 2008, 6:33pm
                Y'know, Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua May 3 2008, 12:35am
                wargs, goblin army, and Beorn, oh my.... Glaurung63 Send a private message to Glaurung63 May 3 2008, 1:31am
    I think for Smaug to work ... BuckyUnderbelly Send a private message to BuckyUnderbelly May 2 2008, 9:47pm
    I think 'mainstream' viewers are as ready for Dragons grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg May 3 2008, 12:53am
        That's so true gramma! Compa_Mighty Send a private message to Compa_Mighty May 3 2008, 1:19am
    What about Disney's Pete's Dragon? Owain Send a private message to Owain May 4 2008, 2:54am


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