Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
Last year when I reviewed Harper’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles – Art & Design”, I was blown away. It was easily one of the best film companion book I had the privilege checking out last year. Click here to see our review. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II: Creatures and Characters” is another amazing book from WETA Workshop designer Daniel Falconer. My wife’s response was “Another one?” but from the moment I picked up the book, I was unable to put it down. There is so much amazing content in here that I can spend hours and hours looking it over. If you are a fan of “The Hobbit” or “The Lord of the Rings” series, this book is really a dream come true.
The first “Chronicles” focused broadly on the “Art & Design” from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with over 1,000 images of every aspect of the production from concept artwork to photographs and development paintings. “Chronicles II” hones in a little bit and focuses specifically on the aspects of the “Creatures and Characters”. Easily there is no stretching of content here there is enough to fill two books on these topics. Here we get an additional 500+ previously unpublished photographs, behind-the-scenes photographs, digital renders and film stills, which are absolutely breathtaking. We get a chance to go through “The Hobbit” species by species and character by character. If you like the Hobbit’s then you will enjoy the sections on everything from their accents to their feet to their ears were created. Literally, every aspect is covered in this book. We don’t get stop as the Hobbit’s though, we get chapters on the Wizards, Dwarves, Trolls, Elves, Stone Giants, Goblins, Orcs, Beasts and of course we can’t forget Gollum. Along with that we have exclusive interviews with the designers, cast and crew to accompany and describe these beautiful photos.
I should also point out that “Chronicles II”, comes with a great send off from Andy Serkis. He is so extremely talented and his work on this series, should be awarded. By the time you get to the end of the book and you think you are done…there is still more goodies including a special fold-out Character Size Chart. This chart takes a look at all the major creatures and characters of the film ranging from Radagast’s hedgehog friend to the towering Stone Giants! Like in the first “Chronicles”, Weta Workshop designer Daniel Falconer has access to these wonderful collection of images and really leave you just starring at the pages. You really get an inside look at how much work and hard labor really went into this film. It makes you have a new appreciation for the talented people involved. Harper really delivered these images in the highest possible quality as well as complete book presentation. I hope that they are planning the same thing for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”, because I will be first in line.