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Chronicles: Cloaks & Daggers (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is the fourth Chronicles book in the Hobbits film series. Fans and readers who like the previous three books will find that this is produced with as much care and effort as the previous three. In other words, this book is extremely detailed and insightful.

This companion book focuses on the props and costumes to the first and second Hobbit films. It's a beautiful hardcover that's 256 pages thick.

Everything in the film has to be made. It's only going through this book that one can even begin to imagine how much work there is. This book really gives you a good idea of that scope. The company responsible is 3Foot7, and production designer is Dan Hennah.

It goes through each and every costumes, weapons and accessories used by the characters, whether they are dwarfs, orcs, elves or others. All pictures used are of high resolution.

The writer and art director for this book is Daniel Falconer, who's also a designer at Weta Workshop for more than 15 years. He has included extensive writeup and commentary from the staff, the sculptors, costume makers, dyers, prop-makers, armourers, jewellers, weavers, and other craftsmen. An immense and diverse set of skills is certainly on display. The prop designs are really detailed.

The staff talks not just about the design, but also how they actually make the props, such as the fabric, shoes, belts, jewellery, rings, etc. In many cases, they actually case the metal themselves. You'll read about the many hats of Gandalf, the coins in the Dragon's treasure hoard, furniture and ornaments that decorate the sets.

After reading the book, you'll probably watch the film again with new appreciation.

Highly recommended to fans of the film.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2014
This one is very much on the same level as the previous Hobbit Chronicles beauties from WETA.
But whereas I had some minor criticism of the previous ones, such as the Desolation of Smaug Chronicles which to my mind has far too small a portion allocated to Smaug ( instead he got his own book, which I bought, but that I felt was too much for the subject matter, not really compelling), this one can't really be faulted. At 256 pages, it is the biggest one so far.

This book is exhaustive on armour, costumes and set dressing of the Hobbit films. If I was to quibble, I would say that the focus is exclusively on the characters and costumes/weaponry shown in the first two films. So there's nothing here about Battle of Five Armies, which makes me wonder how that will be handled. Presumably that info will be put in the Five Armies book in December 2014, as I cannot imagine yet another book being released on this topic. But I would not have minded if they had shown some things about the final film, such as Dain and his warriors for instance, or the enemies we have yet to encounter.

But anyway, this book is very comprehensive and if you're interested in seeing gorgeous photos of the costumes, the weapons and armour, the tremendous amount of work done on set dressing, then this is simply the book to have. I like it more than the Creatures and Characters artbook released last year, it doesn't skimp on anything, it gives you what you want, and then some more.

People that have a lot of commentary are the excellent Ann Maskrey for costuming, the well known Richard Taylor and someone like Matt Appleton for weapons and armour, and Ra Vincent for set dressing. But many others speak as well, about stuff like saddling, the milliners, the making of weapons, the armour of the Elves, the Dwarves, the people of Dale, Lake Town, all the staffs and costumes of the Wizards, a very extensive section on the Shire to start the book off, even a small section devoted to Beorn's costume and his house and one on the Orcs. I really enjoyed just reading what the experts had to say next to a beautiful photo of the item. I also liked the collector's items section at the end, there is some amazing stuff that they made in terms of replicas that you could buy, if you can afford it. Stuff like the Radagast statue or the Thranduil staff looks very nice.

Job well done, I will be getting the next one in December.
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on 13 January 2015
The Hobbit Chronicles books by WETA are an absolute piece of art and is a must for every movie fan of Peter Jackson's LOTR and Hobbit movies. This books provides an extensive backstage overview of all the magnificient craft and design that went into creating the costumes, looks and props for the films. Each character is visited again one by one, and we get a very thorough overview of all the details of the props each character carries that you would never notice in film, but it all ads to the magic of the film. I personally never got bored of reading the author's (Daniel Falconer) interviews of all the wonderful artists who had made the films. It's a very heavily illustrated book with at least 1000 photos of high detail. They should not be missed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2014
Great book!
Amazing photos and designs like the other three books in the series!
Definitely a must have for all Tolkien fans!
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on 19 November 2014
If you love all of the bonus material of all the LOTR and The Hobbit movies, the books in this series are a must have items for an avid fan. I love the books, the quality of pictures, drawings, and the way they explanes how these movies were made.
I am looking forward to the next book/ two books which takes on Battle of the five armies.
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on 14 September 2014
Prompt delivery - hugely informative and illuminating. Fantastically illustrated book which helped to re-live my memories of an excellent and evocative film. First rate.

Kevin, Sheffield.
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on 20 July 2015
The Chronicles series of books are a fantastic addition to the films, adding extra depth to the characters and scenery. Very well laid out with lots of images you won't find elsewhere.
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on 26 January 2015
I enjoy not only the superbly done contents and the cover of the book, but also the many quotes from the actors and movie producers. Tons of beautiful photos too!
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on 14 July 2015
Amazing book with lots of beautifull photo's and background info. A must have for the true Hobbit-fan!
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on 8 January 2015
the package has too much room inside, so the package could not propect the corners of the book.
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