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4.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 17, 2012
This is a wonderful companion art book for the movie. In some ways, I like it better than the ones from LOTR.

The cover is beautifully embossed with texture and shine. It's 208-pages and big. Behind the cover is Thorin's Map that you can tear out from the perforated edges, and at the back is a long gatefold of Bilbo's Burglar contract should you want to read the fine prints to see what Bilbo has gotten himself into.

There's a generous amount of concept art included that feature the characters, props and environment. Yes, it's all fantasy art, and they are all very beautiful and detailed. There are art from Alan Lee, John Howe, Dan Hennah (production designer), Richard Taylor and many others from Weta Workshop. The book is all art and there aren't a lot of photos, so you won't find behind the scenes shots and there are only small thumbnails of the actors in makeup.

The majority are mostly character designs and the related, such as costumes, weapons and other props. There are Bilbo and his entourage of dwarves, trolls, goblins, and creatures. Each character has many designs variations shown, but mostly from the hair and facial hair -- probably more hairstyles that you can find in a hair saloon brochure.

The environment art are mainly of close ups of locations and interiors. There are a few of those wide shots as well but could have been printed bigger. Many of the nice textured pencil drawings are from John Howe and Alan Lee.

Those who like production design will enjoy the insightful commentary. There's lots to read and often, there will be a few designers talking about just one character, about the design, clothing and their weapons. The extra information gives more depth to the characters.

The back cover mention something about this book being the first in a series of hardcover books. So unless they are referring to the other film companions, it means there would be art books for the next two films as well.

It's a fantastic artbook. Highly recommended to fans of the film and fantasy art.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on December 14, 2012
The first chronicle in the series, Art and Design presents hundreds of full color conceptual drawings and paintings, along with set designs, sculpture and photography. The book showcases art by the film's concept art directors, Alan Lee and John Howe, alongside work from other artists of the film's 3 foot 7 (which used to be 3 foot 6 when making Lord of the Rings) Art Department, Costume Department and Weta Workshop.

Included is a foreword by Academy Award winner Dan Hennah, 3 foot 7 Production Designer for the films. The book also features commentaries by Dan, 3 foot 7 Costume Designer Ann Maskrey, Peter King, 3 foot 7 Make-up and Hair Designer, and Weta Workshop's Design and Special Effects Supervisor Richard Taylor.

There is a fold out Thorin's map with glow in the dark runes printed on it as well as a copy of Bilbo's contract which is pretty awesome, though not quite as good as the prop replicas. It's great to see so many awesome and detailed pics of all the Dwarves, everything from their weapons to close up shots of their beards and clothing. Since it'll be at least 4 months until the Blu-Ray release of this movie, this is the next best thing to all the special features to come on the home video front. I've watched all the special features for Lord Of The Rings a few times now and love to watch how all these master craftsman use their skill and talent to bring things to life. This book is a great inside look into how this movie was designed and then subsequently executed. Highly recommended.
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on December 22, 2012
Received this last weekend.

I am fan of the 4 artbooks that were released for the Lord of the Rings books. You can still easily find them on Amazon, they are by Gary Russell, compiled with the help of WETA. I'm also a big fan of WETA's artbook "Crafting Narnia".

To my mind, this new and superb looking Hobbit artbook is on equal terms with the Narnia book, and probably with the LoTR artbooks as well. The one thing that led me to detract one star and which makes it fall short of perfect for me, is that they skimped on beautiful digital renders and film stills, when it came to Bag End and Rivendell.

Maybe they thought "hey, we've already been there in LoTR, let's just show the intricate drawings for this one rather than the finished GCI work". This buyer of the product finds that a shame, as Hobbiton and Rivendell are two of the most glorious places visited in film 1 "Hobbit: Unexpected Journey", and we should have been given various gorgeous shots of the places. They've now gone for pencil drawings, by and large, which are nice, but they should be in addition to the beautiful CG renders that you see in the actual film.

However that is the only niggle I would have. Otherwise, the sections on the Dwarves and Radagast are highlights of the book. Glorious. I also find the chapter "High Fells" interesting, speaking as it does about Gandalf and Radagast's investigation of the actual tombs of the Nazgul, after the Rivendell White Council scene. It seems to have been a stirring scene, with Gandalf ultimately finding all of the tombs empty, and opened from the inside. This scene has been cut from the theatrical edition of the film, so I hope it is in the extended edition. It gives us more of an idea as to what we can expect from the Necromancer in film 2, having gathered all his servants to him.

This book is not to blame for the fact that a lot of the good stuff in the Hobbit, such as meeting mighty Beörn and the Mirkwood Elves, has been moved to film 2. The quality of this first book is so good that you can only marvel at the Desolation of Smaug artbook, sadly still a year away.

Finally, it seems there will be more than one WETA artbook per film, in a move away from the LoTR films. There is already another WETA artbook in the Hobbit series coming out in April/May, called "Creatures and Characters". What on Earth is supposed to be in that I do not know, as this book is already full of detailed drawings and paintings of the creatures and characters in the first film, and I could not imagine needing more on that in particular. I am curious.
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on December 17, 2015
This book covers everything from Bag end all the way to The Carrock from the story. It goes over characters such as Bilbo, Thorin, and others and shows detailed pictures of them in their outfits along with the gear they would have had on them. This book also covers various scenes such as Bilbos birthday party, the goblin kings throne room from when they all get captured in the mountain, and others. The pictures are all highly detailed and look amazing.

The book shows you the inside of places like Rivendell, Bag End, and other locations. You get to see what elves would look like such as the Rivendell guards, Elrond, and even their musical instruments. There are cooking supplies, saddles, wagons, sling shots, weapons, armor, and just loads of other stuff I never even thought would be in this book.

The goblin section really shows off the goblins perfectly. The pictures of them are really quite gross to look at. Near the end of the book you get to see some good Gollum art and even his little boat which was really cool.

Also at the beginning of the book is a pullout of Thorins map and at the end of the book there is a contract of Bilbos Burglar Contract.

The book shows you pretty much everything you could want to see from the beginning of the Hobbit and I am very happy with this book.
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on December 19, 2013
You can tell a lot of love went into the creation of these Hobbit chronicle books. The covers are hard and durable, and the pages are glossy and high quality. The descriptions are very thorough and are from a variety of crew members on the design, CGI and art teams (sometimes even actors in the cast if they had input on a costume). You can read all about the thought and design process that went into the landscapes and creatures of the Hobbit movies. Overall, an amazing book for those of us that love "behind the scenes" knowledge and/or the design process that goes into any movie production.

Absolutely worth the price.
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on February 6, 2016
Another fantastic book of designs, drawings and photos of the work Weta did for The Hobbit movies. This is the first book in a series put together by head designer David Falconer of Weta.

If you are a fan of the movies like me and love to read and see photos, drawings and concepts on how a movie was envisioned and put together by prop makers, costumers and the director, these books are right up your alley. This one has so many drawings and shows different conceptions of each of the dwarves, costumes and fighting equipment. The first 90 plus pages are all about the dwarves. The subsequent pages show details in the design of costumes and armory from Bilbo Baggins, the elves, the Goblin King and the trolls.

The front of the book has a fold out of Thorin’s map, and a fold out of Biblo’s contact in the back as added bonuses.

I love the addition of the notes of the designers on how and why different design were chosen. It’s nice to see inside the heads of all of these talented people.

The only thing I do miss from this book are the thoughts and input from the actors about the process, what they thought about what was finally chosen and if they had any say so in their characters. This was included in the final book about the last movie and I greatly enjoyed reading about their thoughts and input. Still this is a fantastic book and if you love to look at designs and how costumers and prop designers work this book is for you.
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on December 17, 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art & Design already has a sequel volume planned for release in April 2013 - that one is said to focus on Characters and Creatures. I'm a little surprised to see that this companion series for the film trilogy dispenses with the familiar tradition of one-concept-art-book-per-film, but, it's also a welcome surprise given how much development these movies require from a creative standpoint.

Along with the many enjoyments that others have mentioned are in this book, let me add that I was happy to find extra bits of art showcasing things I didn't see or notice from the movie - one good example is Old Took's party. Not sure if that scene was even put on film. Quite a bit of material here explores how the filmmakers developed the race of dwarves. The pay-off of so much exploratory art is onscreen, and in this book you see numerous examples of how early development photoshops of the cast and crew helped the artists develop the individuality of the race - lots of permutations on costuming, weapons, the over-sized hands, markings, facial hair, nose and brows. There's also a bunch of dwarven gals with beards; the inclusion reminds me of that funny scene from THE TWO TOWERS which left audiences wondering if we'd even recognize the dwarven women. Coverage is also given to Radaghast and the Goblins. Not so much material(surprisingly?) on certain other villains, but with the minor glimpses we caught of THEM, the only real absence I noted would be the lead orc hunter.

This book definitely satisfied my expectations, and I will be interested in seeing how the next volume(s) round out the behind-the-scenes development of each film.
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on January 24, 2014
A lot of art work from the crew of "The Hobbit" movie. Besides there are two surprises for you under the cover of this book!
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on November 14, 2015
Fantastic Book of the Hobbit. I have seen all the Hobbit art books etc and this is the best of all of them. If you can only get one book, get this one. You can even read the full Billbo Burglar Contract at the end of the book. A must read. I won't spoil all the cool surprises in this book but you have to own this as a Hobbit fan. Also go to the Weta website and you can order handmade prop replicas of many Hobbit movie items...
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on February 18, 2013
I love all things Hobbit and so I was thrilled to get this book. It's great to see how very different the characters, specially the Dwarves, would've looked had they gone with their original makeup concepts for them. I'm so very happy with the end results. If you really loved the film then this book is a great companion. It talks about the design process for the sets and the characters.
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