I'm late to the party as always, mostly due to work. But I did listen to the main trailer in which we heard Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug.
The whole "come now, don't be shy..." line sold it to me.
There we go, that's Smaug's personality. Baiting and seducing the tasty burglar to come out and be either eaten or roasted.
I seem to recall about three years ago, I posted all these internet speculations on what Smaug's voice would be like and who would play it. And apparently, yeah, we all got it wrong.
It wasn't Jeremy Irons. Thank God!
It wasn't James Earl Jones.
It wasn't Brad Dourif either, though I kinda hoped it would be.
It was Benedict Cumberbatch.
And as you can see, he's playing an airplane, I mean DRAGON!
I swear, revealing the design on a Boeing-777 is both silly and awesome at the same time!
But score one for us, we finally got a size measurement of our favorite gold hoarding dragon, right?
As for the tons, I'm guessing he's close to Jonathan's weight, as in 640 tons. Close, maybe a little lighter, but close.
Anyway. I'm sure many of you know who Ben Cumberbatch is. He's the guy who plays Sherlock Holmes in the BBC programme, and for us Americans, he played Khan in Star Trek into Darkness.
I swear that title needs a colon.
And apparently he's played Humphrey Bogart....What?
Yeah, imagine if you will, Smaug saying: "See ya, sweetheart." with a heavy Bronx accent and a lisp. And then belching fire.
But, the main issue of the old blog was whether or not they were going to have Smaug speak. Hell, whether or not they were going to have any of the animals speak in the movie. But importantly, if Smaug was going to speak. And I recalled some idiot saying that it wouldn't be a good idea, it would be too kiddy or something. Someone find that guy and crucify his balls for me.
Thank God that guy was wrong!
And having Smaug yell: "I am King Under the Mountain!" Prefect. He actually said that line in the book. Well, he said something like this. "You will know full well who is the true King Under the Mountain!" And yes, he was referring to himself. Hell, even the Men of Lake Town, the descendants of Dale even said: "The Dragon's the only King Under the Mountain I've ever known."
Yup, Smaug's King Under the Mountain, people. He is. Bow to King Smaug the Golden! Until Thorin returned to challenged his reign, which was basically him sleeping on a gold hoard while the Men of Lake Town just fished and bartered with the Wood Elves, it was a pretty good reign.
But I will say, they did a proper job choosing Ben. Here's the reason. Ben Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have worked together in the past before. They worked as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. And from what I have seen from clips of that show, they work off each other very well. So, bringing in two actors who pretty much know how each other act, that's a very good choice and it will help make the exchange between Smaug and Bilbo seem more realistic. That was the other issue we discussed in the last journal three years ago. How exactly were they going to work off each other especially when Martin is on set with a green screen and Cumberbatch is basically in a studio doing mocap for Smaug. I'm hoping in the behind the scenes that Cumberbatch has appeared on set and sat behind the camera saying his lines to Martin as Smaug for Martin to work off of.
That is very important. Because it allows Martin to naturally react to Ben's voice when they are doing that convo. And I hope there's two descent down into the lair and not one.
In the original book, Bilbo went down twice. The first time, he went down, he stole a chalice. Smaug woke up, saw the missing cup, got pissed and flew off to beat the mountain side with his fire. He ate the Dwarve's ponies, which of course gave him a scent of who was really on the mountain. Though he couldn't pin down Bilbo's scent because he's never smelled hobbit before, he knew who it was Bilbo was traveling with. Also, after the conversation, Smaug then deduced that Bilbo and Thorin and the Dwarves came up from the river, followed it all the way to Lake Town, which led him down river to Lake Town, to burn it in vengeance, and eventually got shot by Bard during the raid.
So, I do hope there is two descents. The original Hobbit cartoon we all know from 1977, Bilbo only went down once, and that was to talk with Smaug. And in that cartoon, Smaug confused Bilbo for being one of the Lake Men and he flew off and burned the town. Though I like Richard Boone, he got all the boast that made Smaug, but none of the sinister and calculating or problem solving that Smaug was famous for.
So, that's why we need two descents down instead of one.
Also, I do hope the raid on Lake Town is long, but fast past and very dramatic. It was very short in the cartoon, and in the book, well, we never really saw Bard slaying the dragon. We just have him come up to the mountain and then in a flashback, saw him slay Smaug.
And from what I got in the movie, they're building that raid up. We have Bard even saying: "You dwarves are stupid if you think you can go up there and just yank the gold from under Smaug's belly! You'll bring the dragon's wrath down here. He'll cook and eat us alive all because of you greedy, short, hairy, smelly men! Fuck you and your quest."
Well, not like that, but it's pretty much the general idea. From what I remember about Bard in the book, he was having like a fight with the Master of Lake Town, and he didn't like him, and it was the Master who didn't want the Dwarves up on the mountain. And Bard, to piss him off, let the Dwarves go up there.
Of course, in the cartoon, Bard was like: "Yeah, sure, go for it! We got your back, yo!" And then everyone cheers.
I almost want to say Bard's attitude in PJ's movie is kinda like Baine and Vol'jin's attitude towards Garrosh when he decided to blow up Theramore.
And they're all like: "You want to go and destroy the home of a dragon who can pretty much make our species extinct? Are you fucking crazy?"
I hope this now clarifies why Vol'jin and Baine were acting the way they were when they headed down to Theramore, knowing Neltharion was there to defend it.
Like Smaug and his gold, except when Garrosh tried to be like Bard and shoot Nel with a elementium jacketed tungsten shell, it didn't stop that dragon, like Bard's arrow stopped Smaug. It only made the Black Dragon even more pissed off. And then Neltharion broke the gates of Orgrimmar.
Alright, I need to get back to writing that story.
So, we is gonna have fun with this movie. I won't be able to see it opening night. I'm working that night. But I will be able to see it on my day off at matinee. And my day off is on 5 dollar Tuesday at my theater, so it works out even better, and cheaper for me.