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Book Review: The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - A Visual Companion / Author: Judie Fisher / Publisher: HarperCollins / Release Date: Out Now

There and back again, A Hobbits Tale by Bilbo Baggins. This is the story, well the first part anyway, that will be hitting silver screens in just under a month. Peter Jackson is revisiting the world he so expertly brought to life over ten years ago. With returning characters, a host of new faces and a threesome of greedy trolls, a little help in understanding the world may be just what people need.

This help comes in the form of The Hobbit: A Visual Companion. The first thing that is apparent is the attention to detail in the costumes, authenticity of the locations and dedication to maintaining the lore that has been established. With so many characters it would be hard to get a clear grasp of who is who, especially for someone who is unfamiliar with the world. After all, this is set before the award winning trilogy, so viewing of that isn’t essential.

This book describes in detail the characters, their motives and shows what they look like. This is excellently done and while the dwarves are themselves one race, each one is given their own unique look. This may be through their quirky hair styles, their armour or the weapons they wield. Weapons after all, are a reflection of a culture and how that culture is defended. The diversity in cultures is something conveyed well in the look of the film and the book gives good examples what these look like, particularly in the architecture. The standout image is the interior of Rivendell, with its smooth stonework interwoven with the foliage that surrounds it. The organic theme of the elves carries through from the architecture to clothes that the characters wear. Consistency has been ensured by the makers of this film, so the link can made with Jackson’s first foray into Middle-earth. There are also some incredible images of the more menacing locations such as Gollum’s cave and the lair of the Goblin King. While the story has been split into 3 parts, this book gives an indication that the scale is anything but small.

There are some surprise images which show characters in location they are perhaps not expected to be in. Overall the Companion has captured how much work has gone into the aesthetic of the film and with a foreword by the lead actor Martin Freeman, it’s clear that those involved behind the scenes and on the screen are passionate about the film being made. When the auditorium goes dark on December 14th, let’s hope we are all taken on an unexpected journey of thrilling cinematic excitement.

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