Thursday, May 8, 2008

Smaug and His Environment

GDT has already commented over at the TORN message boards on some of the things we might expect for Smaug's design.

First, he said that the two best dragon designs, in his opinion is, the Eyvind Earle / Disney dragon from SLEEPING BEAUTY, and Vermitrax Pejorative from DRAGONSLAYER.

I have not seen DRAGONSLAYER (should I?) but I have vivid memories of the Malificent dragon from SLEEPING BEAUTY. I saw it on a huge screen at a drive-in movie theater in rural Indiana. My parents and I were parked in a brown Buick station wagon. The wagon was turned around, with the back opened up and I was lying on blankets and pillows watching the movie. The radio was tuned to the movie audio. On that drive-in screen, the dragon was enormous, scary (to a youn'un such as I) and beautiful. Just as striking was the fire and color that surrounded the dragon, making each frame a feast for the eyes. When GDT said over at TORN that, "Smaug is the perfect example of a great creature defined by its look and design, yes, but also, very importantly, by his movement and -One little hint- its environment", I can only hope he is channeling those images of Earle's dragon, with his black, elegant body traipsing through the fire and brimstone, with each flame, each rock, each cloud of smoke evoking the power of the dragon.

Here are some pictures of the great Eyvind Earle creation, and how the environment exudes just as much power and fear as the dragon itself.






For more on GDT's comments on Smaug, go here.

3 comments:

Neil said...

Oh my god, I had totally forgotten about Sleeping Beauty. And yet, it's a very specific memory in my childhood experience of the cinema. The totality of that huge dark room with a window onto wonder and magic and terror and beauty...

This was back in the day when you could smoke in theatres, so my memory of gogin to see Sleeping Beauty with my dad is wrapped in blue white light flickering through curling cigarette smoke.

My memory of the film, is vague. More to do with colour than anything. But that final image on your blog just brought things rushing back. I rememebr being scared by Melificent, and fascinated too... she really had that kind of presence and affect on me that the witch in Wizard of Oz had, incongruous to her surroundings, mesmerising and utterly terrifying. But that dragon...

Like it say, hazy... but i have a sense memory of being completely excited by it.

As for Dragonslayer? It's not a film that's ever really worked for me in terms of script and directing... but the dragon is a beauty. The full size head ain't always convincing, but the film is probably worth a view for a couple of shots in the caves near the climax, which feature some of the finest and most convincing stop motion that I've ever seen in terms of their reality.

GDT is spot on tems of reference here. This excites me so much.

Moonglum of Elwher said...

I am totally with you on the Sleeping Beauty dragon, your wonderful post here brought back this imagery to my mind. Thank you.

E. Kubinek said...

Sleeping Beauty was my favorite film when I was a little girl.
And Melificent in her Dragon form is one of my favorite images EVER.

If that is the direction GDT is taking for Smaug, all I can think is WOW!