It feels like forever since we’ve seen new artwork for the Desolation of Smaug. Now, we have some — from the Barrels out of Bond scene with the company sweeping downriver towards away from Thranduil’s underground stronghold toward Esgaroth.
Some quick and immediate impressions, with a warning for some minor spoiler discussion, just in case.
1) Highly stylised artwork. This is key art that gets used promotionally on poster, toy packaging, calendars, Facebook photos, desktop backgrounds, board games. Like the famous Scroll image that debuted last year, this is not an actual movie still, although we will undoubtedly see something very similar in the film.
2) Arrows. Arrows are embedded in one of the barrels. Supports the idea from the trailer that the Company is dramatically attacked during their escape. Whether that is by Mirkwood elves, or by orcs, remains to be seen.
3) Timing. Is Warner Bros. trying to distract us with new and shiny things so we forget all about that Beorn image?
4) No lids. In the novel, Bilbo wholly seals his friends inside the barrels. This watercolour by Tolkien himself shows precisely how the Professor envisaged it. We already knew this deviation was coming from the production blogs, but seeing the finished reality will be certain to frustrate some. What do you think of the decision?
5) Attitude. Again, in the novel, most of the Company emerges from the ordeal in a positively miserable state. Thorin emerges with “a famished and a savage look like a dog that has been chained and forgotten in a kennel for a week.” Bilbo catches cold, thag you very buch! Are they having too much fun?