These pictures, courtesy of TheOneRing.net, appear to be from an upcoming video blog. Cannot wait for it! We get a sneak peek of Smaug behind-the-scenes, although it's probably not what you think it is.
It's Benedict Cumberbatch doing motion-capture.
How they managed to mo-cap a dragon off of a human, I'm not sure, but I am equally sure that the wizards at WETA are up to the challenge. What would have greatly helped them is if they did decide to make Smaug only four-limbed instead of six-limbed - i.e., with his wings and forelegs put together. While I would prefer a six-limbed dragon, the four-limbed layout has its scientific appeal: after all, there are no known vertebrates with six limbs.
I guess we'll find out.
Like Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch should win some sort of award for his facial expressions. Someone a while back on TORn started a thread about how *evil* and snake-like some of his expressions in Star Trek: Into Darkness were, and how perfect his Smaug is going to be. I agree whole-heartedly. He can be very scary when he wishes.
That is, of course, provided you ignore the gray dots and red "REC" flashing at the top of the screen, LOL.
How do you mo-cap breathing fire? Hmm. Oh... Hey, WETA! Now I *really*, *really* want to see diagrams of Smaug's innards in your next book. Because I want to know what sort of biological processes you have theorized would lead up to his ability to breathe fire. In the trailer it looks like you can see some sort of 'pilot light' in the back of Smaug's mouth. Come on, I know you've given thought to this!!! ENLIGHTEN US!!!
Okay, not in the die-a-fiery-death way.
Now for a sane picture (cue fangirls squeeing):
I'd say he got off easy. He doesn't appear to be wearing the skin-tight suit that Andy Serkis had to wear to play Gollum ("complete with obligatory matching underpants", as one vlog from LOTR said). That, or they didn't want to release pictures of that lest fangirls across the world suddenly develop severe nosebleeds.
...You know, I'm not sure whether I was sarcastic or sincere with that last comment. Ah, well. Fangirls will be fangirls.
As for me, I'm just repeating my mantra: "Smaug is gonna be awesome. We've got a dragon, we've got a dragon, we've got the best dragon in cinematic history..."
Only 51 days!
In Pace Christi,