I remember being thoroughly excited to see Smaug in the second The Hobbit film. First of all, we'd been through an entire first film bereft of dragon action (teases do not count, Peter Jackson). Secondly, Benedict Cumberbatch voiced Smaug, the terrible dragon. And while I know that Cumberbatch also filmed the motion capture bits that would go onto create Smaug in his entirety, I had to admit, I was disappointed that they'd altered Cumberbatch's already dragon-like voice. Heading into The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies , I had to wonder, [spoiler alert] if Smaug barely made it past the first 15 minutes of the movie (because oh yeah, they have to kill the dragon in order to get to that five armies part) was Cumberbatch still voicing the dragon? Couldn't they get any old person mutter "arghhhhh-gurgle-gurgle" when Bard finally pierced the beast with his arrow?
Sure, they could have. But when Peter Jackson hires you, it's sort of a package deal.
So while Cumberbatch's dragon barely musters more than a line or two in Five Armies (it's hard to get chatty when you're spewing streams of fire from your mouth every 15 seconds) before pirouetting languidly into his watery grave below, the role still serves as a credit for everyone's favorite Sherlock Holmes portrayer.
Still, I can't help but be slightly disappointed in the whole affair. Call me crazy, but just listen to Cumberbatch voice Smaug in the video below — before his voice was altered — and tell me his voice wasn't perfectly perfect just the way God made it: