The Hobbit 3D, High Frame Rate

Tags: movies, The Hobbit

Slogr by Slogr

Let's get this part out of the way quickly.  The high frame rate was distracting for most of the movie.  It kills the depth of field that movies shot in digital were plagued with in the early days.  It feels a little like watching an HD football game for the first time, but with Orcs and Dwarves and a Wizard and giant Eagles and a beleaguered Halfling.  The first hour of the movie, I kept forgetting and then noticing anew just how (too) clear it was whenever they would show a closeup of someone. 

The Hobbit

And then I saw Gollum, and it all paid off.  That's right folks who haven't read the book.  I just spoiled Gollum for you, but that's OK.  Gollum is just as awesome as he always has been, but the high frame rate and ULTRA clear picture brings out emotions and subtle tics in his face that you probably would have never seen otherwise.  He's just amazing I didn't think it was possible that I could love him any more than I already did in Lord of the Rings.  After you see Gollum, you pretty much forget about the high definition experience.  It's like the whole time you're trying to find a reason not to hate it and then after you see gollum, you get it and just let it go.

The movie itself is really well put together. In some ways, it feels like a Japanese manga where the author is unafraid to spend a very long time developing each detail of a story.  Peter Jackson was in no rush to push you between plot points, but I never felt like the movie was plodding.  It's not a pace that you expect from a movie, but I'm finding that the more I think about it, the more I appreciate it.  He takes extra moments to fill out a character here or there that he might not have normally done if he hadn't completely proved himself with the LOTR series.  It's the same kind of arrogance that lets you extend a set of three hour movies into a twelve hour extended edition.  It's the kind of detail Tolkien fans will love.  When George Lucas did his second trilogy, he should have traveled into the future and watched this.  It was childishly funny in places and had more singing than a serious movie would be expected to, but it all seemed to fit and work well in the world in which the movie is set.  He also built in little ties to the Lord of the Rings which I might have appreciated more had I not been distracted by the high resolution at the time.  It felt a little tacked on, but I was having trouble suspending disbelief of the oh-so-realistic Bag End.

The dwarves all did a great job of being Dwarves, without chewing the scenery or going over the top.  The battle scenes really put into context why they were put together as a company and eventually why Bilbo fit well within it.  It was also nice to see some more depth painted into Gandalph. Without giving too much away, you really begin to understand his relationship with the Elves, and see patterns emerging that would really pay off in Lord of the Rings.

And then there's Martin Freeman.  I love this guy.  His Bilbo is neurotic and understated and quietly brave.  Everything you'd expect and more.  I've appreciated Freeman's work as Watson in BBC's Sherlock, so I was extremely excited to see he was going to be playing our favorite Hobbit protagonist.  Fans of Sherlock will also note Benedict Cumberbatch in the credits, but you'll have a hard time seeing him.  

Overall I recommend the movie.  I plan to see it again in 2D with "normal" frame rate, for a comparison, but if this is how movies are going to evolve, I think I can get used to it.

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