Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"The Hobbit" 3D HFR: Review

I checked out "The Hobbit" over the weekend and I thought I should get my two cents in. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is the first of three planned films that will cover the entirety of "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The film covers the first six chapters of the book through "Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fire". While the story of the film is more accurate to the text than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson took some noticeable liberties with scenes in the film. In addition to this, Jackson seems to really be selling this as full prequel rather than using it as its own story with natural connections to LOTR. Going so far as to add a scene on the day of Bilbo's 111th  birthday, the first scene of "Fellowship of the Ring". While this is not a major issue, it makes some needless confusion for those who have not seen the LOTR movies or do not watch them annually as I do.

As far as the story goes, it is pretty solid if you enjoyed the book. I enjoyed all the performances by the new and old cast members. If you were looking for something to really poke at with this film, it would be the length. At nearly three hours long, "the Hobbit" seems to just keep going and going. It seems hard to believe that there will be two more films this length to cover the rest of the book. This may be the first time that people really want a directors cut that is shorter than the original. I have seen some complaints about pacing, but whatever their qualms were, they didn't really apply to my viewing pleasure.

Now, on to the technological meat of my review. "The Hobbit" was viewable in about six different formats and I went with 3D high frame rate viewing. The high frame rate was strange, not inherently bad, but different than any other movie I have seen before. Since the cameras are picking up more images per second, you can see every little thing that is happening. If the smallest breeze rustles a shirt, you can see it. It felt like I was on set and seeing the actors in person. Makeup and prosthetics were fairly noticeable, as were CGI animations. From this I have determined that the curse of HFR is that everything fake looks fake. Martin Freeman's ears look like fake ears, fake dwarf noses look fake and many quick moving CGI characters look like animations from a videogame. By the end of the film I had grown accustomed to the new format, but don't go in expecting a normal film experience.

So here is my suggestion for those considering HFR, do you want to see a new unperfected technology in practice? If you said yes check out the HFR, but if you just want to see a lengthy but pleasant adventure, stick to the standard viewing.


I Give "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" a 6 out of 10 with hopes that Jackson changes a few things up for the next two films.

-Peter