The Hobbit- an unexpected journey

If you loved LOTR- you will love this.
If you hated LOTR- you will hate this.

Its really that simple. The almost 3 hour run time flew by for me. The actors were perfect, simply perfect. Martin Freeman is the idea actor to play young Bilbo. Richard Armitage hit it out of the park as Thorin, and Ian McKellan returns to what will absolutely be his greatest role- Gandalf. The other returning cast members were a welcome sight, especially Andy Serkis as Gollum, who once again captivates. There was not much time to get to know all 12 of the other dwarves, but most of them had a scene or two, with focus on a select few for dramatic reasons.

We chose to see it in the new HFR format of 48 frames per second 3D. Normal movies are 24 frames. At first, the experience was jarring. Everything seemed to be moving WAY too fast. Our eyes are used to seeing films move in a certain way and all that extra visual information breaks your brain for a few seconds hehe. After those few seconds of adjustment, I was amazed at the detail on screen. After a few minutes I was hooked.In a rainy scene, you can see almost every drop of rain. Fire looks closer to “reality fire” on screen (something I never realized was deficient before). This HFR reminds me of the jump from film to digital 10 years ago. It seems off and wrong at first, but after a while you start to love the overwhelming benefit of the new format. I am not sure if this will ever be adopted across the board for most or all cinemas, but it should be used on every big budget Hollywood action film. For the first time, I did not feel cheated by the extra 3 bucks they charge for 3D.

Speaking of 3D. this is also the first 3D film to that gave me no eye fatigue due to motion blur!. With all those extra frames, the blur is replaced with motion and the eyes are quite thankful!

What follows are my replies to some of the complaints being put forward by critics:

The 48 fps made the CGI look fake.
The CGI was top notch, and more realistic than ever. I feel the 48 frames helped it.

The story was boring, and not a stand alone film.
The story well constructed while being very faithful to the novel. I did not feel that it was an incomplete story. While it was obviously the first of three chapters, there is a narrative that reaches a resolution in the last scenes. It centers on Bilbo and his journey to be accepted as a member of the Dwarven Group.

The “additional material” introduced from the voluminous backstory of LOTR was unneeded and terrible.
Rather than be put off by the additional material they inserted into the story, I was fascinated by it, and enjoyed every extra second. I am only vaguely familiar with these plot points, so it was terrific to see it played out. It did not stretch out the movie to unreasonable lengths. It added only a few scenes to the final picture.

Radagast is the new Jar Jar Binks.
Radagast the Brown Wizard is not the Jar Jar of these films. please critics… He, and his rabbits, are pretty awesome. Plus who could hate Sylvester McCoy?! He’s great.

The film is too violent. Nonsense. It is no more violent than the first 3 films, and no one complained too loudly back then.

The 48 frames make the film look cheap.
This one has merit, but not for the reasons put forward by critics in what I feel is an attempt to destroy the new format at birth. Many television programs use a higher frame rate. British television seemed to use it quite a bit in the 70’s. Because we have only experienced these sort of visuals in what is perceived to be a “cheaper” format, we immediately associate it as being a lesser product. While I was taken in by the story, I was also forcing myself to be conscious of production value. LOTR films are notorious for insane attention to detail when it comes to sets and props. This film is no different. There was no cheap there. There was certainly no cheap from the actors, and it was not present in the CGI. The cinematography, particularly in battle sequences, was spectacular, and not cheap looking. Final verdict- this one is purely bias due to prior experience.

The 48 frames make it seem less fantasy and more reality- taking you out of the experience.
Obviously, there are no trolls, elves, dwarves, hobbits, rock monsters, magical elven cities, and orcs in reality. But the frame rate does give it a more realistic style. There is something to that complaint, but I feel it is completely up to the individual. Personally, it did not take me out of “Middle Earth” but instead drew me in.

Its late, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. hehe. If you have questions- shoot away! As a guinea pig for those hesitant to try it out in 48, I am happy to help answer questions. I do, however, recommend that you see it for yourself regardless. Its a good movie!

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