The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Part 2)
Alright, I feel like I have to chime in on the visuals of this movie. Yes, the production values look very consistent with the first trilogy. Yes, the special effects are up to Middle Earth Par, especially the Eagles. Well, okay, the goofier stuff not so much (i.e. The Goblin King). But what I really want to discuss is of course the 48 frames per second.
I may be accused of being afraid of change. I’ve been accused of that before, and that’s fine. But in reality, I’m not afraid of it, I understand that progress is a crucial part of life. What I am against is change for the sake of change and blind “progress” which is given little thought put into it and more hype because its “the wave of the future”. I don’t have a smart phone because I see no practical purpose to have one in my life. I don’t bother with Netflix because I see it as choosing convenience over quality.
And I don’t like the idea of faster frame rates because it destroys the illusionary aspect of movies.
I know Peter Jackson believes that this is simply going to be the norm for film-making in a few years, and he may well be right. But judging on what I saw with The Hobbit, I hope it isn’t. The frame rate gives the characters on film awkward movements which can be really off-putting. The moments when this is really bad are times when you see close-up actions such as Bilbo pulling things from his chest or hands grabbing at food on the table. It looks cheap. It looks like a homemade movie. What it doesn’t look like is a movie. in fact, in the prologue they show the city of Dale, and because it looked so realistic, the costume design and sets looked so fake I was disgusted. With 24 fps second, I probably would have fooled and would have been pulled into that world.
Granted, as the film went on, I noticed it less. However every once in a while some action scenes would really show it off again and jar me out of the experience. I will give the new technology credit for making the 3D flow more smoothly mind you. It wasn’t as blurry and disjointed as 3D tends to be (the Eagle scene is a great example of this), but since I don’t really care about 3D this didn’t really matter to me.
I am glad that I saw it in 48 fps, since I have been extremely curious about this “new leap forward”. I wondered if it was the next best thing our generation would have to adding sound to picture, or the introduction of Technicolor. Now I just hope that it doesn’t catch on since this is an example of progress made simply for the sake of progress and not necessarily for the betterment of film.
Overall I would probably give The Hobbit an 8/10, however if I wasn’t a massive Tolkien fan this would probably be lower. I’ve decided to keep the 48fps out of the score, for that would probably have dropped it down as well.