The Hobbit in HFR

Plenty of fuss is going around regarding Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, largely over the decision to film at 48 frames per second, twice as fast as traditional movies.

I had the chance to see it this weekend, at the proper high frame rate, and must say it’s a great feat. Now, I’m not completely on the 3D trend yet, and still think it’s way overpriced – paying an extra $3 for a pair of plastic glasses is just short of a scam. In my mind, it’s still a gimmick from Hollywood to boost ticket sales.

I truth, only Avatar and The Hobbit have been truly good 3D movies. They were filmed in 3D, not post-converted.

The Hobbit uses the high frame rate to great success. Its use is very obvious from the start, with a fast-paced opening scene displaying the big difference. The action seems faster, the camera movements are more obvious and the detail of sets is exquisite. In terms of cinematography, The Hobbit is a picturesque adventure, just like The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson appeared to be right at home when we first ventured back into The Shire, featuring a welcome return to some familiar faces.

While the landscapes and visual components of the movie are rock solid, the writing tends to be a bit erratic.

Unlike the Rings trilogy, the company of dwarves doesn’t really inspire much bonding between them and the audience. Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn in the other series immediately captured our attention, and carried that all throughout the series. Even the other three hobbits, Sam, Merry and Pippin all had their special moments and were identifiable from the start. Here, unfortunately, a pack of 13 dwarves is a bit too much to follow. While many have their moments, between large meals and escaping danger, they don’t entice the audience to attach to them. Only a handful of characters really get that honor.

It’s unfortunate that the characters should spoil this first movie, because the filming is so very good in The Hobbit. It’s visually impressive, but stumbles with the character problems. Not even appearances from other Rings trilogy characters can help bond the band of dwarves.
Overall, the movie is worth seeing. There is a certain nostalgia to The Hobbit, which makes it an entertaining movie, and should help make an entertaining trilogy. While the storyline has its problems, it’s always nice to make a return visit to Middle Earth.

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