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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


33, Cincinnati
United States

Date Posted: 2012-12-18
Tolkien Fan Level: 5
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

I do not want to waste much time with a review since most everybody will go and see this movie regardless of what I write, so I will sum up my thoughts concisely. The film is good, but not great. It needed a healthy dose of editing. At two hours and forty five minutes, it is fifteen minutes shorter than all three theatrical versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it felt three times as long.

The more important issue regarding The Hobbit is not about the story, the acting, or the special effects, but the film speed in which it was shot.

Peter Jackson decided to film The Hobbit with 48 fps (frames per second) 3D cameras. This is the first film to be shot at such a high frame rate (most films shoot around 24 fps, so this is double the speed) and the results have caused quite a controversy. Many people have complained that the high speed movements have given them nausea, and others have said that it detracts from the aesthetic of the movie.

The screening I attended last night was in RealD 3D with 48fps. Here are the pros and cons of my viewing experience last night.


The 3D is more immersive.

The 48 fps seems to clear up many of the issues that people have had with 3D movies in the past. There doesn’t appear to be a darkening of the screen (something that I never noticed, but I have heard many people complain about it) and the image is much sharper, clearer. It works quite well with The Hobbit’s many breathtaking landscapes. Whether it improves on what I call “the duck factor” is yet to be determined, as Peter Jackson does not bother to chuck objects at the viewers.

Eye strain is reduced.

3D tends to take your eyeballs and pop them out of your sockets to the point where you resemble a cartoon character that just saw something shocking. It hurts. It gives you headaches. 48fps not only cures that, but it also takes it a step further. With standard 3D viewings, if I turn my head even the slightest, the images melt into a messy pool of reds and blues. Last night, I noticed that the image was clean no matter what direction I stared at the screen.


The image is TOO clear.

The Lord of the Rings movies have a very distinct look about them, and it is obvious that Peter Jackson continued that look with The Hobbit. However, the 48fps seems to take away much of that style and cleaned it up, which isn’t a good thing. Much of The Hobbit ends up looking like a made-for-tv movie from the BBC. If you’ve ever watched anything made in England, you know the look I am talking about.

Movements are wonky.

When there are movements, either by the actors or by camera movement, the higher frame rate speeds them up to bizarre proportions. It gives many of the tense, emotional scenes an unintended and unwanted comical effect. Towards the beginning, there is a scene where young Bilbo is walking up t his front door, and I could clearly envision the composer throwing in some Benny Hill music to enhance the image.

The Ratings
The Other Ratings
Martin Freeman 's performance as Bilbo Baggins?
Richard Armitage 's performance as Thorin?
The Overall representation of The Dwarves ?
Andy Serkis' performance as Gollum?
Ian McKellen's performance as Gandalf?
Bilbo's retelling of the history of Erebor and of Thror/Thrain/Thorin
The Eagles rescue sequence?
The Goblin King ?
Initial impression of Thranduil?
Hugo Weaving's performance as Elrond?
Radagast's portrayal in the movie?
The representation of Goblintown?
Cate Blanchett's performance as Galadriel?
The Bag End Supper scene?
The scene of the Trolls?
The representation of the Arkenstone?
The Stone Giants?
Escape from the Goblin cave?
Riddles in the Dark scene?
The return to Rivendell?
The attack on the party by the Wargs
The first glimpses of Smaug?
The ending of the movie; in regards to leading well into the next film, and serving as a good ending point.
The overall pace of the film
Peter Jackson's vision in bringing the Hobbit to the big screen.

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