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Ringer Reviews - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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Ringer Review - NAME


Date Posted: 2012-12-18
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes

I grew up with Middle-earth - reading the books and forming my own vision of Middle-earth. When the LOTR movies came out I enjoyed them greatly even though Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-earth didn't match mine. After all, we are all free to have our own vision. I loved the detail, focus on different cultures, soundtrack, costume and weapon design, and overall immersion into Middle-earth that the LOTR movies brought me. I have been waiting since 2003 for The Hobbit.

My first viewing (still my first but with plans to see it again soon) of AUJ was the midnight showing at our local cinema in 3D 48FPS. Being very curious about the new technology, I had been convinced to see it in the new high frame rate. I had read reviews about the early HFR concerns being "like a soap opera" or a "Public Television documentary" in regards to the lighting and feel but I was hoping to have it so clear that I would "be in Middle-earth".

Unfortunately I don't think I ever got used to the HFR. Even on the closing scene it was still noticeable and drew me out of the experience. I had hoped to be drawn into Middle-earth like the LOTR movies had but this was not the case.

I found HFR to add a clarity of movement that I wasn't able to overcome in many of the high action and heavy CGI scenes, namely the destruction of Erebor and Dale and the Radagast fast bunny sled scenes. In my mind, these scenes were not effective at all and made it too obvious that something was not right.

That said, I did find the riddles in the dark with Gollum, the Great Goblin speaking and the slow, vista scenes of the Eagles soaring to be breathtaking. Ironically, it seemed to me the scenes that were the most uncomfortable for me in HFR were the high action scenes - exactly the scenes that HFR is supposed to enhance with minimizing motion blur.

Martin Freemean as Bilbo was incredible. The costumes and differences of the dwarves were great to see. Azog didn't "fit" into Middle-earth - he was somehow too different than the other Orcs. I didn't give 5 rings on any of the ratings above because I was constantly aware of the HFR and this tainted my viewing experience.

All this said, I am looking forward to a second viewing but this time in 2D 24FPS to hopefully be awed and drawn into Middle-earth just like I remember with LOTR those many years ago.

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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