Date Posted: 2012-12-23
Tolkien Fan Level: 7
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? No
Let me first get the technical stuff out of the way. For all it's worth 48fps is neither the holy grail of film making nor is it a curse. I've had much time to get used to higher frame rates since I own a tv-set that is capable of augmenting pictures for exactly the kind of smoothed transitions and movement Peter Jackson was looking for. Therefore it didn't put me off, yet it also didn't make me into an zealous advocate for the format. It has major benefits, yet it does not magically make the picture more pristine or crisp.
It does not, as the naysayers claim strip movies of their magic but it also doesn't turn the screen into a window. Now to the movie itself: Within the lore of middle-earth as interpreted by Peter Jackson this one very much holds up to what was there before. This is both a blessing and a curse because it does tend to strip the story of the Hobbit of it's lighter childlike tone which is not always a good thing. Also it suffers in places from the typical overdramatization of the plot or shots just as we have seen it in the LOTR's lesser moments. I didn't care for the ominous slow motion when we witness how the Ring slips out of Gollums pocket. I would have prefered for a much more casual entrance like in the book having it just sit there on the ground. My most major critizism is what the script makes out of Thorin. He's not nearly as regal or aged as he is in the book and I have major issues with that. It seems to me that the writers made another decision which is basically against the style of the source material. Just as the LOTR movies were too Frodo-centric, this one is to Thorin-centric or better not focused enough on Bilbo. It all feels repetive. The same conflicts again, the same landscapes (I really hated the scene where they flee across the plain towards Rivendell because they obviously shot it in the same location they have already sold us as the plains of Rohan.), the same plot-points. I'm sure that the movies will tie in nicely with LOTR at the end, I'm just not sure if that is really a good thing. A little more independence from the much heavier second part of Tolkiens tale, a little less grandness in scope, would have benefited the movie. Yet I still want more.
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