Date Posted: 2012-12-16
Tolkien Fan Level: 4
Film Format Seen? 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
If I could summarize this film in one word, it would be: OVERWHELMING! In two: OVERWHELMING and BEAUTIFUL! In three, however, I might say: OVERWHELMING, BEAUTIFUL and SETUP. I will explain each in turn.
1) Overwhelming. Seeing the film in the way it was intended - 48fps, 3D - was an experience unlike anything I have felt probably since I first saw Lothlorien in FOTR 11 years ago. The technology transports you like nothing else ever has (or perhaps will) into the film itself, and I felt strapped to my seat by the immensity of what I was seeing in front of me. 2) Beautiful. The sets, the makeup, the costumes, the art, and yes, the CGI - even on Azog - was amazing beyond words! Combined with the new format, I forgot I was seeing digitally-rendered images most of the time, especially in the most dazzling sequence of the film: Rescue by the eagles. The score has been a little unfairly critiqued in my opinion; although it is perhaps a bit too repetitive in themes overall, it's still beautiful, and I welcome the return of Howard Shore. 3) Setup. This, perhaps, is where I understood - if only a teeny bit - the mixed reactions from mainstream critics to the film. The subplots involving Radaghast, Dol Guldur and Azog all seemed a bit out-of-place with the quest for the Lonely Mountain as originally portrayed in the novel, and perhaps some of this can be blamed on the way the film was edited by Jackson (the cuts looked a little rushed to me at some parts vs. beautiful and lingering at others, e.g. Radaghast in Rhosgobel vs. the Bag End sequence). HOWEVER, I believe that this is all largely due to the fact that this is only the first act of three, and so the film was tasked with the unfortunate role of being the setup for the grander, more important battles and character conflicts to follow. Given how well this first film turned out, though, I have every confidence that the next two will build on what was established here and most likely surpass it.
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