32, New York
Date Posted: 2012-12-17
Tolkien Fan Level: 6
Film Format Seen? Imax 3D 48 fps
Will view again in a different format? Yes
In almost every aspect this film is superb, and that is to be expected when it was written, produced, designed, scored and filmed by the same crew that brought us The Lord of the Rings. Martin Freeman presents an excellent Bilbo - funny, befuddled and believable, while Ian McKellen's Gandalf is as enjoyable as ever. The adaptation is very interesting, both in terms of the mixture of The Hobbit with materials from the LOTR appendices, and also in that the way the story unfolds was made to be parallel to that of The Fellowship of the Ring. From this installment alone off of the new trilogy, it seems that Jackson does not overkill the film with quotes (visual and otherwise) but rather uses these to create a sense of parallel-ness and familiarity with its predecessors. There are many conceptual equivalences, but these serve the plot for the most part. Howard Shore introduces some new themes, while reprising many old ones. On the whole his soundtrack does the job, but I suppose he'll have more freedom to develop new themes over the next two films. One thing that stood out is the use of the Evil theme (for lack of a better name), the one we heard for the first time in the beginning of FOTR when Bilbo has a hard time letting go of the ring. I find the use of this theme to be exaggerated, but then - that might simply imply something that is yet to be revealed in the next installments. Regarding HFR/24fps/3D - I have seem the film twice. The first time was HFR/3D. 3D isn't an issue at all, and that is great. Jackson utilizes the 3rd dimension to only add a little depth to the field, and does not make a theme park ride out of the entire film. HFR, on the other hand, is a weird experience and not entirely a good one. It might just be that we're used to the motion blur of traditional 24fps, but one can't help but be reminded of BBC documentaries and the likes. For the epic scenes - battles, action of sorts and fast movements, as well as slow motion shots - it does great service and makes them even more enjoyable than they would otherwise be. For "smaller scenes" - dialogues and the such - it just feels weird and throws you out of the story, which is the worst thing for a film, moreso a fantasy. It is not subtle at all and noticeable even from the initial Warner Brothers logo. But then I went to see it again today, this time in 24fps. The experience was perfect in that there was no distraction and the movie was still great, but I can't help but admit that 48fps/HFR simply looks BETTER, especially for the epic scenes. Conclusion - if I could do it over again I'd go see it in 24fps for the first time and that's what I'd recommend. If you find that you like it as much as I do then go see it again in HFR and witness the full glory of some of the sequences (and the weirdness of others).
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