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Sir PJ, I have a bone to pick with you about The Hobbit…

I think it’s time that I write down my thoughts on The Hobbit as most of my readers have probably seen it.

Before I move on I’d just like to add that I’ve seen the film twice, so I really don’t feel like I can go into detail on the story as I still find the multum of plots overwhelming.

I think I’ll need to see the film a handful of times before I’m anywhere close to being able to

Anyway, this post will be about something that really bugged me the first time I saw the film and not a full-blown review.


As you know, I ended up seeing The Hobbit in Odeon in Leicester Square in London as the big man (meaning Sir PJ) intended, meaning HFR 3D.

All 3 Hobbit movies were shot by capturing 48 frames per second rather than the film industry standard 24.

This means that a HFR movie has less motion blur and has crystal clarity.

What happens is the end product stops resembling a movie and looks like a HD TV program.

And it drove me absolutely nuts.

 At times I felt like instead of the ‘cinema’ look, I got a Discovery Channel HD documentary.

I felt like the new technology had actually stripped the movie from its big screen magic.

Don’t get me wrong, the less blurs on Thorin and Kili, the better, but the end product distracted me from the story.

I respect Sir PJ’s drive for technological advancement in the motion picture experience, but it’s a shame no one stood up and pointed out that he has a wonderful story, a great cast, the success of the LOTR trilogy egging him on and sometimes less in truly more.

Thorin Kili Fili Glasses

I share a similar thought on the 3D aspect.

Was it really vital for the story?

I haven’t seen The Hobbit in 2D so I can’t pass judgment, but I’m venturing a guess that the beautiful images and enthralling acting will stand alone and capture the viewer’s attention.

After all, the dwarvish tale is no Avatar.

I really wish Sir PJ had gotten rid of all the bells and whistles and trusted in the movie he could have made.

What do you think?

Have you had a chance to see The Hobbit in HFR 3D?

Kili Aidan Turner glasses

About Agzy The Ripper

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24 responses »

  1. I couldn’t disagree with you more! I’ve watched it in HFR 3D twice and loved it both times. I’m unable to watch films in 3D at 24fps as I am unable to focus on the screen and end up with a migraine so this was a real pleasure and for me a revelation.

    I’m not interested in 3D that has things jumping out at me and such-like and as RA said in an interview, more than anything else, the 3D in The Hobbit gave it depth. I was able to immerse myself in Middle-Earth to the extent that I honestly felt I could have stepped out of my seat and into that world. I was blown away by the clarity and was totally transported far away in a way that 2D has never achieved…for me at least.

    HFR was always going to divisive and PJ will have known that. It fascinates me how so many people have such different experiences while watching the same thing. But then, that’s life I guess 🙂

  2. I’ve seen The Hobbit in HFR 3D 3 times. I don’t know why, but I really like it. The clear pictures and detail is something I adore. Being a photographer and all I quite like the Discovery Channel Documentary thing, although I didn’t experience it as such. Maybe because I’m all ‘young’ and used to these things. LOL. Going to see it for the 4th time tomorrow. Don’t know if it’ll be HFR 3D again or something else. But I don’t mind the HFR. Not at all. 🙂

    • Well, maybe I just had really high expectations. I thought the film was OK the first time I saw it, it felt much more interesting the second time around (24 frames) but people seem to really enjoy it, especially those who aren’t Tolkien/Armitage/Turner/LOTR fans. This means that perhaps I built the movie up to be something that it could never be. Having said that I’m really trying to love it and I will be seeing it a few times and I can’t wait to get it on DVD.

      • Can’t wait for the DVD as well! It’s a good film. I love the story. And I really ship Thorin & Bilbo’s relationship. Thorin is so darn grumpy and stubborn all the time and I love it – I am exactly like that around the house as well! But then there are times when I realise ‘damn, I’m sorry’. LOL.

        You and I will have to lower our expectations to the ground for the next film, so we’ll be all blown away. 😉

        • I agree, I’m sticking my expectations in the gutter so it can shoot sky high 🙂
          It’s not that I didn’t like the story, I found it more fragmented but less meaty than LOTR, although the dwarves were wonderful. I was especially surprised by the plate cleaning dwarf musical number. Adorable!!!

  3. I hear you, Agzy! It was different to what I was used to from cinema so far, but in the end I actually quite enjoyed the superior detail of 48fps. I was more annoyed with the 3D issue, tbh, which I find quite useless, particularly the second time I watched. It would be interesting to go and see the film in 2D just for comparison.
    PS: The graphics with the bespectacled dwarves is just hilarious! Love it.

    • Thanks G, I just felt like glasses were the way to go, maybe due to the 3D talk? I’m planning on seeing the movie in 2D but it will be my third viewing therefore I can hardly judge how the format influences my like or dislike or the story.
      I do need to underline that I did appreciate seeing Richard and Aidan in such a sharp and clear manner. All that was missing was a scratch and sniff LOL!

  4. My experience was much the same as yours, Agzy. I went into the film expecting to love the HFR and walked away disappointed by how much it distracted me from the actual movie. However, I suspect that a lot of the distraction has to do with my own brain and how it processes things. That idea is strengthened by having heard so many friends rave about the HFR.

    As far as Peter Jackson being able to rely on a great story without the bells and whistles, unfortunately, I don’t think we live in a world where that really works anymore. If he were making an art house film it would be one thing, but with blockbusters, and especially a blockbuster tied to LOTRs, there were certain expectations he had to try and meet or exceed. Things like 3D are pretty common place now, and while the HFR didn’t do it for me, I appreciate that PJ was trying to improve the 3D experience, instead of post conversion 3D or even standard blurry 3D. We have to remember that for the studios the primary issue is making money. Sure they want the film to not get panned by critics, but money is the bottom line. The 3D means pricier tickets and the variety of formats has people (some of whom would normally only see the film once) going back for multiple viewings, which all lead to more revenue. It also puts the movie at an advantage over other films that are only released in 2D, because people are paying more to see it.

    I apologize for seemly writing you a book. 😉 I’m still working through my thoughts on all things Hobbit related. Maybe its time for another viewing.

    • High five Jas 🙂 I also feel like I need to work my way through what it is I feel about The Hobbit and I’m trying to be careful with stating my opinions. I’m actually really happy the movie did very well at the box office because it can only further both Richard’s and Aidan’s career which means there’ll be more chances to see them on screen 🙂
      I can’t complain about the HFR because there’s always the option to see it in 3D and 2D, so we all have the chance to have a viewing experience that suits us best.

  5. Yes, we saw it in HFR 3D. Twice. And we were blown away both times. 🙂

    • You lucky little Z! I really wish (now more than ever)that I had those fireworks. Maybe there’s something wrong with my eyes or my brain can’t catch up with modern technology LOL!

  6. Hi AGZYM,
    Well, I consider myself a lover of cinema, Tolkien and Richard Armitage. So I would expect either of these passions would take me to one extreme or another. I’ve seen the film four times in IMAX 3D 48 fps, and for me it was amazing. I had the opportunity to saw it with different generations, on one occasion with my mother, another with friends and one with my nephews. One thing I realized was that I laughed much more with young people in the film and with the older we get more emotional. None of them share my love for Tolkien or RA, only the cinema. They also appreciated the film in that format. I want to see it still in the traditional version!
    Best wishes!

    • Hello Ana, the feedback from non RA or Tolkien fans has been very good, despite what the critics say people seem to really enjoy the movie. Maybe when it’s not viewd in the shadow of high expectations or LOTR trilogy, it just a thoroughly fun experience. BTW, all the best in 2013! 🙂

  7. I saw it in 2D 24fps the first time, with someone else who was worried by the reports in thew blogosphere and news of people gettign nauseous etc. We definitely enjoyed it, but then I went to see it a second time in 3D 48fps by myself, and found the experience to be far superior. I thought the second time the CGI characters looked far better integrated with the real lfe action, and I felt I could appreciate the flow of the story. Perhaps I also knew better where to look in certain scenes the second time since I had I had been through the story once before. I really enjoyed the clarity and detail, and was able to enjoy the subtleties in various performances much more.
    I certainly hope that a DVD version (bluray?) can approximate this visual experience because the one thing I was missing in the movie theater was the ability to pause, replay some segments, and just being able to have a really good look at all the gorgeous detail. Mind you, the movie is not without its flaws (I am no fan of Sylvester McCoy’s goofiness, and some of the humor is cheesy) but overall I am grateful to Mr. Jackson and all who created a very entertaining and clearly lovingly made film. I want to see it in 48fps again (which probably means in 3D as well, since I know of no place near where I live that shows it in 2D 48fps).

    • Hello A! That’s the problem that I’m having. Did I enjoy the 24 frame much more because I found the quality of the image better suited for my needs or because it was my second viewing and I knew what to focus on. Maybe if I had seen the movie a second time in 48 frames I would have liked it more? Hard to tell. I still have to see it in 2D although I haven’t heard of 2D 48fps and it’s not an option round here.

  8. I watched it on opening day in the new format and had no problems whatsoever. I loved the movie and didn’t even think about the fact that I was watching a new technology, I simply enjoyed the ride, and what a ride it was! That moment when Gandalf opens the door and we see Thorin…HOLY COW! I had no idea I was going to react that way; I actually swooned. I don’t understand why Richard keeps saying that Thorin doesn’t look anything like himself. Keep dreaming, baby, it IS your face, just with the forehead and the crinkles smoothed out, and with long, flowing locks and a gorgeous beard. Richard and Martin were both magnificent and I wish I could see the movie about ten more times. Sorry you did not enjoy your experience, Agzy. I believe that format will eventually become the norm. Hopefully by then they will improve it and you will not be bothered by it. 😉

    • Agreed, apart from the bushy eyebrows Thorin has the Armitage look. There are moments when they point the wind machine in his direction and shoot him from below and he looks larger than life. I think all the acting was very good, but Sir PJ knew what he was doing.
      People have some unflattering things to say about Martin’s acting, but I enjoyed his Bilbo and it’s true, he was a bit of a “Tim” from The Office in a Hobbit version. In other words people say he always plays one part, but I happen to like that about him.
      I’m not sure if this format will be the future, 3D was supposed to be the future of cinema, but it’s still in the minority. For now I doubt HFR will take over the viewing experience, just like Blueray for the simple reason that it means expensive upgrades of equipment.
      Then again, it might be like the talkies and it will take over the viewing experience, I’ll have to get bionic eyes 🙂

    • Yes! I totally agree with your observation on the moment that the door opens on Thorin – both times it literally took my breath away. Richard is good on the door opening moments, hm? Harry Kennedy, John Mulligan.. It must be something about the anticipation, then seeing his face in all its glory.

  9. I’m somewhere in the middle. I saw it on opening night in HFR 3D, then twice in regular 2D and twice in regular 3D. If the question is — 24 or 48 fps 3D? — then for me there’s no question that the 48 fps is a better experience for the viewer. I found the 24 fps 3D hard to watch (although that may be because they filmed in 48 fps and thus had to edit motion blur back into that version of the film, and they didn’t put enough back in). If the question is 2D or 3D, for me, the jury on that is still out for this film in particular. I didn’t feel like the 3D added all that much (other than price, and plastic products that have to be recycled). But then I generally think that the art of 3D movies is misunderstood. You do really have to add something to justify the additional price IMO, and I don’t think this film really accomplishes that.

  10. Vision Rehabilitation Therapist here — whether you enjoy HFR or not is based solely on your visual system’s (brain/eye) ability to deal with this speed of presentation. If you can process at that rate you love it. If you can’t then you have a bad experience. It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of physiology. It’s just not something you can take an opinion poll on for this reason.

    I’m so sorry that you didn’t have a good experience. My body loves it and so do I, so I saw it HFR multiple times and am mourning the fact that I can only go to it 3D, IMAX and 2D now. Of the three I prefer 2D over Real 3D (hate the glasses) and find IMAX to produce the dimmest least sharp images. I am hoping that the division between those that can process HFR and those who can’t to spur further research to find a frame rate that the majority of the population can enjoy.

    I see the consenus here about the opening of Bilbo’s door. I love the soft chorus of “Oooh…” that I hear around me every time I go. That scene has made Richard a lot of new fans. It’s fun on the different forums and Reddit to see them go from seeing only a pretty face to discovering the depth of his talent. I’m looking forward to the next film…the third one…not so much…

    • Hello Dear Vision Rehabilitation Therapist 😉
      So what you’re telling me is getting a bionic eye won’t help? Darn, no point hurrying to get eye surgery before the next part comes out 😉
      Maybe I just need to fill my Bilbo plastic cup with some vodka coke and it’ll help as what’s on screen will surely seem less blurry than everything around me!
      By the way, that was possibly the most important door in Richard’s life! I think Jackson really ‘got’ Richard and knew how to utilize RA in a way that the director of Captain American wasn’t wable to!

  11. Pingback: Legenda 60: Stuff worth reading « Me + Richard Armitage

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