In this episode, Fr. Roderick gives a spoiler-free review of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” after watching the Dutch midnight premiere on 12/12/12 at 12:12 am!
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You’ve said basically what I would without going into spoilers so I won’t repeat you when it comes to the movie itself.
I have been able to see the movie twice now both at HFR 3D.
You’re right that HFR is less intense if you sit further back (I first watched it sitting right on the 1/3 mark while the second time I sat right at the back). I also found that I adapted to watching a film in HFR almost instantly the second time while it took me all of the prologue to settle to it the first time.
One of my friends watched it first in HFR 3D then in just normal 3D. She wasn’t sure if she liked HFR after seeing it as she found she got stuck in the ‘it looks like TV’ rut. But when she went to see it in 2D she noticed all the motion blur and 3D strobing at 24frames and is now sold on how much of an improvement HFR is.
We both found that we enjoyed the Hobbit just as much, possibly even more the second time.
Also if you have the option to see the Hobbit with Dolby Atmos sound go for it. It makes the Riddles in the Dark that extra bit creepy as well as making other scenes that little bit better.
I just listened to your review and I have to say it again and again: I *love* your enthusiasm. I agree with all you so eloquently said in this episode and I am already so excited to see the movie again tomorrow!
And also I want to thank you so much for all your wonderful work you keep doing for so long now.
Floradine Strongfoot of the Lonely Mountain Band kinship in Lotro, Landroval
I saw The Hobbit movie this morning. Incredible!! I saw it in 2D so I could focus on the story. I’ve found a few theaters in the area to see it in HFR 3D another time. It is a movie worth seeing more than once. I can’t imagine anyone improving on Peter Jackson’s work with this novel. His finest works have been putting Tolkien’s work on film. Jackson continues to expose an even greater audience to Tolkien’s works. Bravo Sir Peter, the best film maker ever.
I just saw the movie today in 48fps. At first it was jarring. It seemed as though Bilbo and others in the prologue were moving in high speed and I thought for a while that there was something wrong with the projector, but from what I have read it is in every HFR version. The flashback bits looked way too bright and “unreal” that early in the HFR experience (I’m particularly interested to see how those parts look in 24fps). The image is so clear it blows my mind. It really does seem like a very Hi Def video of a live stage performance with an amazing cameraman and an epic set. At first it was very off putting as it drains the “epic” feel of the 24fps film look that LOTR had. I knew what to expect, but it still threw me off for a bit. It even distracted me from certain points in the movie (I can’t even remember how the reveal of the map and key went!). The same thing happened, though, when I first saw modern 3d, but I got over that quickly enough. After a while I started to get used to the effect and very much enjoyed it as a new cinematic experience. I think it will take some time for most people to get used to 48fps movies and can imagine that it will also change how movies are shot, lit, and even acted. This seemed like a grand experiment and I think it will be a learning experience for all involved. If they can find a way to get a more epic “cinematic” look with the clarity of a HFR, it will be extremely revolutionary!
I must say that most of the cgi characters were astonishingly realistic, especially Gollum! Though the wargs were still not quite right for me.
Also, it was the best 3D experience I have had. Even though it was more “atmospheric” 3d than in your face (which I happen to like – why bother if things aren’t poking you in the eye!) there was no flicker effect at all. The difference between the 3d previews and the movie were night and day. I usually take off my glasses several times during a 3d movie to rub my eyes and constantly shift the glasses and move my head thinking that might help me see better; I never experienced that here and forgot that I was wearing them until the cheap frames started to hurt. I really believe that a HFR will be the new norm for 3d once people see the difference.
The story in general was great. I love how Sir PJ is keeping true to the light hearted nature of the book and also giving us the deeper story of the Appendices (take that Rothfuss!). While the HFR was overall a great experience with a new format (and I will see it again that way), I can’t wait to see the 24 fps non-3d version tomorrow to see if it better matches the style of the LOTR trilogy – not to mention fill in those missing gaps due to jaw gaping.
Parts 2 and 3 can’t get here soon enough!
Oh, and the trolls, The TROLLS!!! They looked amazing. They could have been real trolls for all I know…
Also, the Weta crew have perfected the cgi scaling and interaction – look for Bilbo grabbing Gandalf’s arm at the unexpected party and Gandalf taking something from (or is it giving something to?) one of the Dwarves. The interaction is flawless… and that is one reason why I can’t remember half of what happened in the beginning. I want to see the hands again, Gandalf, The Hands!
I only noticed scale doubles a couple of times, but it was even more obvious in such clarity that they were not the right proportion (also the wigs looked wonky at times, even on the regular actors). The long shot, non-scale double for old Bilbo (who may have been Freeman in makeup) was also. unfortunately. very obvious in HD.
On a side note, it was great having Holm and Wood back again, though they have clearly aged a lot since Fellowship. And Elijah just didn’t seem to have that pre-journey bubbly nature (you could practically read the LOTR Triligy in his face) – but that could be the HFR messing with me again. Either way I am glad they came back.
PS I just realized that the Erabor Prologue bits in HFR gave me flashbacks to the old BBC Narnia films. I loved those as a kid, but I hope this feeling passes on rewatch…uggg!
PPS. The only real gripe I have with the way they told the story at the moment is that Freeman’s finding of the Ring was nowhere near the same as the shot of Holm in Fellowship! He just kind of bends down and picks it up casually, and without any dialogue (unless this was another jaw dropping memory lapse). I was so looking forward to comparing the two shots. I had hoped that that would be the one real moment where Freeman copied Holm perfectly for the sake of continuity and homage. I imagined a behind the scenes of PJ doing take after take, showing Freeman his take beside Holm’s, trying to get it just right. But Alas.
I need to stop writing now…
I laughed when we got to the end of the film, looking towards the Lonely Mountain, and then suddenly the camera was sweeping up towards the gates and I thought “And Fr. Roderick was of course completely right about that last shot”.
I have now watched the movie in 24 FPS as well. What a terrible experience! It made me appreciate the HFR version so much more. In 24 FPS, camera movements cause blur, and there is an almost stroboscopic effect of the low framerate. Also, the 3D is a lot worse; more cross-talk (you see silhouettes of bright objects or subtitles), and fatiguing to watch. The HFR version was like looking through glass. This 24 FPS version was like many other 3D movies I’ve watched: it gave me a headache.
Father, you should have watched it without 3d glasses , just 2D. Thats my choice for first viewing.
I watched it in 24fps non-3d the day after I saw the 48fps version. It definitely felt more in continuity with the LOTR look and I’m very glad I saw both (I would never watch the 24fps 3d though). The one big thing I noticed was the blur of the 24fps. It was so prominent that it makes me wonder if it is an effect of converting the 48fps to 24pfs or if the 48fps version really did make me more sensitive to 24fps blur.
I can’t wait till I get to see the 48fps version again and see if it feels different this time, especially in the opening scenes. I think another viewing is in order to decide which I really prefer. I like the clarity of 48fps, though I think some scenes were too bright for the mood, and the rapid movements of Bilbo in the beginning seemed wrong even given I wasn’t used to 48fps (though that seems like something that the actors could fix by being more subtle in their movements). But I also liked that the 24fps felt more like the LOTR trilogy. I never felt like the 48fps fit the established style even when I got more used to the HFR effect; it felt like a cool “ride” more than a film. That said, I do hope that 48fps becomes the norm for 3d films (with some adjustments) it was such a great experience to see 3d and not get sick.
I love your show!!!! If it took you over an hour to disect a 2 mintue trailer…I expect nothing less than 35 hours of you disecting this GREAT movie!!!!!!!!
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A podcast about JRR Tolkien's book 'The Hobbit' and about Peter Jackson's movies based on it.
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