The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Filthy Hobbitses

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit opened this weekend. For me, The Hobbit was not one of those movies that I was dying to see and would stay up late to see it on opening night (Prometheus). Don't get me wrong, I was totally pumped to see it, but it would normally be a movie I wait until a day off and see. One thing totally changed that. They were showing the first 9 minutes of Star Trek: Into Darkness on December 14th only, months before the movie is released. That was enough for me. I was there at 11pm Friday night to watch in IMAX 3D.

I have 3 comments about the night. First, Star Trek. I have never seen a resurrected franchise kick so much ass. The most recent film is absolutely unbelievable. Contrary to prior Trek films, every character is fully developed and has one or more uniquely heroic moments. This is a cast that is more fun to watch than any before. The new movie looks amazing, and who are they kidding. It's Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!

Second, The Hobbit itself. In a nutshell, satisfying. You knew when PJ decided to stretch this 350 page book into three 3-hour films that there would be added layers, and the raucous adventure that the book was would be a bit more plodding, and ominous. That's exactly the case here. I remember first reading The Hobbit. I think the first 40 pages are spent in Bilbo's house. BORING! The movie is the same. Although not boring, this movie takes a while to get going. I guess my biggest complaint is the similarity to TFOTR movie. Slow start in Hobbiton, trip to Rivendell, dangerous mountain pass, and Goblin halls = Moria. The movie was great fun, but the Smaug teases were cruel. Bring on the dragon! I suspect the next 2 will be absolutely awe-inspiring.

Finally, I was fortunate to have one of the few IMAX 3D theaters projecting the movie at 48 fps. Throughout the history of film, movies were shot and projected at 24 fps. This is the first feature film to shoot at 48 fps. There are tons of debates online about the pros and cons of 48 fps. On the pro side, they say double the frames reduces blur, creates a lifelike picture and improves 3D. On the con side, they say it looks like video or not a film. I'm gonna be honest. Not a big deal. I am a radiologist, so my eyes are my career. Did 48 fps eliminate blur? No. In mega action scenes with thousands of orcs chasing the dwarves through the caverns with panning cameras, I still saw plenty of blur. Was the 3D better? Yes. Much of the film is rather dark, and the 3D normally would suffer. Not at 48 fps. It was a pretty picture. As for "the look", give me a break. This whole cinophile argument that it "doesn't look like a film" is a joke. Film is an outdated convention. When you go for a hike and look at a waterfall with your own eyes, do you see film grain? Of course not. So why would it be a bad thing to eliminate film grain and make movies more lifelike? It's not. This is like audiophiles clinging to their LPs, mechanics holding onto their 60's muscle cars or IT morons clinging to Windows XP. Not once did I think what I was watching looked like a cheap TV show or soap opera. Technology evolves, and in this case for the better. Movies are being shot digitally, and we need to readjust our brains to enjoy the higher quality we are now privileged to enjoy.

Go see it. It's a fun movie.


Kevin said...

I plan to see it on Wednesday morning. By myself. It'll be like high school all over again.

Teddy said...

Sure Kev, except that this is The Hobbit - not My Best Friend's Wedding!

Kevin said...

Julia Roberts was die-no-MITE in that flick.

L said...

Going to see this tomorrow.