This is NOT a review of THE HOBBIT. This is just strictly what I think about the new format it was shot in.
As you may or may not know, Peter Jackson shot his latest film, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, in a higher frame rate. What does that mean? It means that instead of shooting the film in the standard 24 frames per second, he shot it 48 frames per second. Now, to someone who doesn’t know all of that technical mumbo jumbo, that might not mean much, but it means a hell of a lot, actually.
You see, back when movies were invented, it was impossible to shoot things at normal speed, the way we see things in real life. So they HAD to shoot 24 frames per second. That’s why movies seem so much different from reality. But with today’s digital technology, it’s now possible to film at a higher frame rate. The idea is that this will improve the 3D imagery and make for an overall clearer picture.
Well, it does make the 3D pop a bit more, and the images do look clearer. But they look TOO clear. It looks too crisp! Jackson has used this format with the intention of making things more real, and immersing us deep into the world of Middle Earth. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. This format took me right out of the story. Not for one second was I NOT aware of this format. It was extremely distracting.
Now, what to compare it to so you know what I’m talking about. Hmmmm….. Well, let me put it to you this way. Jackson is promising to deliver, with this new format, a completely new type of moviegoing experience that will impress us. That’s not what we get. Instead, we get what looks like a 270 million dollar made-for-cable mini-series. Movies have been shot in digital for several years now, but they’re still being projected in 24 frames per second, so it looks like an actual movie still. This does NOT look like a film. It LOOKS like it was shot on video. And with this higher frame rate, when people walk fast, it looks sped up. The overhead helicopter shots of middle earth also look faster than usual. The sets look even faker, and the makeup much more obvious. The reason we can see these imperfections is that the 48 frames is giving us sharper detail, so we can see the flaws. 24 frames per second hides the artificial elements of moviemaking much better.
Have you ever watched one of these new fancy HDTVs that project in a higher frame rate? Sometimes bars have them. It looks like shit. It doesn’t look like a movie, but a cheap BBC production. That’s what I think this format does to this movie. It makes it look cheap! Why anyone would want to watch a movie this way is beyond me. I’m shocked that Peter Jackson thinks this actually looks good. It doesn’t! The ONLY way you should see this movie is in 24 frames per second. Without a fucking question!!!
I’m a bit of a purist, and am still a believer in actual “film”. I prefer watching a 35mm print to a digital one. There’s a certain richness and texture that film has that digital can NOT duplicate. So, if you want to see THE HOBBIT look like a TV movie, by all means, knock yourself out and see the higher frame rate. But if you LOVE cinema in the slightest sense, then you must see this the way a movie should be seen, in 24 frames per second.
A movie should look like a movie! That’s why 24 frames will always be the ONLY way a film should be shot. There’s a certain magic that it captures. Something that isn’t quite real. It’s the majestic of cinema! And this higher frame rate takes a giant dump on everything that cinema stands for!!!!!!!
I actually saw the film twice. Once in each format, and I can honestly say that the 24 frames looks light years better than the higher frame rate. My favorite action scenes looked more superior, and I could enjoy the movie much easier. Even the films best moments didn’t look right. At the very best, I could occasionally tolerate the higher frame rate, but I don’t go to the movies to tolerate something. I go to enjoy myself. To get lost in the magic of films. I can’t tell you enough how much the higher frame rates ruins that magic.
So if you’re going to see THE HOBBIT in the theaters, do yourself a favor and see it the normal way. And while you’re at it, see it in good old-fashioned 2D. The 3D doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t add anything to the movie. The original LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy didn’t need it, and neither does THE HOBBIT.
Check out my review of the actual movie here