The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 1.0 stars

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie poster

More of the same from director Peter Jackson, here pulling a proper Lucas and giving us the first installment of a prequel trilogy to his earlier three-parter, The Lord of the Rings. (Then, he was adapting three books; now, he's stretching just one, packing a straightforward quest with all manner of history and political intrigue.) And like Lucas, he has fallen in love with technology; in this case, High Frame Rate visuals that highlight every pore and strip-mine the magic from a movie that should be laden with it. (Do yourself a favor and stick to plain old 2D here.) The story involves 13 dwarfs (plus a helpful wizard) who hire a diminutive burglar to help them take back their mountain kingdom and its treasures from an invading dragon. Again, Jackson manages the creation of a believable fantasy world through well-pitched performances (Martin Freeman makes a fine homebody hobbit, and Andy Serkis’ Gollum gets to mix comedy with his menacing pathos), resonant themes (the dwarfs are seeking to regain their homeland after a diaspora), and really fine costumes. And again, he indulges his taste for overlong action set pieces, special effects that lean heavily on cartoon physics, and weepy-eyed alpha males. With Ian McKellan, Hugo Weaving. 2012.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.


OSV1 Dec. 15, 2012 @ 9:48 a.m.

i refuse to watch 3d movies, but i have to wonder if your dissatisfaction with this hobbit 3d movie is more of a theatre-related problem, rather than the creative process of the show itself:

"The Hobbit will also be the first 3D movie recorded and exhibited digitally at 48 frames... Jackson, he says, “wants it to be an immersive experience. Once you’ve made the decision to go 3D, you’ve moved away from the ‘normal’ cinematic experience. Traditionally, cinema has been 2D. Once you go to 3D you are trying to make it more realistic.” Shooting at 48fps, notes Olssen, is primarily to reduce strobbing and flicker that causes eyestrain for the 3D version of the movie — the 2D version will be exhibited at 24fps. “You increase the frame rate and it’s more comfortable to watch. Reducing eyestrain is a good thing.”

24fps is weak sauce as well, it's a holdover from the film days, a marginal compromise to save money, it should have been dispensed with on these digitally shot movies... unfortunately there still aren't very many movie houses with digital projectors.


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