I can't make it to every movie, a sad reality. On Friday of last week when Warner Bros. screened The Hobbit, I was stuck in a studio covering for a coworker who was on vacation. But, fortunately, I found a friend whose opinion I respect to go see it for me. The screening was at 10am at the Marcus Majestic in Brookfield.
At 10:05 I received a text message from my stringer. "Went to the wrong theater. Sorry."
It happens, I suppose.
So that is why there is no review of The Hobbit. But what I've been able to glean from other reviews--I've been extremely excited about this picture myself--is that it is overlong and stretched too thin. While it was a challenge stuffing the massive Lord of the Rings series into three movies, The Hobbit is a simple children's book and there really isn't all that much involved. Apparently Peter Jackson and crew are going to flesh out the story with some additional material written by author J.R.R. Tolkien but if this film is any indication, we're in for a long ride. Splitting the book in half would have likely been a better move.
The other thing people are talking about with this movie is the new technology, High Frame Rate 3D. Without getting too pedantic, movies project at 24 frames per second, the minimum at which the human eye perceives motion. That was the standard going back decades when film was an expensive commodity. We have trained our eyes to expect that look when we're watching a film and when something doesn't fit, we're off. Having recently had lasik, I can attest to just how sensitive we are to changes in perception.
HFR digital projection moves forward at 48 frames per second, twice as fast as tradtional film. So when people move, there isn't a lag or blur, we see things much more as they are in life.
The problem with The Hobbit is that this is a fantasy tale and seeing this as "real" is a difficult proposition. A jarring transition, if you will.
That said, I'm going to go see this in IMAX. There is a Man of Steel trailer that looks amazing and they're promising to preview the first 9 minutes of the new Star Trek movie. And while I liked the Lord of the Rings series, I have significantly lowered my expectations for director Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth. I suggest you do the same.