Last week I had the fortune to see the Hobbit in the new high frame rate format.
All standard movies have been filmed in 24 frames per second for over a century.
Peter Jackson has decided to film this new trilogy with this format to provide a more immersive experience, but does it work? The answer is yes and no.
There are sequences where it just looks like junk. These sequences tend to be very heavy effects laden scenes. The effects look 2 dimensional and fake. When the HFR works it works brilliantly. These sequences tend to be in natural light or sweeping New Zealand vistas . They look beautiful almost like you would walk into the screen and be there.
When the film starts the videoness of the movies look can be quite startling to people who are used to a more filmic look. It grows on you, its this for everyone no of course not ,its like 3D it would have its chosen applications. This HFR format would be fantastic for nature documentaries or anything where a feeling of realism is important to telling the story at hand.
For those who would like to geek out on further technical information about the HFR format and its use in the Hobbit, I include a few links to some of my favourite articles on the matter.
So after all this talk about the technical aspects of the film the question remains ,is the movie any good?
At 3 hours I only felt it dragged at the beginning whilst Bilbo was still in his house. Once the journey got going it was a lot of fun. My problem with the film really is the fact there is not a lot of story. This comes from a book that isnt very thick ,and is a children’s book made simpler to appeal to younger people.
I do feel making it a trilogy is a way to drag out the income from this franchise. The story isnt as rich as the Lord of the rings trilogy. There is a lot of time standing around talking about story points that seem out of place. I did enjoy it I found it moved along at a good pace and kept me interested. The HFR didn’t work all the time for me and the story felt light and less meaty than Lord Of the Rings. In years to come I do feel from a technical stand point that this film may the a water shed in technology for the future of cinema.
Already James Cameron has signed up to shoot Avatar 2 in this same format. I believe with time and development, this technology could be incredible.