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So Hub and I went to see The Hobbit yesterday.


Hub had already seen it once Friday night at a big IMAX theater. I don't do IMAX anymore because I am old and cranky and I like to enjoy movies without it hurting my ears. *G*

We'd planned for our viewing together to be 3D but not the new 48 frames-per-second. We accidentally got a 48FPS theater. Ugh.

I don't get why anybody thinks this is an improvement? It felt to me like WETA had run out of time and neglected to put the patina onto the movie. I remember LOTR as having a lovely glow to it: Hobbiton was a greeny-golden, and Rivendell was russet-gold. Lothlorien was lavender. Moria was nearly grayscale except for the Balrog's fire, and Edoras the colors of woodgrain and wheat. Minas Tirith was a chessboard of white and black marble.

The Hobbit in 48FPS made me feel as if I were watching a stage play. Where the crew has lovingly built a huge and elaborate set with many detailed props, but you can see that they're props. I wasn't transported to Middle-Earth. I was watching Sir Ian, and Martin, and Richard, and Aidan, acting on a soundstage. It was like seeing the production videos -- which are wonderfully fun while we're waiting for the movie, but I've waited for a decade now and I wanted to be transported, dammit.

I think I can still love this movie. Let's be honest, I NEED to love this movie. My next viewing will be in good old dependable 2D normal frames-per-second, whatever that is.

As for the story itself, I was satisfied. Martin Freeman was an inspired choice for Bilbo. I was pleasantly surprised at how long the introduction with Ian Holm and Elijah Wood lasted: I'd been expecting just a few moments' lead-in, but we got quite a long stretch.

I understand why the Great Goblin's and Azog's characters were expanded: this is the first installment of three, and there are still People Who Have Not Read the Book, and they need to see a real villain. Smaug's part of the story is still in the future; the Necromancer is a hazy figure unknown to Bilbo or the Dwarves. Peril needs a face. So although I think the feud between Thorin and Azog is silly, I can see why it's needed.

Did the Great Goblin need to look quite so much like the Gungan, Boss Nass, though? I kept waiting for the Great Goblin to shake his jowls and go, "brbrbrblblbbrblbl."

And Oh. Riddles in the Dark. Was everything, everything it should be. Loved the touch about Bilbo actually seeing the Dwarves escaping as he hesitated, invisible, with Gollum blocking his path out of the caverns. Loved him listening to Thorin disparage him. Loved Bilbo slipping off his ring and appearing in the dwarves' midst, Gandalf's silent concern, Bilbo's declaration of support.

SMAUG! I was leaning forward in my seat as the camera panned over that vast landslide of coins. I knew Smaug's eye opening would be the last thing we'd see, but I didn't know it would look like the eye of Sauron! How utterly perfect! Smaug is not Sauron: he's a character and a villain in his own right, but all evil things stir when Sauron stirs. Sauron is the root and instigator of evil, so of course Smaug looks at the world with a Sauron-like eye.

I managed my expectations quite well when it came to plot, characters and dialog. I figured there would be fart jokes, and there were belching jokes. I knew we'd have a female character show up for no particular plotty reason, because you can't have a modern movie that's just about boys.

I just slipped up on my expectations for visuals. WETA has given me no reason to hedge in the past. And who knows, I may become accustomed to 48FPS someday and laugh at my stick-in-the-mud self.

But sometime in the next couple of weeks I will be back in a (standard) cinema, hoping for the patina. I love you, Bilbo, Thorin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Gandalf. I can't stay away.
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readerjane: Book Cat (Default)
readerjane

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