Pointless Nonsense

Posted in movies by Bill on December 15, 2012

hobbitThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is probably a pretty good movie, but upon first viewing, I have a tough time separating it from the high-frame-rate 3D experience, which was really bad. I haven’t particularly liked 3D at all, and haven’t seen a movie in 3D in quite some time, but I thought 48fps would solve some of my issues with the technology. And it did, but it introduced a whole host of new ones.

The positives were a reduction in flickering and the picture being slightly brighter, but in neither case did it solve the problems completely. When an object that “sticks out” from the screen moves quickly, I still get some sense of being able to see every individual frame. And there are definitely scenes that are far too dim to see everything well, especially around the edges of the picture where I think I might only be seeing the image from one eye or the other but not both.

The negatives far outweighed the positives, though. Something about the increased framerate made the characters seem small, like they were intricate toys filmed with the greatest stop motion animation of all time. Possibly because the increased frame rate reduces the presence of motion blur. Worse, it seemed like the motion would speed up and slow down almost at random. When the movie started, I was worried there was something wrong with the picture, because Bilbo appeared to be moving in fast-motion, but I think it was just something about how my brain was processing the images. Nothing ever happened faster than it should have, but I still had this sense that they should slow down. And there was also a sense in parts that I wasn’t watching a movie, but rather a reality show about making a movie. I’d heard this complaint from people who’d already seen it, but there was some element of movie magic missing, and it just felt like I was looking at actors on a set instead of Hobbits in the Shire or whatever.

There were a couple scenes, very brief ones, where I thought it looked good. Maybe it’s that they don’t know how to properly light a scene for HFR 3D, or maybe I could only enjoy it if it were of the exact color scheme/lighting of that one scene, which would of course get monotonous. I dunno.

I’m definitely going to have to see this in 2D sometime soon, just to enjoy the movie on its own without the distraction of a technology that hopefully dies quickly.

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