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The Hobbit: Slouching Toward Erebor

Getting neither there nor back again

Available for viewing only in select cinemas in major cities (the rest will feature a standard 24-frame presentation), this "high-frame rate" Hobbit features exceptionally sharp, plasticine images the likes of which we might never have seen on a movie screen before, but which do resemble what we see all the time on our HD television screens, whether it's Sunday Night Football, Dancing With the Stars, or a game of Grand Theft Auto. (Indeed, most TVs now have a menu setting that can, if you so desire, lend this look to everything you watch—a setting appropriately christened by some gearheads as the "soap opera effect.") Whereas video-shot "films" have labored for years to approximate the look of celluloid, Jackson goes whole hog in the opposite direction, the idea being that this acute video quality comes closer to the way the human eye perceives reality. Fair enough, but the reality Jackson conjures isn't quite the one he intends: Instead of feeling like we've been transported to Middle-earth, it's as if we've dropped in on Jackson's New Zealand set, trapped in an endless "making of" documentary, waiting for the real movie to start.

For the record, I returned to see The Hobbit a second time, at 24 frames, and found it more aesthetically pleasing but no more dramatically engaging. At any speed, the movie only springs to full life late in the day, during the first meeting of Bilbo and the tragic creature who will come to be known as Gollum (once again played by the sublime Andy Serkis), a hobbit reduced to a quivering, schizophrenic mass by his fidelity to a certain gold ring. Suddenly, in one long scene consisting of nothing more than two characters trying to outwit each other in a game of riddles, Jackson the storyteller seems to overtake Jackson the technocrat. The old magic returns, and for a fleeting moment, The Hobbit feels truly necessary, a triumph of art over commerce.

Details

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Directed by Peter Jackson
Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro
Based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.
Opens December 14

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22 comments
dannyjane
dannyjane

While I do think that some of the battle scenes could use a bit of judicious trimming, I thought in the whole, the movie was wonderful.  The characters were either already familiar or they were well drawn and well developed.  Unlike LOTR,which lacked two important passages (Tom Bombatdil and the Scouring of the Shire) there was nothing missing.  Everything I imagined in reading The Hobbit was right there and pretty much exactly as I had imagined it.  What more could one ask?

Talyseon
Talyseon

I find all the dissatisfaction with the movie frankly astonishing.  I watched the same movie, read the same book, Loved every minute, and wouldn't want to see even one frame cut.  I guess there is just no pleasing some people, and most people like that grow up to be film critics. http://bit.ly/U2GsZX

Hmmm...
Hmmm...

Actually, my reaction to hearing that Jackson was shooting the Hobbit on digital video was shock and disgust.  Finding out he was shooting at 48fps, my reaction was one of satisfaction, because I know well what different framerates look like.  After reading of audience reaction to 48fps, and the studio's decision to go with mostly 24fps in cinemas, all I have to say is "serves you right."

jonlostie
jonlostie

@Diezmartinez @dlerer @foundasonfilm ya van a empezar?? Sino es "cine de arte" "lo que eso signifique" no es bueno...?

mpanozzo
mpanozzo

@dlerer @foundasonfilm #tristesa

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@dlerer @foundasonfilm La veremos pronto. El tráiler anuncia más de lo mismo y un pronunciamiento kitsch, es decir esoterismo new age teen

allnotathome
allnotathome

First, Jackson did not "pull a Jay Leno" on Guillermo del Toro. It's been well established by Toro himself, that he left because he was not willing to spend more than 3 years on making the Hobbit movies. What Jay did to Conan (stabbed him in the back) is in no way comparable to what happened between PJ and Toro.

Second, Dr Watson (Martin Freeman) on Sherlock is not an Iraq vet, but an Afghanistani vet. But, hey, coming from an American, at least you were in the area of correct continent.

Stevart
Stevart

"found it more aesthetically pleasing but no more dramatically engaging."  Is it just me or does anyone else see the lack of REAL female roles and the lack of an interesting narrative, AND, the abundance of men and boy think that perhaps Tolkien was a bit to fond of the lads...if you know what I mean.  I mean the Brits don't need a NAMBLA now do they?

Jpsemino
Jpsemino

@rogerkoza @dlerer si Reygadas pone un diablo animado y una auto-decapitacion es tracendentalismo, en cambio Jackson es new age.. Por favor!

studiesincrap
studiesincrap topcommenter

@allnotathome Thanks for spotting the Iraq/Afghanistan error. That was imposed by me, the editor. 

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer Francamente, no veo por qué la presencia de Satanás y una autodecapitación habría que relacionarlo con la N. Age.

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer prenderé un incienso

Jpsemino
Jpsemino

@rogerkoza @dlerer ahora me quedo claro lo que querias decir. Yo lo interpretaba mas por el lado filosofico... Gracias por las repuesta ...

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer y después te cuento.

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer Una línea sofisticada y secreta en esa línea difusa de la espiritualidad contemporánea. Nada más amigo. Veré The Hobbit

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer E incluso así, es un poco impreciso. Jameson decía algo apropiado sobre la música de Part, Tavener y Gorecki...

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer El único rasgo New Age en la obra de Reygadas recae en sus elecciones musicales: Arvo Part y John Tavener...

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer Sobre Post T. Lux podés decir de todo, pero nada tiene que ver con esa iconografía.

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer Hay varios pasajes del traíler de The Hobbit que remiten a las pinturas de Gilbert Williams. Es del orden de la evidencia.

rogerkoza
rogerkoza

@Jpsemino @dlerer Tolkien no fue New Age, Jackson probablemente tampoco. Su iconografía, no obstante, a veces sí remite a la New Age.

Jpsemino
Jpsemino

@rogerkoza @dlerer las dos situaciones me parecen igual de banal y sin sentido que el apelativo new age para el hobbit

 

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