The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D (Higher Frame Rate)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D (Higher Frame Rate)

(2012)

Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth with part one of his trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, screening in higher frame rate 3D. A young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman, The Office), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage, Spooks) and a posse of dwarves journey to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug.... More

Their quest will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although they've got to get to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels where Bilbo meets Gollum (Andy Serkis). It is there with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring... a simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth.Hide

Flicks Review

Despite benefiting from the world-establishing goodwill generated by the Lord of the Rings movies, this film stands ably on its own, offering up generous piles of large scale fantasy underscored by genuine emotional heft and boundary-pushing visuals.... More

The structure heavily recalls Fellowship – opening history lesson; Hobbiton tranquility; a long walk; an Elven meeting and some fun inside a mountain. But the character dynamics and gargantuan set-pieces set it apart.

The theme of stepping outside one's comfort zone to engage in the big, bad world is palpably evoked by Martin Freeman's Bilbo. The hesitant, beleaguered Freeman is so perfectly cast, it's easy to see why Peter Jackson shifted the shooting schedule to accommodate him.

Jackson does an admirable job of corralling the thirteen dwarves, who each somehow manage to display individual traits. As their leader Thorin Oakenshield, Richard Armitage grandly embodies the heroism of the story, and will surely be the recipient of a Viggo Mortensen-esque career bump.

The tone occasionally skews a little younger than LOTR, but the disparity isn't huge. It does allow the low-brow humour of Jackson's early work to shine through however, especially in the form of the grotesquely jowly, flatulent Goblin King, performed mo-cap style by Dame Edna herself, Barry Humphries.

Spartacus star Manu Bennett gives a fantastic mo-cap performance as pale orc Azog, once again displaying Jackson and company's gift for creating iconic antagonists where Tolkien didn't. Indeed, any concerns about this feeling too much like preamble had evaporated by the end of the film. There's a natural arc here and it runs its course.

Enterprises of this scale are par for the course in Hollywood these days – but this film simply reinforces what Peter Jackson and his collaborators do better than anyone else: they take you on a real emotional journey, unexpected or otherwise.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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BY RexH superstar

So here we all are again, back in good old Middle-Earth.
(And is it worth the wait, precious?)
Well yes, it is. It's visually stunning (we expects that, precious), the cgi is a knock-out; notably Weta seem to have discovered how Wargs actually run, presumably by doing some research with wolves. Gollum is even better this time round than in LOTR, mainly in his range of facial expressions, which I thought were pretty good the first time.
I saw "The Hobbit" in 3D at 48fps. It was bright and crisp... More and movement was fluid, but I would have to watch normal and higher frame rates side by side to tell the difference.
"Movies move" and this one moved at quite a clip, with minimal dialogue, which surprised me, considering its length. I was all set for a ride and a ride is what I got, though not as much of a gallop as was Tintin!
It was like "Fellowship of the Ring" but with dwarves. I was kind of hoping for a cameo from Bridget the Midget, but no luck! Still. what it lacked in hot women, it more than made up for in orcs, trolls, giant spiders, astounding rock giants (where's Thor when you need him?), wargs and giant eagles. Now, regarding the eagles: once upon a time, long before pakeha had ever heard of Aotearoa or even Middle-Earth, there lived in the high crags of Te Wai Pounamu a species of giant eagle (Aquila moorei) that preyed upon the giant lowland moa. They would sweep majestically down from their alpine roosts to spread terror among the slower flightless giants. So when you watch the eagles carrying the hobbit and dwarves down through those beautiful high passes, you are also catching a breath-taking glimpse of New Zealand's prehistory. I suspect Jackson was aware of this (but you'd have to ask him).
Back to the movie. The Hobbit is one book, complex, yes, but written primarily for younger readers. The LOTR is three volumes, comprising several books within them plus lengthy appendices and maps. So, if The Hobbit requires three films to do it justice (and does it, really?) shouldn't LOTR have required nine?
The Hobbit is certainly padded out with back-story from the Appendices. And it certainly requires some lengthy exposition, but I wonder if Jackson isn't trying to outdo Lucas at his own game?
Anyway, how do I feel about the movie? Loved it! And wasn't the nasty one-armed orc right out of a Frank Frazetta painting? If Frank were alive, I'm sure he would have approved.
Where the movie followed the book, it did so beautifully, where it departed from it, it maintained a spirit true to it. In some ways, The Hobbit may be better than the LOTR, it's certainly better than "The Two Towers".
Performances are great overall. I'm glad to see Christopher Lee again as Saruman. And that scene played entertainingly. Martin Freeman is wonderful, reminds me of Michael Palin.
All the dwarf characters were entertaining and managed to convey appropriate personalities.
So yes, all this is a long-winded way of saying I totally enjoyed the film and I can't wait to see Smaug!Hide


I enjoyed this movie and thought the scenery was brilliant. What a show case for NZ.
Worth seeing in 3D for the crispness of so many of the panoramic landscapes.
The script was good and I have no problems with the way it has been made into a movie from the book - lets not be too PRECIOUS about keeping everything exact to The Hobbit novel.


BY GrahamP superstar

Well,do I see this in 3D or 2D.Decided to give 3D another go in HFR..So of I went with the 3D glasses in my pocket.During the movie,every 30 seconds there appeared on the screen a single movie frame in black which caught the eye.Overall it must have appeared 360 times.It was very annoying and distracting.I don't know if this was a projection problem or a film problem.I should have gone to see it in 2D.I am over 3D now.I do hope they keep making 2D,it does give a better feel to a movie.The High... More Frame Rate did not make any noticeable difference.
On a positive note the movie has some of the best direction and special effects I have ever seen.It does have a huge Wow factor.Peter Jackson has mastered the technique of using massive and sweeping camera angles around and over the subjects.Impressive stuff.
The story did let it down and I found myself thinking of other things at times,which was not good for such a well made film.There was just not enough to hold it all together for three hours.Hide


Younger fans of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy won't be disappointed with this return to Middle Earth, which delivers in spectacle and family-friendly adventure. After a slow beginning, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' kicks into gear with a narrative of walking, chasing, escaping, running and hiding and that echoes 'The Fellowship of the Ring' to the point that it feels more like a Christmas family dinner reunion - with the likes of Christopher Lee, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen... More and Cate Blanchett returning to reprise their 'Rings' roles.

As with 'King Kong' and 'The Return of the King,' Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth is overlong - especially bearing in mind the brevity of Tolkein's source material. But Martin Freeman makes an excellent Bilbo and it's in his scenes with the likes of Andy Serkis' Gollum that the film excels. Whilst the narrative is occasionally flabby and the childish gags silly but fun, the technology on display is to the fore and it's hard not to be reminded of the 'Star Wars' prequel trilogy movies which often played more like an advert for what can be achieved with cutting-edge tech than solid examples of storytelling and character-building.

As for the high frame rate? It's not just the story that's lighter but the look too, and whilst the 3D looks great, it may take audiences time to adapt or even accept images so pristine that at times it's like being immersed in the latest 'Halo' game.

Like a computer game, once 'The Hobbit' gets going it's a fun ride that should keep little ones engrossed and die-hard 'Rings' fans happy. As for the rest of us? The technology on display, the locations, sets, costumes, make-up and weapons are, as we expect of the team behind 'The Lord of the Rings,' first rate and the spectacle on offer is suitably spectacular. But one can't help feeling that with a little more judicious editing and a little less desire to throw everything in from 'The Rings' in an attempt to cement links between the two trilogies, this could have been a far leaner, meaner and more satisfying introduction to the latest missive from Middle Earth.Hide


"All great stories deserve a little embellishment." So says Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) in the most telling line in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson's return to the world of JRR Tolkien. It's a line that clearly outlines Jackson and his co-writers' intentions, yet it comes off as a veiled apology, as if the film-making team knew that what they have created is going to be problematic for die-hard Middle Earth fans. Sadly, Jackson's new film doesn't come close to silencing the... More skeptics like his Lord of the Rings films did, and is actually more ill-conceived than expected.

Things that do work well for the most part in The Hobbit are sequences that come directly from the source novel. Iconic scenes, such as the arrival of the dwarves at Bag End or the encounter with the trolls are handled pretty well, despite being padded out to unnecessary lengths with lame gags and pointless alteration of the original events in the book. Juggling such a massive primary cast is obviously a challenge, and as such the film's best moments involve only one or two characters, with Bilbo's (Martin Freeman) meeting of Gollum (Andy Serkis) and the finding of the ring being a particular stand-out sequence, the only one that seemed like it could have used more time.

However, all of the good work that Jackson & Co do with the direct source material is swamped by the content they felt they had to develop themselves. The great achievement of the LOTR films is how they managed to distill the huge source novels to their most important story beats, only hinting at most of the wider story in a way that brought incredible richness to the world in which they take place. With The Hobbit though, Jackson only has a 300 page novel to start with, and the decision to make three lengthy films, I assume to parallel the first trilogy, is precisely why this first film doesn't work.

The Hobbit should be allowed to stand alone as its own film, but it is structured in such a way, almost identically to the first LOTR entry The Fellowship of the Ring, that it's all but impossible not to compare them. As a side-effect, the much lighter tone will be jarring for a lot of established franchise fans, the very people the film seems to be primarily aimed at. The chase sequence in the goblin tunnels for example is little more than an updated version of the Moria scenes from LOTR. It's exciting enough, but much of the action feels in service of the film-making technology on display rather than the story, and as such none of the stakes of the earlier films are built here.

Where the LOTR films had to keep moving at such a pace to fit everything in, The Hobbit dwells on unnecessary moments which had only the briefest of mentions in the novel to reach its 2 hour 49 minute runtime. Most damaging are the call backs linking the previous trilogy, setting up what is likely to be an almost completely new story bridge between the two trilogies in the third film due in 2014. There is absolutely no reason for Frodo (Elijah Wood), Saruman (Christopher Lee), and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) to appear in this story, yet here they are, taking us away from a perfectly good narrative about a quest to fight a dragon. It reeks of cynical franchise care, and arguably disrespectful to the carefully crafted world that Tolkien created.

There's a good movie somewhere in The Hobbit, and had Jackson shown more restraint we might have seen it. The film could easily lose at least 45 minutes, but it feels as if director feels so beholden to his previous work that he needs to deliver an epic on the scale of LOTR. But that's not what this book is, and we're left with an uneasy balance - the lighter tone to distinguish this as a separate story but a strict adherence to the LOTR structure - but ultimately doesn't fulfill either side.

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The Press Reviews

  • Plays younger and lighter than Fellowship and its follow-ups, but does right by the faithful and has a strength in Martin Freeman’s Bilbo that may yet see this trilogy measure up to the last one. There is treasure here. Full Review

  • Elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy, but there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going. Full Review

  • Fantasy how it ought to be. Full Review

  • Fulfilling just a fraction of Tolkien's There and Back Again subtitle, The Hobbit alternately rewards and abuses auds' appetite for all things Middle-earth. Full Review

  • Jackson has made it with brio and fun, and Martin Freeman is just right as Bilbo Baggins: he plays it with understatement and charm. Full Review

  • At its best, it recaptures the Rings movies' breadth, detail, and staggering sense of beauty. Full Review

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