Hey, several of us even have countdown clocks on our blogs for the premiere–that will be held 232 days from today. Here’s my countdown clock link [(2) below]:
And of course, unless you live under a rock–or you don’t glance at my blog banner–you cannot be unaware of my and many people’s interest in the character of Thorin Oakenshield, and the man portraying him, the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage [(3) standing far left in the image below].
And to remind us of that stunning The Hobbit movie trailer, here is that link [(4) below]:
I still get goosebumps every time I watch and listen to this film trailer. As I have said before, it is visually stunning–very lush and painterly–and an example of masterful storytelling.
But by now, most of us have read and heard some of the reviews about the ten minute excerpt of The Hobbit shown at CinemaCon this week. To be truthful, they weren’t all glowing–about the cinematic technology. And I can’t figure it out. How do I reconcile the above film trailer’s beautiful and enticing visual effects with some of the reports of card board like visuals? Well, here is a sampling of reviews to help me sort it out–kind of like the PBS News Hour approach to evaluating issues from a variety of perspectives.
A) Oh sure, TORN (www.theonering.net) — the wonderful resources site about The Hobbit and LOTR filming — had some live discussion last night (Tuesday April 24, 2012) at :
TORN posted that their guy Cliff (Quickbeam) seemed to enjoy the ten minutes he saw:
“Over all, Cliff was taken aback by the presentation of 3d 48fps – describing it as something he has never witnessed before …” [(5)]
Unfortunately, TORN had technical difficulties for a while Tuesday night. So other than a nice pre-recorded interview between Cliff and Sean Astin, TORN still hadn’t been able to get Cliff on live to share his perceptions an hour into their show as of 6:22pm Pacific when I went on to work on other things–like this essay. Ah well, technical glitches happen. Let’s hope that Cliff writes up his impressions and TORN posts them.
B) But the review that is disappointing–and unexpected–was from a fellow named Devin Faraci at BadassDigest.com. Of course, this online page’s name might make one pause about the veracity of his claims. Mostly because one presumes that their writers endeavor to be “badasses” and not “fair and balanced” as one broadcaster likes to promote himself as–as if being hip and edgy required the use of bad language, let alone including that bad language as your moniker. But, c’est la vie, that was the appellation they chose. I will let you read Faraci’s article [(6)] and decide for yourself if his criticisms about the 48 frames per second technology are on target, or merely incendiary in the hope of getting himself and his web page some publicity. Well he succeeded on a small scale since I and perhaps others are linking to his article. However, in a nutshell, here are his two complaints as I perceive them:
1. Though the cinematography of the real scenery in helicopter fly bys was gorgeous, Faraci feels that the cinematography of the scenes filmed on sets looked too much like a set was being photographed 2D. Maybe Faraci has an astigmatism like mine and 3D effects don’t work for him very well either.
2. And, Faraci thinks that the film footage still needs some post production work done on it to make the sets seem more real. Duh! There are still 6 months to go for the film editing and CGI people to work their magic, then one month of frenzied film copying for the thousands of theatres world wide the movie will be shown in starting with the November 2012 New Zealand premiere and then the December 14, 2012 U.S premiere. I think it’s safe to assume that Sir Peter Jackson and his creative team will refine and finesse The Hobbit for our viewing pleasure. Sir Peter is a consummate filmmaker and storyteller.
C) In closing on a positive note, Darkjackal32 on her Heirs of Durin Blog [(7)]–at www.thorinoakenshield.net and linked over in my Hobbit Writings about it resources blogroll–was where I first heard a mention last week of how the 48 frames per second technology might impact theater goers’ experiences. And the articles she links to in her posts seem to be more positive about the 48 frames per second technology and its cinematic representation. So here are DJ32’s two posts on the subject:
Post of April 16, 2012: http://thorinoakenshield.net/2012/04/16/48-frames-per-second/
Post of April 19, 2012: http://thorinoakenshield.net/2012/04/19/more-on-the-hobbit-in-48-frames-per-second/
In general, the Heirs of Durin blog contains a wealth of incisive analysis about The Hobbit tale and the current filming of it. I highly recommend this blog to you.
Of course, with whatever storytelling medium you enjoy–reading a book, watching a theatrical production, or going to the movies–there is an important contract that the audience agrees to participate in. We agree to “suspend our disbelief.” That for the time we are being told a story, our “participation” is required in believing what we are seeing is real. We must use our imaginations in concert with the filmmakers’ storytelling.
So here’s hoping that the amazing December 2011 Hobbit film trailer turns out to be representative of the whole movie. Because I fully intend to participate and suspend my disbelief with the film of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And when The Hobbit hits theatres in December 2012? I’m heading to Middle Earth “with bells on”. Care to join me? I wonder if that nice Thorin bloke would give me a lift? [(8) below]
(1) “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” movie poster shows Bilbo Baggins (as portrayed by Martin Freeman) walking toward his destiny was found at http://www.thehobbit.com/media/downloads/wallpaper/auj1280x1024.jpg
(2) Gratiana’s The Hobbit December 14, 2012 Premiere countdown clock was found at http://www.timeanddate.com/counters/customcounter.html?msg=The+Hobbit+US+Premiere&month=12&day=14&year=2012&hour=5&min=00&sec=00&p0=64
(3) Cropped and brightened image of the Dwarfs–including Richard Armitage standing far left portraying Thorin Oakenshield–singing the Misty Mountains Cold Song in The Hobbit December 2011 Movie Teaser Trailer was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Hobbit/HobbitTrailer/album/slides/HobbitTrailer18.html
(4) The Hobbit Film Trailer 20 December 2011, video provided by bccmee2 was found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuuZWsY3s8c&feature=player_embedded
(5) Cliff Quickbeam quote on TORN was found at http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/04/24/55364-spoiler-alert-cinemacon-hobbit-footage-quick-hits-torn-tuesday-moves-to-530pm-pt/
(6) Devin Faraci, April 24, 2012, “CinemaCon 2012: THE HOBBIT Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second” was found at http://badassdigest.com/2012/04/24/cinemacon-2012-the-hobbit-underwhelms-at-48-frames-per-secon/
(7) Heirs of Durin blog by DarkJackal32–and articles about the 48 frames per second technology–can be found at www.thorinoakenshield.net
(8) Image of Richard Armitage portraying Thorin Oakenshield is a screen cap (brightened) from The Hobbit Movie teaser trailer and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Hobbit/HobbitTrailer/album/slides/HobbitTrailer06.html