The Hobbit at 48 fps: An Unexpected Review is put into Perspective, 4/25/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #172)

For over two years now, many fans worldwide have been waiting for the December 14, 2012 premiere of The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey  [(1) right] with breathless anticipation.

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]:

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

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 :

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/04/24/55364-spoiler-alert-cinemacon-hobbit-footage-quick-hits-torn-tuesday-moves-to-530pm-pt/

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]

References

(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

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About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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8 Responses to The Hobbit at 48 fps: An Unexpected Review is put into Perspective, 4/25/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #172)

  1. DarkJackal says:

    I recorded nearly the whole TORn broadcast. It’s over an hour, and wanders about here and there, especially toward the end, but its here if you have the inclination to listen to all the stuff that Hobbit fans want to know about.

    http://thorinoakenshield.net/torn-broadcast-regarding-hobbit-footage/

    The mentions of Thorin are contradictory. When asked by people on the chat about Thorin, the commentator responds there is no Thorin/Richard Armitage in it (and little of the dwarves in general), yet says in other parts that the dwarves are all introduced as in the Trailer, and that Thorin and the rest are shown attacking the Trolls, and Thorin specifically is being threatened at arrow point by Legolas in Mirkwood. It may be possible he simply means there are no new closeups or anything substantial to add to the feel of the character, rather just a bit here and there in action shots (we are used to that from the vlogs!)

    Like

    • Thanks for this information and link DJ32,
      My DSL went down just after I posted around midnight. So I didn’t get a chance to check back and see if anything new went up.
      Folks mosey on over to the Heirs of Durin link above regarding the film footage.
      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  2. DarkJackal says:

    As far as the 48 fps effect on the feel of the film, I certainly can’t ignore all the criticism I’ve read today. Many of these are people who wanted to give it a big thumbs up, but couldn’t. But keep in mind it may have much to do with the footage being unfinished. This article by Ain’t It Cool News gives a hint of how that might have changed things:

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/55212

    Still, not the best idea to put forth unfinished footage when you’re trying to sell something to the skeptical. While it might be possible it will look incredible in 48 fps with some tweaking, this isn’t going to help get the theaters upgraded by December!

    But whatever. The reaction to the content was good, and ultimately that’s what it’s all about. I don’t need it to be in some revolutionary new format to enjoy it. I loved the look of the trailer, and I’ve only seen that on my computer monitor.

    Like

    • Hi DJ32,
      Thanks for Quint’s assessment that you linked here. It does sound like the discussion about 48 fps will revolve around “reframing” our expectation of what a movie looks like. And it was interesting to note that he felt that the longer sequences–with less editing cuts–seemed more fluid and easier on the eyes. Hmmmm.

      I was also glad to read that though Sir Peter Jackson is touting 48 fps as the new standard, there will be a 24 fps version of The Hobbit in theatres. This makes complete sense since it would be a monumental technology shift for movie theatres–with its accompanying equipment cost.

      I’m sure as the film gets closer to its final product we’ll see more of it–if only to dispel the notion that the unfinished 48 fps footage shown at CinemaCon is what we can expect. I’m looking forward to a some amazing storytelling when The Hobbit is released to U.S. theatres in December 2012.

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights and resources with my readers!

      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  3. RANet (www.RichardArmitageNet.com) shared in today’s news that there is an excellent collection of responses to the CinemaCon viewing of the 10 minute Hobbit footage linked on the Middle Earth News web site.

    And here is that Middle Earth News link that RANet kindly provided:

    http://news.mymiddle-earth.net/2012/04/24/cinemacons-10-minute-hobbit-preview-details-revealed/

    Like

  4. 4/26/12–Fun Day Sunday CRAzy Captioning Reminder

    Dear Readers,
    Just a quick note to remind you that I’m planning a CRAzy Captioning activity for this coming Fun Day Sunday (April 29th). And, I would love to have your suggestions as to which Richard Armitage character portraits I should use–action shots work best.

    For the uninitiated, CRAzy Captioning is a fun way to enjoy some of Richard Armitage’s character portrayals–by “recontextualizing” them. That’s a fancy way of me saying that I write humorous captions that provide an alternate explanation for what is happening in the scene. It’s all in good fun–with “clean” humor–and done with the utmost respect for Mr. Armitage. Here is a link to two earlier CRAzy Captioning blog posts that I’ve done (most recently during FanstRAvaganza 3 in mid March) as examples:

    https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/f3-crazy-captioning-im-too-sexy-for-my-t-shirt-richard-armitage-style-31312-gratiana-lovelace-post-150b/

    and

    https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/f3-crazy-captioning-whimsical-moments-in-ra-characters-31512-gratiana-lovelace-post-150c/

    But for this CRAzy Captioning, I would like you–my readers–to suggest the RA character pictures. So please just comment to me by the 12midnight (your time) Friday, April 27th by visiting last week’s Fun Day Sunday post and making a comment with your RA character portrait suggestions at:

    https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/fun-day-sunday-richard-armitage-career-interviews-trivia-quiz-by-fabi-42212-gratiana-lovelace-post-170/

    Thanks and best wishes, Grati ;->

    Like

  5. bccmee says:

    Since I haven’t seen the 10 minutes of Hobbit footage, I am going to reserve comment.

    However, I do have a contribution for your cRAzy captioning contest: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/SkyHDad/album/slides/HDad03.html

    ♥ ♥ ♥

    Like

    • Hi Bccmee!
      Thanks for your nice note. I agree with you about waiting until we see the final version of The Hobbit before passing judgement about it.

      And thanks for your CRAzy Captioning suggestion. It’s great! I knew I could count on you to give me a John Porter option.

      Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

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