Impressions of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and 48fps 3D


Let me start off by saying I’m not a big Lord of the Rings fan, I like the films but LOTR is not one of my favourite film franchises. I mostly went to see The Hobbit for my boyfriend, and because of my curiosity for Peter Jackson’s new 48fps 3D.

For those of you that don’t know, all films at the cinema are currently shown at 24 frames-per-second so Jackson has decided to double the amount of frames we see. Now because it’s filmed at 48fps, this doesn’t mean the film looks double the speed – it is in fact intended to give the film a higher quality. Many are calling the idea “revolutionary” but it’s not, many 3D films, particularly at theme parks, are shown at a higher frame rate, some even go up to 60fps. However, this is the first time a director has chosen to do this for a feature-length film, so it’s a new idea in that aspect. I was worried about watching The Hobbit at 48fps as I’d heard many reports beforehand that it made the film look terrible, ruined it even but in reality? The media were making a big fuss over nothing.

There are upsides and downsides of 48fps 3D. On the plus side, it improves the quality of the 3D effects, especially with motion-blurring. When a fast-moving action scene takes place or the camera is planning across the screen, the 3D can often look blurred or unfocused, as if the eyes are struggling to adjust to it. 48fps seems to fix this problem as the 3D, to me at least, looked a lot smoother. However, the downside is that some parts of the film look noticeably sped up, as if they’re running at the wrong speed. The best example of this is one the first scenes of the film, where Bilbo is walking around his house. He looks as if he’s walking just too fast perhaps this is more noticeable on the slower parts of the film. You can also notice this when characters are making hand gestures, it doesn’t look quite right but I wouldn’t say for one second it ruins the film. It might be a case of audiences having to get used to it but remember the 48fps 3D is only being shown on cinema screens that support it, so you won’t be forced to view it if you don’t want to.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey … one embargo to bind them.

As for the film itself, The Hobbit should not have been made into three films. Jackson managed to get one film out of each LOTR book and he should have done the same with The Hobbit. Although there are enjoyable parts, The Hobbit is very slow moving. The start of the film where there’s a little nod to the first LOTR film and where Bilbo meets Gandalf and the dwarves for the first time seems to take forever. The audience is waiting for the adventure to begin and Jackson spends far too much time in Bilbo’s house. The Hobbit is a string of little adventures and encounters that come one after the other – they’re safe, something bad happens, they escape, something else bad happens. This continues until we reach the point of the film – where Bilbo meets Gollum for the first time. Parts like this are fantastic, they’re what we watch The Hobbit for, the real back-story. In fact, one of the best parts of the film happens right at the beginning which explains the story of how the dwarves lost their home, it’s concise but with a lot of action, mainly a fire-breathing dragon.

Needless to say the costumes, CGI and the cinematography all look amazing, you’ll be pushed to find a more visually striking film this year and perhaps that’s what The Hobbit is all about. Martin Freeman is the perfect Bilbo Baggins, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect actor, he’s naive, funny and charming and watching his character change in the next two films will definitely be interesting.

So should you go and see The Hobbit or not? My advice is, if you’re a big LOTR fan, you’ll love it and you should but otherwise, The Hobbit will fail to capture your full attention for the 2 and a half hours that it lasts. It simply would have been better if it was one film or two at the most. It seems a shame that it’s been stretched out so much purely to make money but maybe LOTR fans will like this as it means they get to see more of the book come to life on screen.