I’ve been to see The Hobbit, though not as a human guinea pig for the 48-frame rate process — the most convenient screening for me was shown in 2D, 24-frame.
As for the movie: I was pleasantly surprised that this rocking, three-hour epic kept me engaged all the way. No dull stretches, like in a previous stfnal marathon, The Postman, where I took a 10-minute walk in the middle of the film.
True, as the reviewers point out, a lot of The Hobbit’s time is lavished showing the “unexpected party.” But beyond the obvious slapstick comedy, the extended sequence endows every dwarf with an individual character and personality. No doubt it’s sacrilege to say I thought most of the dwarves in the book were fungible except for the two extremes, kingly Thorin and corpulent Bombur, while the movie works hard to make them deeply distinctive in every way, not just in costume and hairstyle. (The riot will begin in five, four….)
The last half of the movie is largely a series of calamities orchestrated in CGI. There was more of that than I needed, partly because I felt I’d seen some of this action before and didn’t like it the first time, watching hordes of goblins chase our heroes through underground passages and over rickety scaffolding within the mountain in a mashup of the mine chase from Temple of Doom and the descent of the unbalanced stairs and landings in National Treasure. But I don’t say they should have done something different – the record box office speaks for itself – much as I found other parts of the movie more to my taste.
Credit where it is due the technology, though, which is crucial to the movie’s dramatic meeting between Bilbo and Gollum, certainly one of the highlights.
With further thought I might also be able to put into words my appreciation for the parallels between the Lord of the Rings trilogy and this first of the three Hobbit pictures. Consider, for example, what does it mean to be a king in Middle-Earth? Contrast Thorin Oakenshield’s obvious nobility and clarity about his role, a character Aragorn kept under wraps for two-and-a-half movies.
Anyway, The Hobbit is a fair trade for the time and bucks required to see it.