As a huge fan of all things both Middle Earth and Peter Jackson, the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a pretty big deal for me. At the time of its theatrical release, a lot of discussion centered on the 48 frame per second edition that certain theaters would be screening. As my local theater had the 48fps 3D version showing on their RPX screen, it was my format of choice for the several theatrical viewings of the film that I attended.
My initial reaction to the new format was that it was sharp and detailed, with amazing 3D, but somehow created distance from the film. It had an almost soap opera quality to the image, something that I initially found distracting. It felt more video than film. As I took in my first viewing, over the course of the film’s running time I seemed to adapt to it. And upon subsequent viewings I was prepared for the different quality. By the time I had finished with my trips to the theater to watch The Hobbit, I thought the 48 fps format had won me over. Surely you can’t go wrong with clarity and detail?
Jump to the present, where I recently purchased a 3D 1080p LED set. I just finished watching The Hobbit again, this time at the good old-fashioned 24 fps rate. And the verdict? I felt like I was seeing the film for the first time all over again. Instead of feeling distanced from middle earth, I felt much more drawn into the story. I loved the Hobbit from my first viewing, but tonight I REALLY L-O-V-E-D the Hobbit. The Hobbit is a long film, and I was fully captivated to an even greater extent than I was in the theater. I fully believe this is due to being more comfortable with the 24 fps rate.
What does this mean for the future? Will 48 fps eventually gain the same “intimate” feeling with enough exposure? What format will the sequels be shown at, and which will I choose to see? I don’t know the answers to these questions at this time. What I do know is I am really glad I finally experienced the film at 24 fps 3D. I have a whole new level of admiration for a film I was already quite take with.
- ‘The Hobbit’ 3D tech divides our CNET reviewers (reviews.cnet.com)
- ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Trailer: More Walking, More Dragon (geekologie.com)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) (chrishecox.wordpress.com)
- What To Watch For: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (concretisation.com)