The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Enjoyed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

I’ve seen this in both 2D and in the high frame rate 3D. Which do I prefer – without a doubt, the 2D version.

As for the film itself; say 2/3 of it is from The Hobbit, 1/3 added material. The book itself was targeted at children (though a very adult compatible read) and as such contained quite a bit of child-related humour. Much of this was brought out in the film. The extra material was sourced from places like  Lord of the Rings or other Tolkien Middle Earth writings, and quite correctly was portrayed in a serious manner. However this mix of almost slapstick comedy mixed with seriousness didn’t quite gel with me. Considering the length of the film leaving out the extra bits would have cut it down to around two hours and given a more consistent flow to the film. Also I thought the bits taken from the book were particularly well done, where the extra scenes were ‘all right’ but nothing special.

One area I did find a bit disappointing (original book or new material) was character development, or rather the lack of it. There was some great acting performances from the lead actors, but nothing there to actually make me ‘feel’ for them. The only exception to this was for Gollum. Where Bilbo first comes across Gollum and finds the ring, the riddle scene, and then the escape were really well done; and in a short space of time I found myself hating, liking, despising and feeling for Gollum. It was a shame the rest of the film was not up to this quality of emotional involvement.

As for the 2D/3D/HFR arguments, I first watched it in 2D and enjoyed it. When watching the 3D version, seen in the 48 frames a second format, I found the extra effects very distracting. It immediately lost the feel of a real actor performance and took on the style and characteristics of a strangely artificial animation. Something of a weird cross between a Pixar and a DreamWorks production that didn’t quite work. The close-up shots were very much in your face 3D where the long shots were quite the opposite, lacking an equivalent sense of close to far away proportion. As for the the Goblin fight, that made me think ‘computer game video’. This style of filming may represent the cutting edge of modern film technology, but it took away any sense of involvement with the story.

One area I must give credit to, and that’s the music. Really well done throughout the film.

So should I go and see it again it will definitely be in 2D.

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