Christmas Weekend Movie Marathon Part II: The Hobbit
This is the first year that Loretta and I spent the holidays away from both our families, so we had to come up with ways to stay entertained. The weekend leading up to Christmas, we decided to see one new movie every night.
After we got home from Milwaukee on Sunday we had nothing to do and decided to check out The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (imdb.com). This time we didn’t mess up the screening times and actually saw the right movie. We saw it in a regular screen because I hate 3D and didn’t see the point in seeing it in HFR.
The Hobbit is the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s saga, but was the last film to be made. When I was in high school Peter Jackson (imdb.com) made the Lord of the Rings trilogy that has been a huge influence on me since; so when I heard he was making The Hobbit I was excited, but worried at the same time.
Ian McKellen (imdb.com) returns as Gandalf, the wizard who thrusts Bilbo into action. Martin Freeman (imdb.com), who I know as Dr. Watson from the British series Sherlock (imdb.com), makes the perfect Bilbo. And Peter Jackson (despite all my negativity) really rocked the whole film.
In a rare moment, I have nothing negative to say about the cast. Ian McKellen was his usual brilliant self; and having some familiar faces come back (Elijah Wood as Frodo, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel) was a marvelous way to make the movie connect to the LOTR trilogy. But it was the new actors and characters that really sold the cast.
I already said that Martin Freeman makes the perfect Bilbo. He’s got this natural tendency that reads as reluctant, but brave; which makes Bilbo’s change from Shireling to adventurer really fun to watch.
Among the numerous faces of the dwarves was Richard Armitage (imdb.com) whose gruff nature made for a solid Thorin Oakenshield. He led the amazing cast of dwarves that were amusing to watch because they really made the characters pop off the screen (and I didn’t even see it in 3D).
I’ve generally been a big fan of Peter Jackson films; even his cheesy zombie flick, Dead Alive (imdb.com). And I obviously loved the Lord of the Rings films. So, The Hobbit should have been a no-brainer that it would be amazing. But, the more I heard about the production, the more I became concerned that his love of technology would take over his direction of the film. I heard that at one point he had 36 RED cameras on set (18 setups because of shooting for 3D), and that just sounds ridiculous to me. We (I) chose not to see it in 3D because it hurts my eyes and I hate those glasses.
Then there’s the issue of the HFR. What is HFR, Jeremy? HFR stands for “high frame rate” and basically means that instead of shooting The Hobbit at 24 frames per second (standard for film) he shot it at 48 fps. This higher frame rate is supposed to create a sharper image with less frame blending, which means you can get a higher resolution out of it. Clips of HFR that I’ve seen don’t look great to me; and from what I’ve heard, those who did see it said it wasn’t really worth the extra money.
With all these technology boundaries being pushed, I was afraid that Jackson had lost sight of the story and emotion. But he didn’t and The Hobbit was one of the best films I saw all year. He knocked this one out of the park, and I can’t wait for the next two films to come out.
Just take a look at the first trailer and you can see how beautiful this film was:
The acting in The Hobbit was amazing, the costume and makeup design was flawless, and the production design was absolutely gorgeous. Mix all that in with and amazing story, great directing, and a lot of nostalgia, and you’ve got yourself a damn fine movie. One that is definitely worth seeing in theaters.