Hobbit Thoughts


I don’t want to disrespect the awful day the world went through yesterday, but personally my day started in a pretty great place and I want to talk about it. Maybe it’s my way of rebelling against tragedy, though I probably would’ve blogged about it anyway.

Normally, the first thing I do every morning is watch The Today Show and check twitter but on Friday morning I was asleep on the hard wood floor of my friend James’s apartment in Grapevine. The plan was to wake up early and drive to Dallas to watch the movie, and beat the rush that we thought might be there, which wasn’t.

My mom called me at about 5:30 in the afternoon, when I was decompressing later at a coffee shop, to ask what I thought about the news and tell me she loved me. I had no idea what she was talking about. I remembered that I’d noticed many flags at half staff when I was driving around but I thought it was for some other sad story I’d glazed over. It was odd for me to miss something this huge, since I’m an avid twitter user, where you usually get your news about 3 minutes after the news does. My first thought was that another shooting was just so redundant. After my mom told me how young the victims were I , like many, felt a new depth of shock. Words don’t mean much in a situation like that. My prayers are with the victims and their families and the community up there.

But I’m going to back up to that hard wood floor, because that’s a better story..    

I got to be one of the lucky ones to watch The Hobbit in 3D IMAX at the high frame rate. It required some serious nerd work to make it happen, involving buying tickets 3 weeks in advance on Fandango and sleeping on the floor of another guy’s apartment at 32 years of age, but all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us, or something.

I went with my friends James and Larry. We left James’s apartment around 8, stopped by Chick-fil-A for breakfast, and drove out to Dallas. The movie is only playing at 48 frames per second at 2 theaters in Texas, and this was one of them.

We got there about 8:45 or 9 and went in, expecting a line and there was no one there. In fact, the people at the theater seemed surprised that we got there so early (I think they felt sorry for us). We walked around the mall for a little while to pass time (the theater was at a mall) and decided to get to our seats about 2 hours before the show started.

We waited and whatever, a lot of this isn’t very interesting. The movie started at about 11:45 after the previews.

First impressions: Personally, the high frame rate didn’t stick out to me. I’d been reading scary things about it but I just thought the movie was incredibly clear. It looked fantastic, and a fantastic-looking movie is not something I would complain about. It didn’t take me out of the story or anything. It enhanced the experience. James and Larry said they noticed the difference and loved it, but I’m going to have to wait to see it in 2D or at the regular frame rate to have a real opinion. It didn’t make me feel sick or anything like that. I don’t see a ton of 3D movies, so I think I was already distracted from that whole part of the movie.

I would say that IF you live close to a theater that’s playing the movie in HFR, then it’s worth it, but it’s probably not an extremely different experience in a different format. I’m not going to go an hour out of my way to see it again, but I probably will try to see it in 3D again. Some 3D seems unnecessary in movies but I thought it added a lot here. There are scenes where a bug or butterfly or bird is flying through huge, beautiful vistas and the dimension puts the bird right in front of you. I don’t know, I like stuff like that.

As far as just the movie goes, listen I’m an incredibly biased person with these Middle-earth movies. I saw all the Lord of the Rings films a few times in the theaters, read the big book, owned the extended edition DVDs, and recently re watched the extended edition trilogy on Blu ray, so I’m pretty deep into the target audience. The Hobbit book is right around 300 pages and the L.O.T.R. book is near 1,000, so the pacing of the adaptations isn’t the same.

Last night I was reading the book of The Hobbit and noticing that they seemed to include just about every moment from every page, PLUS material from the Lord of the Rings appendices. I don’t know if I’ve seen a movie adaptation of a book with this much story detail. The thing is, if you like the book I think you HAVE to like the movie. And this first movie covers only the first 6 or so chapters of the book, out 19 total. Peter Jackson spread the story about as thin as he could. Some will be bothered by that and feel it’s slow, and the beginning IS a little slow, but also it’s just cool to be “back in Middle-earth”.

The stakes aren’t as high in this movie as the previous trilogy but this is no Phantom Menace situation. The acting is excellent, the casting all seems right on to me, the tone is lighter than the other movies but you already know that if you’re familiar with the book.

Bottom line: This is a fun movie that’s worth watching in 3D, ESPECIALLY if you’re already a fan of these Middle-earth movies. There’s a lot to enjoy and talk about afterwards. The drama isn’t as high as the other movies but that takes nothing away from the enjoyable storytelling. It’s great to look at, in any format I would assume. I guess I should just say that I liked it. 

Weekend out.

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