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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
48 FPS Clouded my Judgement, 5 January 2013

As we prepared for the return of PJ in tackling further adventures in Middle Earth, I think it's safe to say that it was unavoidable that this new trilogy would be weighed and measured against the masterpiece that is the LOTR. In short, this project does not measure up on many levels, and even more frustrating, I feel like I couldn't even properly or fairly form an opinion on this piece because of Jackson's production decisions; more on that later. I'll begin by saying that Martin Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo was very good and I enjoyed his take on the character. I also enjoyed the return of Gandalf and Gollum, as they were some of the strongest characters from the previous trilogy. Indeed, there were some very beautiful shots in this film and I think the charm of the Shire still exists as it did in Fellowship of the Ring (which happens to be one of my favorite movies ever). I also enjoyed the fact that Jackson delved into the appendices to flesh out the story a bit. I am a Tolkien fan, so I can respect adding some details that many found boring or unneeded. In addition I didn't have a huge problem with the Pale Orc becoming the major protagonist. I get why he did it, making more conflict in the story, and I don't think it betrayed Tolkien by expanding his role in the film. In addition, unlike many, I didn't feel too terribly bored at the long, drawn out introduction to The Hobbit and the music is once again outstanding. HOWEVER, most of these pros are overshadowed by a host of problems, that I think, could have been avoided if the proper channels were taken. Even with Jackson's use of the appendices, I think it was a mistake to make this story a trilogy. My first gripe on this is the fact the movie is almost 3 hours long, yet I feel almost zero character development. It seems like in the first half hour of the first installment of LOTR there was more character development than there was in the entirety of The Hobbit. I also feel Jackson compensated for the lack of strong Aragorn-like character by trying to make Thorin just that. Maybe it's just because Armitage isn't up to Viggo M.'s standards, but I felt there was something missing from a strong LEAD role. That being said, I feel PJ could have gotten away with making two parts to the story instead of three. This leads me to my biggest gripe of all, which actually has become my biggest issue with cinema, EVER. I saw the movie in IMAX 3D HFR (Hi Frame Rate), and in short, I wish I can unsee everything that I witnessed. I've heard some praise for this newfangled way to portray film, but from what I took in, it was god-awful. Period. From the first frame to the last, I sat in awe, trying to understand WHY anyone would ever decide to film in 48 FPS compared to the normal 24. My first impression was that everyone was moving about 1.5 the normal speed, and I even looked into the projector booth to make sure everything was OK. However, this is the way HFR is presented. No instant is missed when filmed this way, so the normal-looking motion blur which we have all become accustomed to- and is actually MORE realistic looking (imagine that)- is not there. Along with this seemingly quicker-paced imagery, is the dreaded "soap opera effect" which many new HDTVs come equipped with these days, sometimes called "Smooth Motion", etc.. In short, it makes a multi-million dollar movie look cheap. Albeit, the landscapes are beautiful and crisp, it does absolutely no justice to the special effects or really any of the work they put into set design. Things look fake and odd; throughout the entire film I couldn't shake the idea that something was wrong. In some scenes I felt like I was watching a daytime television show and in others I felt like I was watching a video game-specifically the beginning Smaug sequence and later, the scene with the trolls. In addition, many scenes just looked tacky using the HFR technique. When Radagast is running from the Orcs on his bunny-sled on the plains, it looked horrible. Simply horrible. It really frustrated me and I wish I could take it back and see the 2D or regular frame rate 3D version. Instead, the HFR version was distracting and it made it hard for me to like the movie because I was so preoccupied with the odd visuals I was receiving on screen. It's fair to say that the HFR even clouded my judgment on the movie. I do believe I would have rated this movie higher if I had seen the other versions but I was so annoyed by the end of it that I simply couldn't rate it higher. I do plan to return and see the 24 frame rate versions to get a second opinion. Apparently, according to Jackson and James Cameron, this is the future of cinema. Due to the negative critical reviews this film has received I HOPE they can take back their claims and revert to the normalcy of 24 FPS for the future. If not, I sure hope they stand alone in their opinions, because if it is the future of film, I may never see a movie in the theaters again.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
It is What it Is!, 13 December 2009

You know what you are going to see when you go to this movie...DMB (and Ben Harper with 3 songs and some crazy asses at the beginning with 2 songs) giving some awesome concert footage. I'm guessing anyone who sees this movie is already completely aware of the amazing live performances Dave puts on, and for anyone who has been lucky enough to see him in person, this is definitely the next best thing. I think the set list they chose was actually pretty good, interwoven with classics and of course the hits from Big Whiskey which they played at every show this past summer. The 3D was pretty fun and the sound was almost as good as actually being there....almost. If you are a hardcore DMB fan, or are just getting acquainted with them, I say check this out because it's a fun ride with some great Dave moments...(the last song and the way the songs tease and transition is super rad!)