Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Unexpected Technology

Yesterday I went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and was completely overwhelmed by the effect of the HFR format. High Frame Rate technology is truly amazing to behold. It is also devastatingly awful. By some miracle of alchemy, because it makes motion look so real, it makes the film look like the opposite of what a cinematic experience is supposed to look, which in turn makes it look completely fake, like watching actors move around a film set. Most of the movie looks like one of those old-timey shot-on-video television dramas, while the CGI looks like it belongs in a video game or an amusement park ride. Whenever an actor makes a quick motion, it looks like someone pushed the fast-forward button. Because of the way single-projector 3D setups work, HFR somehow distorts the 3D effect, so that fast-moving objects seem to float against the background. Worst of all, it made my eyes physically hurt during the first hour or so of the screening. And yet, the high frame rate really does turn The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey into an awe-inspiring visual experience. Most of the time I found it to be completely distracting, but when it does work, it works like nothing you've ever seen on a screen. The next two Hobbit films have already been shot, so they'll probably bear similar flaws, but I think it's fair to assume that by the time James Cameron starts shooting the Avatar sequels next year they'll be able to work out the kinks and make HFR look absolutely spectacular.

So how was the actual movie? Well, obviously, it was way too long for is own good, but not half as boring as I thought it would be. The Gollum scene alone was worth the price of admission, and the rest was pretty cool too, so I will definitely be revisiting the world of The Hobbit in December 2013 as well as December 2014, if only to see the cute talking dragon. I sure do love those cute talking dragons.

Sara Canning does not star in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey because she doesn't have a penis, but what she lacks in genitalia she certainly makes up for with a truly glorious mouth, and right now she's the only reason I still watch Primeval: New World.

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