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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
A reaffirmation of what makes cinema magical : TH s failure
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Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Mar 2 2013, 3:45pm

Post #1 of 175 (2532 views)
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A reaffirmation of what makes cinema magical : TH s failure Can't Post

Very interesting read:

http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2012/12/19/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-masterclass-in-why-hfr-fails-and-a-reaffirmation-of-what-makes-cinema-magical/

I agree with almost everything he says, in particular this little piece- from another source- with regards to the over long, over the top, video game aesthetics of the violent scenes :

"Mr. Jackson has embraced what might be called theme-park-ride cinema, the default style of commercially anxious, creatively impoverished 3-D moviemaking. The action sequences are exercises in empty, hectic kineticism, with very little sense of peril or surprise. Characters go hurtling down chutes and crumbling mountainsides or else exert themselves in chaotic battles with masses of roaring, rampaging pixels. "


Theres some technical jargon but its easily understood.

Watching Lotr recently and reading articles like these only assure my belief that indeed, TH, didnt deserve any Oscars.

Maybe Make up, but those fake noses and beards ..Crazy

Vous commencez ŕ m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


bborchar
Rohan


Mar 2 2013, 3:57pm

Post #2 of 175 (1367 views)
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It wasn't a failure... [In reply to] Can't Post

Not everyone liked the HFR....but many people did. Just because some people didn't like it doesn't mean EVERYONE hated it. I usually hate 3D, but the HFR made it watchable for the first time ever. I enjoyed watching the action scenes in crystal clarity...I felt like I could finally see something I had never seen before. I also liked the 2D version, but I had more fun watching the HFR.

And saying that it was a failure because it didn't win any Oscars is absurd. MANY good movies and great performances don't even get nominated, let alone win. The Hobbit wasn't an Oscar-kind of a movie. And for all of the griping about the make-up I see from some people...it DID get an Oscar nomination for make-up, which means that it was worthy of an Oscar in that department.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 2 2013, 4:06pm

Post #3 of 175 (1174 views)
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Thanks for the link [In reply to] Can't Post

Technical but comprehensible, as you say.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 2 2013, 4:11pm

Post #4 of 175 (1228 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't call it a failure. It's new ground, and perhaps storytelling will change to accomodate it. Or not; maybe HFR needs to be reworked to be more friendly to human perceptions. Given the current BO numbers, plenty of people didn't hate it. I do note that the reviewer connected to the story in traditional formats.
I do agree on that point; have to admit that 2D has been my favorite view, having seen all versions except IMAX.
Maybe "growing pains" is a good term for where the technology is.


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Mar 2 2013, 4:20pm

Post #5 of 175 (1182 views)
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I'm with Brethil above [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't see it as a failure. It's a start. Color film when it first came out was highly criticized by many who felt that it was too fake and that black and white film should not be altered. I feel the same way about HFR. I saw it in every format. I did not hate HFR and actually I liked it. The best format for me was IMAX and that was largely I think due to the sound being far superior.

But all innovation has to start somewhere and this is a starting point, not an ending point. PJ is an innovator.

Here are a few others:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6hz_s2XIAU


bborchar
Rohan


Mar 2 2013, 4:23pm

Post #6 of 175 (1172 views)
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That's a better description... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not perfect, and I haven't even heard the people who support it say it is. But it's honestly felt like I was watching a whole different movie when I saw it in the HFR. But the only way to learn is to try something and see what the feedback tells you. I would be surprised if the next Hobbit movie wasn't somehow improved with the HFR. But I always have a problem with a critic labeling something as a "failure" because it didn't work for them. PJ took a risk, but not because he wanted to make more money (people would have seen the 3D version, anyway). It would have been much cheaper to produce these films according to the status quo, and even though it has its flaws, I can see how wonderful it could eventually be. So it's not a failure to me in that regard. Trying something new and different is never a failure...it's just a learning experience.


Tigero
Rivendell


Mar 2 2013, 4:24pm

Post #7 of 175 (1132 views)
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Yeah, must agree [In reply to] Can't Post

AUJ abused the new technology for it's own harm. Fight scenes were a big part of it and they just weren't as epic and interesting as LOTR ones.

I was surprised that hobbit got the makeup and hairstyling nomination, i thaught the dwarves looked very 'plastic' and unconvincing. Visual effects however should have gone to AUJ...

Pessimists have no disappointments.


dormouse
Half-elven


Mar 2 2013, 4:33pm

Post #8 of 175 (1168 views)
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It wasn't a failure [In reply to] Can't Post

Lots of people did like the HFR - including people like myself, who can't stand regular 3D or see the point of it. Aesthetically I found the HFR a completely different experience and from what I could see in the posts on here, there were a lot of people who came out very surprised that they liked it so much, given all the negative comment. It wasn't all one way by any means.

The criticisms in this piece are all the same ones we've heard so often - there's nothing new there. It's too real, it's like being on set, it's like a particular kind of TV programme.... Valid for him maybe, and for you, but my experience just doesn't match up. When I went to an HFR 3D showing the audience did react. They laughed, drew in breath, jumped - they were obviusly completely drawn in by it as I was. So how do we match up one set of experiences that are diametrically opposed to another? I don't know

Also I don't believe the rest of this critique holds water because it suggests the film was a non-stop sequence of action scenes. It wasn't. There are real characters in The Hobbit and a story which has held generations in thrall. The film was well cast, beautifully acted. It had its quiet moments and its tender moments, and its sheer catch-at-the-throat beautiful moments. Every detail was crafted with the same skill that brought Lord of the Rings to the screen.

I say the film was magical because that's my experience of it.


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Mar 2 2013, 4:42pm

Post #9 of 175 (1152 views)
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Nobody said everyone hated it. [In reply to] Can't Post

The article explains why it is detrimental to the visual medium, as a piece of cinemic work, as a film and to the aesthetic of middle earth, which was very well established with Lotr : with film, miniatures, acceptable and suited resolution,a carefull use of cgi, etc... it didnt look like a sugary candy, televised, cgi fest circus, which the hobbit, too often did.

And i didnt say it was failure because it didnt win any oscars...i said i am more and more convinced that it wasnt worthy of any oscars. The failure pertains to it being a mediocre film on many levels , especially past the troll scene...

As to not being a kind of oscar movie...well, how about life of Pi? Fantasy movie as well...difference is, its a great film, very compelling...

The fake noses and beards are still there...they stare at us...balins nose is atrocious at times, almost likes its going to fall off...dwalins beard is a constant nuisance...which is something, considering make up on lotr was flawless...

Vous commencez ŕ m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Ardamírë
Valinor


Mar 2 2013, 4:48pm

Post #10 of 175 (1132 views)
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I have to agree [In reply to] Can't Post

HFR may or may not be the future of cinema, but I have to wish that The Hobbit had been filmed stylistically more similarly to LOTR - no HFR or 4K resolution (or was it 5?).

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


hamlet
Rivendell


Mar 2 2013, 4:49pm

Post #11 of 175 (1115 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

My experience was also magical. While I will admit that there were some moments which didn't feel as authentic and honest as LOTR, there were also scenes which made me prefer AUJ. It all comes back to that word -- "magical" -- either you buy into the film's world or you don't. Let's not forget, there were lots of people on these boards who were critical of aspects of the LOTR films. For some of us, those movies didn't "work." For me, they did -- and so does AUJ.


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Mar 2 2013, 4:53pm

Post #12 of 175 (1116 views)
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No hes not [In reply to] Can't Post

as to HFR, it ha sbeen used in documentaries, Television etc...theres nothing new to it. Its just the first film to be projected at that rate.

Theres a very good reason why 24 fps has lasted all this time and why it is what cinema is all about: it is that look,that painterly softness, that aesthetic that gives cinema its magic, it really is irreplaceable and i doubt it will ever disappear.

HFR, however, it might be the future for nature documentaries, or sci fi films, but it will never conquer or replace the filmic look. I for one, hate it. It feels like some, crazy trip to the set where they are filming, where everything looks fake and televised, the sets look just like sets even more so than the 2d version...


Frankly, it reminds me more of my DV 30 fps homemade footage than the beautifull aesthetics of the Lotr or Barry Lyndon.

And i really wish had used this tech for some other project like Hallo or The Bad Taste sequel...not JRR Tolkiens The Hobbit...




Unsure

Vous commencez ŕ m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Aragorn the Elfstone
Grey Havens


Mar 2 2013, 4:54pm

Post #13 of 175 (1108 views)
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re: Oscars... [In reply to] Can't Post

If the past several years have shown anything, it's that the Oscars mean next to nothing. They're a popularity contest, whose voters seem to have little interest in awarding truly groundbreaking films that will stand the test of time. I'm still not sure how the hell RotK's clean sweep happened. Talk about uncharacteristic.

As for The Hobbit, it's no secret that HFR didn't go over well at large - but, for myself, I liked it a lot (and I was NOT looking forward to it - I was one of the more vocal opponents against it here). It was an entirely different experience, and I think it will influence the future of cinema. Not immediately, but gradually. It created the illusion of everything happening live in front of the audience, and it was marvelous to behold. PJ is the whipping boy for now, but James Cameron will soon show his support for HFR when the Avatar sequel comes out - and other filmmakers such as Bryan Singer have voiced their desire to experiment with the format.

Technological innovation always has growing pains. Hopefully PJ takes comfort in knowing that there are many of us who understand and appreciate what he's trying to do. Smile

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence


(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Mar 2 2013, 4:56pm)


Escapist
Gondor


Mar 2 2013, 4:58pm

Post #14 of 175 (1124 views)
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I think that this review has strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats [In reply to] Can't Post

like anything else does.

Strengths: The language is specific and technically well informed.

Weaknesses: There are a lot of exaggerations and generalizations that don't fit. It is a little bit sensationalized and treats AUJ as if it was homogeneous when it is anything but that.

Opportunities: Specific suggestions about technical adjustments may be worth trying and testing out to the benefit of film making in general as well as future TH films.

Threats: There is an overall over-emphasis on the technical factors over psychological factors involving audience expectations and things of that nature that could be argued to be more important than these technical issues, especially given the hugely varying reactions to these movies. These technical issues cannot explain the differences in reactions in the way that socio-psychological factors can easily explain them.


bborchar
Rohan


Mar 2 2013, 5:07pm

Post #15 of 175 (1124 views)
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This article is the same criticism we've seen before... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and I'm saying that this opinion is nothing more than an opinion, because not everyone felt that it WAS detrimental. It didn't look fake to me- can this article explain why?

And just because it didn't win any Oscars, doesn't make it a mediocre film. I think it was a simpler story, and simple stories rarely win awards. But who cares? Does that mean every movie that isn't nominated for an academy award is mediocre? To me, the Hobbit was a fun movie to watch. I don't always go to the movies for critical thinking. I will argue with your assertion that the make-up on LotR was "flawless"...I could point out many places where it wasn't. Gimli's make-up is different in some scenes; the cut on Merry's head changes from one side to the other in different scenes. But I got over it and just enjoyed the movie.


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Mar 2 2013, 5:08pm

Post #16 of 175 (1111 views)
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well [In reply to] Can't Post

im glad you liked it...

But for me and many people who saw it like that, hfr and 3d and 5k resolution is just wrong for this film. It looks, fake, too crisp, too cgi, you can always tell where the set is and where the green screen is, it looks like a super epxensive, oberly cgied televison broadcast...it doenst loook like film and TH should look like proper classical cinema, like lotr. Imo, of course.

TH was well cast- except RA- , and well acted indeed...however, i feel the over the top, overly long, theme park action ride is just too long, tiring, and a waste of time...and about half of the film is like that...after the trolls, its almost just action, and cgi video game stuff...and for me, if half of the film is bad, then i cant enjoy it...

Post trolls, the film feels sloppy, messy, very thin, with bad writing, terrible visuals, cliched villains and lines, a lack of characterter development, particularly Bilbo, etc...

And the visual style just made things worse...this unforgiving, clarity, detrimental sharpness, 5k resolution, the digital look, this televised hfr feel...gives TH a very poor visual, in my opinion..

Vous commencez ŕ m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Mar 2 2013, 5:10pm

Post #17 of 175 (1104 views)
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Its not [In reply to] Can't Post

the future by any means.


Well see, but i doubt cinema's future lies on televised visuals.

And if it does, then i wont go to the cinemas anymore. Wink

Vous commencez ŕ m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Old Toby
Gondor


Mar 2 2013, 5:13pm

Post #18 of 175 (1118 views)
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I disagree about the make up [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought it was absolutely spectacular and deserved all the awards going!

On the other hand, I can understand the comments about the action scenes. For me, the one that played most like a video game was the stone giants, which I could have done without (but I loved the rescuing of Bilbo, and it said a lot about the dwarves so....) But it didn't lessen the enjoyment of the movie for me.

And I loved the HFR!! Vastly superior, IMO, to 2D!

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)

(This post was edited by Old Toby on Mar 2 2013, 5:22pm)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Mar 2 2013, 5:18pm

Post #19 of 175 (1085 views)
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We will see. [In reply to] Can't Post

Avatar 2 is planning to do 60FPS isn't it? I bet you it will get rave reviews Tongue

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Mar 2 2013, 5:27pm

Post #20 of 175 (1081 views)
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Avatar [In reply to] Can't Post

Cameron is on record as non-committal to HFR. He would like to try it, but will decide only after watching reaction to The Hobbit.


Escapist
Gondor


Mar 2 2013, 5:28pm

Post #21 of 175 (1083 views)
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You are still generalizing a little bit. [In reply to] Can't Post

The action certainly picked up after leaving the shire. But there were moments to breath in between and many character moments were imbedded in the action.

Post Trolls: This includes the Gollum scene, by the way. Not to mention the white council scene and the famous scene with Bofur in the cave. I'm not sure what you were expecting. But I suspect that for some, the very inconsistency between the bag-end scene and the picked up pace afterwards (shifting from a situational comedy style to an adventure movie style) may be enough to create dislike in some people without the need for any overly technical justification. I think there is evidence that consistency in and of itself works together with expectations to create a level of comfort in almost any situation including a movie that probably really missed for people who feel this way in TH:AUJ.

Casting: RA as "the hot dwarf Thorin" is apparently developing more of a following from this movie than may have been expected from reactions to Gimli in LotR. Something he is doing is working for some people. Maybe we just need to shake off this idea of homogenous opinion being useful as a measure of quality for this particular film since it is so inconsistent.
Here is some evidence of this audience reaction to RA as Thorin for your review:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=thorin&oq=thorin&gs_l=youtube.3..0l10.611.1142.0.1347.6.6.0.0.0.0.119.507.4j2.6.0...0.0...1ac.1._RNRRNj_4bQ

I think that some villains (like Azog) exhibited some cliches. But I think that others (like the Goblin King and several of the well characterized goblins ... not to mention Gollum) were diametrically opposite to cliche. The systematic eradication of all things cliche would be overdoing it in any situation and often comes off as contrived.

Visuals: I would use the word "inconsistent" rather than "terrible" which would be an unfair generalization. Just as in LotR, the scenery from NZ was amazing. The differentiation of dwarves was fantastic and inspired - not easy to do since the starting point for this was boring near-uniformity spliced into general nondescript details focusing on things like the color of a hat and little else. I'd say the dragon opening, the Erebor scenes, the shire scenes, the Rivendell scenes, and the Gollum cave scene were all visual masterpieces. The cosmetic reversal of aging was brilliant. Did some parts need more work? Honestly, I would have to say yes they did! Parts of this movie were not up to par with the rest of it. The amazing quality of particular scenes actually brings attention to the lack of attention given to other scenes.



It is true that this movie has broken new ground in the technical and visual areas. So it will by its very nature, not look like other films in specific ways. But I think it is too limiting to judge all deviation from the previous norm as unacceptable. I agree with what this reviewer said in part, that the 3D HFR was effectively immersive but I think that this may have slightly backfired by immersing in the petty scenery and equipment details rather than the emotions readable on the faces of actors. This is a learning experience for the film industry and the power of immersion with 3D HFR needs to be wielded henceforth with this in mind to make the most of it.


sauget.diblosio
Tol Eressea

Mar 2 2013, 5:28pm

Post #22 of 175 (1087 views)
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While i agree with a lot of this, [In reply to] Can't Post

like the others, i don't see the film as a failure. Sure, it has a few trouble spots (stone giants, bunny sled chase, dwarves surviving impossible-to-survive situations, etc.), but overall, it's a lot of fun, and is a story well-done and well-told.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Mar 2 2013, 5:31pm

Post #23 of 175 (1080 views)
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Avatar 2 [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't kept up with any Avatar news, and that was just the last I'd heard. I'm sure you're right.

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Mar 2 2013, 5:37pm

Post #24 of 175 (1062 views)
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Maybe, maybe not. [In reply to] Can't Post

I get where you're coming from.

On the other hand, it's not like PJ only released this in 48fps. It was released in a wide variety of formats (3d, 2d, hfr, Imax, Imax hfr). I do give this author credit and think some of his insights are interesting and credible and that fact that he saw it in multiple formats and commented on that in the article. That having been said, the article isn't new. It's from 12/19. I do think the author has some pertinent insights overall.

He as much says this is an innovation and applauds Jackson for trying it. I can't relate though to his opinion that in HFR he didn't connect with the characters. That was not my experience at all. I connected with the story and the characters in all the formats.

There were aspects of the film that were not my favorite and I didn't think was done all that well (The Goblin King, the stone giants, the slapstick stuff especially with Radagast) however, it did not ruin or alter my overall enjoyment of the film.

The author obviously didn't think so and I can't negate that. It was his experience. That's fine.

Thank you for your questions, now sod off and go do something useful -- Martin Freeman, Twitter t 3/1/13


Glorfindela
Valinor

Mar 2 2013, 5:42pm

Post #25 of 175 (1104 views)
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I heartily disagree with you, and with that reviewer [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The fake noses and beards are still there...they stare at us...balins nose is atrocious at times, almost likes its going to fall off...dwalins beard is a constant nuisance...which is something, considering make up on lotr was flawless...


NONE of the make-up looked fake to me. I think the Dwarves are brilliantly portrayed. Reading Brian Sibley's book about the Hobbit made me realise just how much work was put into getting the appearance of all the characters right – successfully in my view.

When it comes to the 48 HFR, I first went to see the film in 2D, which was fine. I wasn't going to see it in the high frame rate due to the negative reviews, but was persuaded to do so by a couple of artists who were curious about it. After the film, we looked at each other in disbelief that the format had been so unfairly criticised by American reviewers in particular. We found the experience really immersive and breathtaking. One of the people with me did not like the LOTR films, yet he really favours this one. Everyone I know who has seen the film in 48 HFR loves that format. (And if someone doesn't like that format, they can easily see it in other formats.)

Since then, I have been to see the film at least ten times, all in 48 HFR – and I have not yet grown tired of it, as I did with ROTK and TTT. For me it is certainly on a par with FOTR. I did see the film once in ordinary 3D (by mistake), and found it too blurred and dark. It was actually worse for me than 2D, but then I don't usually like 3D at all.

I also thought the acting and characterisation were far superior in the Hobbit compared with the LOTR films, which were deficient in this respect in many cases.

I've noticed you keep posting about how you dislike the film, with similar comments each time, and encouraging others to criticise it. What is that about?


(This post was edited by Glorfindela on Mar 2 2013, 5:44pm)

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