The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Directed by Peter Jackson. With Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis

A Taste of our Future

by gaRis (@takisgaris)

Wait a minute; I really feel we are missing the point now. What do you mean you don’t get what I’m exactly suggesting here; apparently you are not familiar with my 60fps writing speed. But seriously, oscar ruminations aside, I am eager to argue that The Hobbit, first part of the least necessary sci – fi trilogy ever existed, Star Wars prequeliad notwithstanding of course, is indeed the cinematic event of the year, if not the last decade, for all the wrong reasons, or reversely for all the actually legit ones, if you really care about what you see when it comes down to the very essence of the film experience as a whole. Tolkien fans (and you surely surpass all other tribes, Harry Potter evangelists included) please beware: This is not a critique for you or your beloved opus. The skyhigh opening weekend which will top at $100M is enough justification for Peter Jackson and Co’s argument that this trilogy, nine years after the Return of The King’s sweep is what audience really needed. I am impressed that Jackson is not planning already the next meta-quel trilogy, in the George Lucas footprints. This is a franchise in its most ostensible fashion. But I couldn’t care less. All that fascinates me here is the 48fps.

48 frames per second is a great leap toward the ultimate viewing experience, which is the 60fps. So here’s a taste of our future; pls spare me the talk about Bilbo Baggins, Dwarf Kindom of Erebor, Goblins, Orcs, Wargs and Thorin Oakenshield. We may discuss the best scene ever in all four films combined, the infamous Baggins-Gollum cave encounter, where the- ring -that -rules- them -all changes possessor. See how Gollum is shot, framed and moves onscreen. He is real. It’s primarily about Andy Serkis charisma to be the character obviously, then again it’s more than this; it’s a different medium now, for there’s so much more than meets the eye in the 24fps. In the grand scheme of things, Hobbit is a rollercoaster ride; Vacuous as much as sensational. Guillermo Del Toro’s plasticized glory all over the place with Peter Jackson acting more as a producer than a director. No scene is left out in the editing room. It takes 2 ½ hours to finish the prologue of a roughly 600 paged book. The tongue-in-cheek (if you felt that in Skyfall, multiply it by ten times in Hobbit) dialogue, the epitome of self-indulgence which serves the unapologetic fan.

Conclusion: I opted for the 48fps 3D viewing experience, surrounded by cosplaying young adults, who would frequently cheer and applaud as if it were a live stage play. My eyes were crossed very early at about 30 minutes in. All images felt unnaturally printed, between videogame aesthetics and HD TV. But, sorry fellow critics, this was real. When you have lived 40 years in the dimness of a poorly lit dungeon, a shining light can blind you forever when it catches you off guard. So here it comes now: Jackson delivered a meaningless, monstrous joyride, being yet a very important precedence for cinema’s present and definitely near future. This Unexpected Journey joins Avatar in the realm of high stakes filmmaking, gazing the fierce dragon of our visual laziness in the eye, grabbing the viewer by the neck to step up and engage in the frenetic commotion of what we call virtual reality. The Hobbit is the milk cow that feeds the sore eye, to the point that it even trumps Life of Pi at the visuals department. Is it a Best Picture pic? Are you kidding me? It’s a bad one; But equally important to anything else on the silver screen this year.

World Premiere: 12 December 2012

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