I Wanna Be High, So High

CRUISE FUNDRAISER: 83/100 prints are sold and and thanks to a couple of VERY generous donations from Fancy Bastard Sea Monkeys I am definitely going to be on the boat! Still, it would be great to sell that last few remaining prints before the end of the year. I am also going to leave up the additional prints and print packs for sale until probably February in case you want to get in on that action.

Hey, lady Hobbit fans! How about a SUPER CHEAP ladies Gimli “And My Axe” shirt for having while they are still around to be haved… had?

This comic features Fancy Bastard Luke T. who won an auction to appear in an HE comic in last year’s Desert Bus charity fundraiser. If you are super jealous of Luke and enjoy supporting worthwhile charities (it’s a write off you know), GOOD NEWS! There is another charity auction going on RIGHT NOW for Worldbuilders and one of the items up for grabs is YOU drawn by ME in an HE COMIC! Here’s a link to the auction, and here’s a blog post from author Pat Rothfuss with more details. There’s a TON of webcomicy goodies that we collected at Dragon’s Lair Webcomics Rampage (including more prints and whatnot from me) last week in Austin. Check out this fantastic webcomic artist jam poster

I have a SO MANY opinions about seeing The Hobbit: Just Around The River Bend in 48 fps 3D. I posted them in a flurry of tweets a couple of nights ago. Here they are for your perusal:

  • Short version: 48fps 3D is an amazing tech breakthrough and a horrible way to watch a movie. Skip the gimmicks and you’ll enjoy it more.
  • The MoCap advances however are staggering. Most believable CG characters ever. So many opinions about The Hobbit. Long version to come.
  • Dark scenes with little movement looked unbelievable. As soon as the sun came out or the action started it was a cheap PBS documentary.
  • Never felt like I was immersed in Middle Earth. Constantly aware that what I was watching was fake. No opportunity to get lost in the world.
  • Never felt the epic grandeur that I got from LoTR. Didn’t feel much actually. Always too distracted by the frame rate to get emotional.
  • The 3D was barely noticeable and added nothing but additional distraction.
  • [Most of the movie felt like] a cross between a play and a PS3 cut scene.
  • [48 FPS is] more than ahead of its time. It might be a shift that is never appropriate if art is your goal.
  • I admit I am moved to tears during every LoTR movie. Sometimes just at the scale and grandeur. 48fps made that completely impossible.
  • Need to see 2D 24fps now. I feel like I haven’t even seen the movie. Just some weird tech demo.
  • [Martin Freeman’s] casting was inspired. As good as Elijah or Sean Astin.

COMMENTERS: Did you see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Surplus Of Frames? What did you think? What flavor did you partake in? Did your chosen viewing options impact your perception of the movie, as it did mine?

[Blog posted on 12/17/12 in order to include my review of the film and the charity auction info]

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  1. I saw it in 3D HFR, and have no complaints. I've heard the lower frame rate had problems, so I don't expect to be seeing it in 24 fps when I see it again.

    I don't understand the complaints that things look fake in HFR. If anything, everything looks more real. It's not like the HFR was higher resolution that allows you to see Gandalf's contact lenses…I did hear one dude claim he could, but I expect he'd have been able to in 24 fps too. The resolution is the same. I didn't notice his contact lenses, but then, I was focused on the movie, not the makeup.

  2. It baffles me why people don't like the higher frame rate. I think it's like the people who can't see those "magic eye" pictures. They can't let go of the "old film" mindset long enough to get immersed in it. The 3D is "barely noticeable" because it's immersive at this speed.

    • I can't see the magic eye pictures because I have eyesight problems that go beyond nearsighted / farsighted. Perhaps other people do as well. It's not that baffling to someone like me who gets headaches at 3D films. Indeed, it doesn't look 3D to me, it just looks fuzzy.

      And I get really tired of people suggesting it's because I can't let go of some mindset. Come back to me when you can see the world through my eyes, Dave.

      • Some 3D is better than others – apart from the stereo-vision camera vs fake depth channel added later, some 3D technology works by putting the out of focus items in the foreground, and the full focus stuff in the background…which is backwards to the way your eye/brain is designed – so you get eyestrain and headaches from your eyes constantly trying to focus on the non-existent foreground object (ie the eye's refocus to the object they think is "close"… but it's not actually there (it's really just an object in the background with an out-of-focus outline pretending to be up close)… so as soon as you eye's -try- to focus, they get a worse image (and sometimes do a minitature "cross eyes" effect trying to get the object in focus). Of course as soon as you eyes focus forwards, the brain gets distracted by the background which is still in focus (and it loses track of the unfocused vague foreground), so immediately tries to refocus on the background…. which brings the focal length back to the correct length for the 3D foreground object to "appear". rinse. repeat. Is it a wonder you get sore eyes, and spend the movie constantly trying NOT to 'look at; the stuff in the foreground, staring resolutely past everything in the hope it stays visible. (part of the reason for the feeling of dissociation) (Sorry for the feature length article 🙁 )

        • better 3D puts the foreground stuff in focus, and the background stuff "futher back" (out of focus). which is the natural pattern your eyes are designed to work with. However it's harder and more limited depth.

  3. I saw it at 48-fps and it was great. I really don't see people problem's with the framerate. I think those that do find it distracting are showing their age.

  4. Having experienced the dreaded "soap opera effect" on my 120Hz TV, and reading multiple negative reviews of HFR with similar complaints. I elected to see the movie in IMAX 3D. I thought that was the ideal way to see the movie. On another note, did the Great Goblin remind anyone else of George Lucas?

  5. Saw it in 24 FPS. I quite enjoyed it, especially all of the new additions to tie it with LotR, even if I felt it was slightly bloated.

    My friends who I saw it with had already seen it in 48 FPS, and they said they much preferred the 24 FPS. The 48 felt too… "hyperreal" that they couldn't get immersed into the movie.

  6. I saw it in regular ol' 2D 24 FPS. There were still some parts at the beginning where I felt like my mid-theater seats were too close to the screen and all the swooping camera work made me nauseous. I don't really give a hoot about all the tech stuff, though, I was just looking for good storytelling. In that it was… hit or miss. I feel like they could have cut out at least an hour of footage and made a way better, tighter movie. The scenes that focused on the characters themselves were fantastic (except Radagast), and sometimes the action scenes were appropriately exciting, but there were far too many times where I thought "he's just showing us this CGI to prove that he can."

    Martin Freeman, though! God, I love that guy. I've been describing my favorite parts of the movie to people as "Martin Freeman Reacts to Things". I would seriously watch that shit ALL DAY.

    • Have to agree with you on several counts: Martin Freeman was an excellent choice for this movie(s), and the movie could've been 45 mins or so shorter…that would've let them put out the "Extended Unexpected Journey Cut" and let me out of the theater full of senior citizens laughing at the jokes about 2 mins. after they happened on screen.

  7. I saw The Hobbit: Lots of Running Away in IMAX 3D sans the 48FPS simply because the timing wasn't right to see the high fps version. I liked it, it felt to me like another LoTR film which is good though I agree that it could have been at least half an hour shorter, some of the fight scenes dragged on and on (look, here's some MORE ways to kill goblins!) As a Tolkien fan I appreciate that the film showed us so many things that the book(s) just mentioned in passing, or weren't mentioned at all except in the LoTR appendices or the Simirilian. It's as if Jackson & Co. are using the Hobbit to film all kinds of Tolkien tidbits they couldn't find room for in the LoTR films which is just fine with me.

    Radagast was over the top which is too bad. It's like they felt the film needed more comic relief since they were playing the dwarfs more serious (Gimili having been the comic relief of the LoTR series). They made Radagast a bit of a nod to Tom Bombidil who they had to cut from the The Fellowship of the Ring, though thankfully Radagast does not sing. The other additions they made which were not directly from some Tolkien source I think worked pretty well.

    I suspect everyone complaining about 48 FPS is not unlike people complaining about HDTVs which showed them the cheesy sets on sitcoms and the bad makeup on their favorite news anchors. When the dust settles in 10 years or so this will be the new normal.

  8. saw in 24fps 3D, had fantastic motion-sickness afterwards (altho the extended StarTrek volcano preview is partially to blame too. So much lens-flare in 3D IMAX can't be good for one's eyeballs)

    Martin Freeman was beyond fantatic, "riddles in the dark" couldn't be more perfect but the videogame quicktime-event after (running from goblins thru caves & fires blah blah blah) killed the moment … so when "pity hand swaying" rolled around just kinda felt meh

    Overall the pacing in the movie is really odd & really doesn't help Mr Baggins' adventures

  9. 3d HRH . no complaints. All you weak stomached ( and even some who just got sick watching the regular FR version) , nay sayers.. now know you aren't meant for HRH shinangins ( or even movies in some cases).
    Enjoyed the adapation over all, and am excited to see part 2 The hobbit: The Dragoning

  10. I wanted to see it in the HFR version but didn't get to the theater in time to get a seat, sadly. Unfortunatly, I think the regular 3D version had some issues because occationally, some of the scenes were a bit blurry. For me, that was more immersion-ruining than having things be very sharp and clear.

    Overall, I didn't mind the changes and certain parts of the movie made me re-examine my opinions on how events in the book went. It was nice to see their interpretation of everything. Though the more I like Fili and Kili, the sadder I get. 🙁 And it makes Thorin's fate seem rather more tragic as well. Ah well.

  11. 3D is darker by necessity. Alone a reason to choose 2D.

    Morgan Freeman is WAY better than Elijah and I will arm-wrestle anyone who disagrees. He is the best hobbit since Samwise Gamgee 😀

  12. 2D was good. It felt very much like the same world we saw in LotR. I thought the CGI characters were a little heavy on the animation (could have used more practical effects) but Gollem was perfect. Actually, all the acting was solid especially Freeman. And I liked that they kept so much of the humor from the books because it is a lighter story that LotR.

    But yeah, definitely watch it in 2D.

  13. And as far as the extra story stuff… I think I have to wait until I see all three movies to decide if it works. I mean, Tolkien's books are just so dense with details. It's not exactly mainstream friendly storytelling because there's just so much stuff going on – that's why they made extended editions of LotR. I think they could possibly pull off the added stuff as long as the trio of movies come together.

  14. I was fortunate enough to have a friend, who has a sister-in-law, who works for IMAX, and as a result I got to see an advanced screening in IMAX 3D HFR. I had initially planned to avoid the whole 3D thing, because I hate wearing two sets of glasses, but I couldn't argue with a free ticket to all the bells and whistles possible. I thought that the HFR really made the 3D less blurry, which sometimes made things really immersive. At other times, I felt like I was watching it through a Viewmaster. I would be curious to see how the HFR looks in 2D.

  15. Sometimes the HFR did look a little more like a documentary than a film, but I didn't find it as distracting as other people seemed to. I think it's probably something that both viewers and filmmakers still need to get used to, but that's because it's brand new. I definitely think it's worth pursuing.

    I didn't like Radagast as comic relief at all, and the Azog plotline bugged me since he was actually killed at Moria, and I don't think we needed the extra plot/drama. But I don't mind seeing other elements from the LOTR appendices and the Silmarillion. I'm happy to spend more time in Middle Earth.

    And YES, Martin Freeman was AMAZING. He was really an excellent choice for Bilbo. And that first scene when Gandalf first shows up gains so much from line delivery and physical humour – it's much more fun than simply reading it in the book.

    Finally, GOLLUM. Serkis and the animators are my heroes.

    (Can you tell I've just come back from seeing this movie?)

  16. the best scene in the whole movie was the "riddles in the dark" bit with golem…. but for as many times as they fell the height of a skyscraper they managed to be completely unharmed. … last i checked these weren't supposed to be cartoon characters… if you're bashed in the head with a mace by a giant orc, bleed a little why don't you.
    the hfr did take something away from the fast motion scenes less realistic to my eyes anyway.

    overall tho the cgi was pretty amazing. too bade the whole story felt like a prolouge for the next two movies they want you to buy tickets for.

    • *pushes taped-up glasses up nose, adjusts pocket protector* Dwarves have a denser bone structure and tougher skin than a human, enabling them to quickly recover from falls and blunt-force attacks. Things that would mortally wound a human, halfling, or elf barely scratches the surface of a dwarf. This is why they tend to be melee fighters and hearty, tough personalities. /nerd

  17. We saw it in 2D, mainly because my son hates 3D glasses. It was beautifully shot, and I didn't feel I missed much. Might see it in the high frame rate just to see what that's like.

    Overall, loved it. Any chance I get to spend a few hours in Middle Earth, I'll take, and Peter Jackson is an amazing tour guide. Any complaints about it being too long are probably forget just from people who forgot how dense Tolkein made his works and his world. This is *nothing* compared to the density if the LoTR appendixes or the Silmarillion.

  18. I saw The Hobbit in 2D first, and plan to see it in 3D soon. The 2D was similar to the previous LOTR in terms of immersion, I felt. But it also had some serious "judder", where fast moving panning shots became quite blurry. Ideally, I would like to see The Hobbit in 48 fps 2D, rather than 3D.

    I look forward to seeing it with all the bells and whistles turned on, having already seen (and enjoyed) it in the traditional 2 dimensions.

  19. Can't see 3D as I only have sight in one eye. Dreading the day that 2D is no longer offered at theaters. It'd be interesting to see in HFR 2D, but that combo probably doesn't exist. See? Too many formats. We're back to that again!

  20. 3D makes me leave he theater with a headache, just with a regular frame rate. I saw it in 2D, 24fps and was extremely happy with it. The movie itself was an excellent adaptation, and I don't know why people are grouching about the length: I was a little sad when it was over, and could have watched another hour, easily. I may go back and see it in 3D, with the higher frame rate, but probably not. I don't want to ruin the movie with effects that I didn't feel were needed.

  21. Saw it in 24 FPS 3D and loved the everloving shit out of it. I liked that the 3D was minimized. Too much would've made me hate it for having a terrible transition to Blu-Ray/DVD. The first hour was indeed the most painful just because of how long it took to get out of Hobbiton but I appreciated the musical treatment that hour gave. After that though it was easy to get lost in the over hour forty and not realize it was even that long.

    TL;DR: Dunno what the critics were talking about.

  22. My wife couldn't handle the one musical theme, repeated for every scene. Dramatic pause? The song. Scary fight? The song. Another chase scene? The song.
    I kind of learned to tune it out, but it drove her crazy.
    What composer does that? Shouldn't they have had "Gandalf's Theme," Thorin's Theme," "Goblin Chase"? Instead of just that dwarf mining song over and over?

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