I just got out of a screening of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" of which I decided to watch in 3D at 48 frames per second. I'd like to share a quick review and my perspective of the movie shown at the twice than usual 48 FPS instead of the traditional 24 FPS. For those reading this that aren't familiar with the frame rates, up until now, all movies are shown with a frame rate of 24 FPS, in which every second on the screen, 24 still images are shown which gives the illusion of motion. In contrast, TV shows are shown at either 30 FPS, and sometimes 60 FPS in the case of sports broadcasts. 48 FPS in somewhere in the middle, and in the opinion of filmmakers like Peter Jackson and James Cameron, is the future of cinema. In fact Cameron is supposedly going to screen the Avatar sequels in 48 FPS. After watching "The Hobbit" I personally agree.
At first it took me awhile to get used to the 48 FPS look. Admittedly it was a bit jarring at first. Character movements appeared to be sped up at first until I got used to it. However the clarity of the images on the screen was so lifelike, it was like I was almost there! The detail was so clear and vivid, with a very high def feel but at the same time still very cinematic. he sweeping shots of the landscapes were epic and beautifully rich and detailed and crisp. It seriously looked like if you took high resolution stills and created a timelapse video. That's pretty obvious since Peter Jackson shot the movie with 3D in mind with dual Red Epic cameras that have the capability of shooting 5K video. To my knowledge this is only the second movie after Avatar to be shot in native 3D, while most studios choose to convert their movies to 3D later on in post production. I think that it works much better this way.
The screening I saw was at the AMC Metreon theater in San Francisco, and utilized the new Dolby atmos sound system. I found it to be very immersive, much more than typical surround sound. During several scenes, it felt like I was inside the movie, with sounds of the environment coming from all around the theater.
As for the movie it self, I throughly enjoyed the almost 3 hours in the theater. For me it was slow going in the beginning, but eventually the story drew me in. The great action sequences were impressive in 48 FPS with every swing, slice, hit detailed and clear on the big screen. There were a few funny moments, and the first dwarf song was fun, almost like a musical number, while the second really draws you into the adventure. For Lord of the Ring fans, it was great to see the interactions between Bilbo and Golum and how it sets the tone for later on with Frodo. And finally I got to see Gandalf kicking ass!
Now I gotta go and watch The Lord if the Rings trilogy again and get the audiobook version of the Hobbit!