Warning: This story contains some minor discussion of scenes featured in The Hobbit. If you have not seen the film and want to remain entirely unspoiled, we recommend returning after seeing the movie.
This weekend, I deliberately sought out a theater that was showing The Hobbit in 48 frames per second. After all the buzz, I refused to see it in any other format. (Call me a sheep.) So I braved the crowds of Times Square to check out a 48fps 3D viewing of the film with my colleague, Mandi Bierly. Like many, my reaction was strong. (EW’s movie critic Owen Gleiberman shared his thoughts here.)
The wide shots of Rivendell, the Orc battle flashback, and the dwarves’ exciting escape from the goblins were particularly great to watch in this format. Also, the Orcs looked so realistic that I’m surprised I didn’t have intense — and visually stunning — nightmares. (Don’t laugh; I’m a wimp.) Meanwhile, the more intimate shots — like those within Bilbo’s home during the impromptu dwarf party — had a strange, British miniseries feel. I could go on with more details and humble opinions, but my real issue is what to tell my friends.
In fact, after making a brief status update about my movie experience on Facebook, among the first questions was: “So, should I see it in 48 fps?” Despite my overflowing opinions about every scene and every sequence, I was stumped. Personally, the question carries a lot of pressure. If I say yes and my friend hates it, I feel the weight of a $20 mistake. If I say no, they might miss out on their chance to experience the dawn of a new, incredible technology. (And, again, I say: It is, sometimes, very incredible to watch.) Or is it best to say yes, knowing that regardless of their feelings, the film experience will inform their future decisions about the format?
I still haven’t responded to that friend. So your thoughts are appreciated: