With the premiere of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ looming just around the corner, many movie goers will be making the decision of seeing the film in 3D at 48 frames per second (FPS) or in the usual 24 fps. While the movie itself has been met with some very favorable reviews, many critics found the look of the film in 48fps downright nauseating (literally) causing some to avoid seeing the movie the way director Peter Jackson had intended it to be seen. Amidst these very harsh complaints, Jackson and Warner Bros. has now responded to those who feel the need to denigrate the 48fps process.Reviews from those who have seen the film in 48fps have been mixed. While some were impressed with the new technology at last week’s premiere, many viewers told the New Zealand Herald that the film made them feel “nauseous and dizzy” with some complaining the film caused migraines. One critic likened the look of the film to watching a ‘Benny Hill Show’ while another saying the movements of the characters looked like they were under a strobe light. One movie goer even complained that the film looked “too real.” (Now what that could ever mean, I will not know.)
Warner Bros. and Peter Jackson have both released statements regarding these reviews. First, here’s what the studio had to say:
“We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey extensively and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports. We share the filmmakers’ belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the movie going experience and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling.”
As it can be seen, Warner Bros. is standing behind Jackson’s decision to film the movie in 48fps. As for director, at a press junket in New York, he was asked about the less than favorable reviews of the new technology. Here’s his response:
“I’m fascinated by reactions. I’m tending to see that anyone under the age of 20 or so doesn’t really care and thinks it looks cool, not that they understand it but they often just say that 3D looks really cool. I think 3D at 24 frames is interesting, but it’s the 48 that actually allows 3D to almost achieve the potential that it can achieve because it’s less eye strain and you have a sharper picture which creates more of the 3-dimensional world.”
“Warner Bros. were very supportive. They just wanted us to prove that the 24 frame version would look normal, which it does, but once they were happy with that, on first day, when we had to press that button that said ’48 frames’ even though on that first day we started shooting at 48 FPS, you could probably say there wasn’t a single cinema in the world that would project the movie in that format. It was a big leap of faith.”
“The big thing to realize is that it’s not an attempt to change the film industry. It’s another choice. The projectors that can run at 48 frames can run at 24 frames – it doesn’t have to be one thing or another. You can shoot a movie at 24 frames and have sequences at 48 or 60 frames within the body of the film. You can still do all the shutter-angle and strobing effects. It doesn’t necessarily change how films are going to be made. It’s just another choice that filmmakers have got and for me, it gives that sense of reality that I love in cinema.”
The HFR version of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ will only be available in select theaters and it won’t cost you more to see it than the regular 3D version so if you plan on seeing it more than once, you do have the opportunity to see it in both formats and compare the two yourself.
Do the reviews make you reluctant to see the film in 48fps or do you feel confident in Jackson’s filmmaking abilities to jump right in? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!