So, just to start: IMAX 3D HFR.

Faiiirly certain that's 2x2k DLP projectors.  Not sure.  Anyway, that established:

I went in fairly unhyped.  I'd seen a trailer... wait, no, I think I saw two trailers.  And I heard a lot of the hullabaloo over the HFR, and tried really hard to tune it out.  I figured I'd give PJ the benefit of the doubt.  Before the show I had kinda talked myself into thinking of it as a whole different medium; like watching a play with binoculars while seated in an articulated armchair (with inertial dampers) controlled by the director.

So, thus prepared, I purchased my giant popcorn and drink (why is the big one cheaper than the medium one that I wanted?) donned my crappy plastic glasses, and sat my butt in the chair.  Some thoughts, in roughly chronological order:

Holy ****, this new Star Trek looks ******* amazing!  Hot damn.  OK I really wanna go see that.

So Hobbiton looks overexposed?  Or like, they couldn't get enough stops out of the RED?  Which is weird, 'cause that's like, it's thing.  Stops.  Yes?  Huh.  OK.  Bilbo's close ups look like they were shot at 1k.  Like, I'm seeing aliasing.  Or maybe a trick of the light.  I guess the screen is HUGE, but none of the rest of the movie looked like that.

So by this point we're a minute in or so, and I'm like, WOW, the 3D is fantastic.  No headache, everything looks like it's in the right place, and my eyes aren't freaking out.  So HFR, you definitely win that round.

At least if nothing moves.

Teague, I didn't catch the panning/dolly difference, only that shot to shot, everything seemed incredibly inconsistent.  And not in ways I was expecting.  Only the opening with old Bilbo seemed weirdly exposed, so I figure I can throw that one out.  Off and on throughout the whole film, the action seemed to be undercranked.  And then it would go back to being normal.  It felt like watching a movie on a slow computer that was dropping frames to keep up.  And then, as quickly as it had come, the effect would totally vanish.  I'll have to go see it again and find out if that's the pans or if it was something else.

Another weird totally unexpected effect was the sound.  It was weird to see the characters as if they were right there in front of me, but the speech just coming from the center of the picture, instead of where my brain felt that the character 'ought' to be.  That effect faded as the movie went on, though I'm not entirely sure that wasn't just due to the action ramp up replacing all the dialog with grunts and shouting.

A couple of times when we were in real locations, I was really feeling the instability in the dolly.  Little bumps and quivers that normally get ironed out at 24fps were pretty annoying.  But then they put the camera on a motion control rig and onto some helicopters, and that seemed better.

Holy balls, New Zealand is beautiful.

I know they we're kinda playin' if for laughs in the trilogy (dare I call it that?) but I guess Gandalf is just totally high all the time?  And also he can talk to elves in his head?  Who apparently aren't there?

For as beautiful as NZ is, middle earth seemed really really empty.  Hobbiton had like 4 hobbits?  They didn't see anyone except for orcs until Rivendell, and when they got there no one is home.  So, middle earth felt very different from that perspective.

I wonder if PJ's gonna George Lucas LOTR and put new Bilbo into the 'finding the ring' scene.

God, elves are jerks!  How long did they have to practice that "circle the horses menacingly around strangers on the doorstep in counter-rotating concentric circles" move?

The sequence of all the powerfullest magic people in the world in the Elf gazebo is gorgeous.  Amazing.  Couldn't keep a straight face for anything that was going on in the scene, but it looked drop-dead stunning.

Props to the edit room for keeping the whole game of riddles scene.  Could have turned that into a montage.  Glad you didn't.


Several shots at night, or in caves have WAY to much light coming from nowhere.

Also, wow, Weta has been busy.  With eagles.  Also Wolves, which are freakin' scary in 3D.  Definitely not something you want to show to little kids.

Annnnnd, that's pretty much it.

Didn't mind the TV look, did mind the weird stuff that came with it.  Couldn't take much of the story seriously, but whatever, it was crazy beautiful.

BBQ, I agree with you, 3D is a new medium that's only really been taken seriously by technicians and artists for 5 years or so now, and it's gonna take a helluva lot longer than that to extend the visual language that has developed in film for the last 80 years or so into another axis.


(89 replies, posted in Episodes)

Movies it'd be cool to watch with you guys:

A James Bond or two
The rest of Harry Potter
Spacemen Belong in the Future, Probably
Mission Impossible
Last Action Hero
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
How to Train Your Dragon
Flight Plan
Air Force One
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Across the Universe
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Ocean's 11
Top Gun
Sin City (or any Rodriguez film)