The Hobbit – What’s wrong with 48 FPS?

Within the past couple of days, people have been slamming The Hobbit film.  Not for the content, though, they seem to love that.  They’ve been talking about the speed at which the film is displayed: 48 FPS.  Until now, that hasn’t been possible to display at a movie theater.  Until now, and for the last 90 years, all movies have been projected at a mere 24 frames per second.

It’s a leap forward in technology.

Something weird is happening, though.  The negative reaction to the 48 FPS is because it is “too realistic.”  But since when has that been a problem for people?  People to want their video game graphics to be as realistic as possible.  I’m one that doesn’t care what the game looks like, as long as it’s fun to play.  I love a beautiful looking video game, but I think that the SNES and up is fine as far as graphics quality.  But more often than not, people talk about how great the graphics look, and that’s what they’re looking for in a video game.  People also buy the latest and greatest in HD TVs, Blu-ray Discs, and even Apple is touting the graphical display capabilities of the new iPad (3rd Generation).

And when our movies look better, we’re suddenly against it?

“Indeed, the footage was vivid, with grass blades, facial lines and soaring mountains appearing luminous and pronounced. The actors looked almost touchable, as if they were performing live on stage.” (CBS)

That sounds FANTASTIC to me.  I want to see that.  That sounds magical.  That sounds like what movies should be.  Completely immersive.

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Lego The Lord of the Rings is coming! (Lego The Hobbit, too!)

Looks like the article I wrote a while ago about the potential for a Lego Lord of the Rings was right on the money.  Back in February of 2010, I wrote that the LEGO company could create products based on the Lord of the Rings.  My article was more about video games than anything else, but this is a good start.  I suspect that video games are only a matter of time, now.

Here’s the press release:

Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group announced today a partnership that awards the world’s leading construction toy brand exclusive rights to develop build-and-play construction sets based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT™.  The multi-year licensing agreement grants access to the library of characters, settings, and stories for THE LORD OF THE RINGS property, as well as films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.  LEGO® THE LORD OF THE RINGS construction sets are slated for a rolling global launch beginning in June 2012 in the United States, with LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY scheduled for later in the year.

“Only LEGO, with their expertise in the construction category, is capable of doing justice to the incredibly imaginative environments depicted in the world of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the two films based on THE HOBBIT,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “These films give life to amazing worlds and characters and we are thrilled to bring fans these products that deliver an imaginative play experience befitting of these beloved properties.”

The LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS collection will translate into LEGO form the epic locations, scenes and characters of Middle-earth as depicted in all three films, including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

In late 2012, LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will give fans of all ages a chance to build and play out the fantastical story and new characters of the legendary Middle-earth adventures depicted in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyfrom Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, slated to premiere December 14, 2012.

“Our collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has delivered numerous worldwide successes in the construction toy aisle with lines like LEGO HARRY POTTER and LEGO BATMAN, introducing us to loyal audiences who love great stories, strong characters and the toys that they inspire,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president, licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. “It’s particularly exciting to now be able to create sets based on the fantasy worlds and characters from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT, not only because we know they will foster collectability and creative play, but also because these are two properties that our fans have been asking us to create for years.”

Information about the sets and collectible minifigures from both collections will be unveiled at a later date at

About The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit.  The second film will be The Hobbit: There and Back Again.  Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released beginning December 14, 2012.  The second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is slated for release the following year, beginning December 13, 2013.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries,Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

The screenplays for both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again are by Fran Walsh,Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson.  Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh andCarolynne Cunningham.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins, Toby Emmerich and Zane Weiner, with Boyens serving as co-producer.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again are being co-produced by New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. with New Line managing production.

Warner Bros Pictures will be handling theatrical distribution for most of the world and MGM will handle all international television licensing and theatrical distribution for certain international territories for the films.

On the Etiquette of Movie Spoilers

I just read a blog on Cape Town Community called Please Don’t Spoil My Movies! which I found to be something that I agreed with wholly.  When it comes to movies that I want to see, I don’t want to know what is going to happen.  If I see a trailer, that’s fine, but knowing anything beyond what the studio wants to show is a rarity for me.

It’s also for this reason that I don’t read reviews.  I think most critics are ridiculous, and I have yet to find a single one that I agree with all the time (based on looking at scores after I’ve seen a movie).  As I haven’t found a critic whose reviews match my own point of view 100% of the time, or even 50% of the time, how can I trust any critic to really get how I’ll feel about any movie.  They might hate a movie that I’ll love, or love a movie that I’ll hate.  Critics hold no sway over my perspective, for this reason, and I’ve found that I love some movies that even the critical mass has hated.  If I had listened to them, I wouldn’t have found the movie.

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The Hobbit – Start of Production Video Blog

This week saw the release of the first video blog from the New Zealand set of The Hobbit.  The long awaited follow-up to The Lord of the Rings, and my most anticipated two films since The Return of the King.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a couple of movies.  And the coolest thing is that they’ll definitely live up to my expectations.  Knowing that many of the same creative team has returned, and that they’re putting the same detail and care into the project, would be a shock if they didn’t measure up at all to The Lord of the Rings.

When I watched the first production video blog that Peter Jackson put together, it gave me the familiar feeling of The Lord of the Rings behind the scenes.  The familiar music added an emotional weight to the video that conjured up memories of the films that have become so familiar to me, while also getting me really excited to hear the new music that Howard Shore is composing for these new adventures.

The video also made me want to build both Bag End and Rivendell at my house.

There hasn’t been a better writer than J.R.R. Tolkien, nor a better book than The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit is part of that world.  Watch the video below.

I love how it ends with what was likely the first shot they filmed for the film: a hand picking up the One Ring, followed by a shot of Bag End.

The Hobbit to be Two Films

The HobbitAfter much talk about the Hobbit film being shot as one film, with a second film to bridge The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, a final decision has been made. Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro have made an announcement about the make-up of the Hobbit films to be made:

‘We’ve decided to have The Hobbit span the two movies, including the White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur,’ says Del Toro.

‘We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie,’ adds Jackson. ‘The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [Lord of the Rings] trilogy.’

This is a sensible decision and I’m glad that they went this route, rather than attempting to craft a second film that might have largely been their own invention for a bridge film. This is excellent news.

As far as future films in the saga, The Children of Hurin and The Silmarillion are both ripe for the picking!

The Hobbit release dates are as follows:

The Hobbit – Part 1: December 2011
The Hobbit – Part 2: December 2012