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I've seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey twice now, and I'm planning to work up a proper review shortly. Nutshell version: it's definitely a flawed film (mostly related to the writing and special effects), but the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I enjoyed it more than any of Jackson's adaptations since The Fellowship of the Ring. The acting, in particular, is fantastic. Martin Freeman is J.R.R. Tolkien's, Ian Holm's, and his own Bilbo Baggins, all at the same time, brilliantly. Richard Armitage's Thorin Oakenshield and Ken Stott's Balin are both exactly how I always imagined them, only better.

A few notes:

* The Call for Papers is now available here for "The Future of Harry Potter: The 2013 PotterWatch Conference" at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (April 6, 2013). I was the Keynote Speaker for the 2012 PotterWatch Conference, and I had a fantastic time at the event. If you're interested, I highly recommend taking part. (Thanks to gods_lil_rocker.)

* Great news for fantasy lovers: G.L. Gregg's wonderful novel The Sporran is now available for Kindle.

* My narration of Jeff Carlson's novel The Frozen Sky is now available not only on Audible (where it's currently $12.97 for members as part of the site-wide sale), but also on Amazon and on iTunes.


POLL TIME! What new Spring 2013 TV programs (if any) are you going to watch?

Poll #1885008 What new Spring 2013 TV series (if any) are you going to watch?

What new Spring 2013 TV series (if any) are you going to watch?



We're planning to give The Following and Ripper Street a try in January.

For Fall 2012, we "test drove" several disappointing "clunkers" (Elementary, Revolution, 666 Park Avenue, and Copper), but we've ended up enjoying Last Resort thus far - which, of course, means it was cancelled.

(After living in Nashville for seventeen years and knowing so many people in the industry and locations where it's filmed - including my alma mater - we also have to watch Nashville. It's particularly fun to see the talented Kimberly Williams-Paisley in an interesting role. Her husband, Brad Paisley, not only graduated from and supports Belmont University, but he's also said publicly lovely things about the experience and impact of having my husband as his professor, so it's no surprise that I have a huge soft spot for him!)

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
sittingduck1313
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
So did Peter Jackson make the one change we can be absolutely sure Tolkien would have approved of? IIRC he once stated that he regretted making the Rivendell elves in The Hobbit so silly.
sittingduck1313
Dec. 17th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
BTW for those wondering what my contribution to the poll is, it's a show about a guy whose girlfriend is Nyarlathotep. In the first season we learn some unusual things about the Cthulhu Mythos, such as:

1. Nightgaunts got nards.

2. R'lyeh's full name is The Cthulhu Corporation Theme Park Earth R'lyehland.

3. Cthugha is a stalky lesbian (which shines a completely different light on August Derleth's The Dweller in Darkness).
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 20th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
OMG, I am dying of laughter here. Your descriptions are absolutely priceless.

I still need to see this, obviously.
sittingduck1313
Dec. 20th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Just so you know, the first season can be legally streamed from Crunchyroll. The actual TV series episodes will be the ones with titles. The ones without episode titles are some Flash animated gag shorts which are okay but nothing special.

Also you might notice how the number three will crop up semi-frequently. This is because the Japanese word for three is san.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 20th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Yes indeed! No tra-la-la-lally down in the valley in this version. ;)
jan_u_wine
Dec. 16th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
I also have seen TH twice.....and, though I enjoyed it much more the second time (without the fuss of 48FPS and 3D and overly excited self and fellow travelers), I have to agree with you: there are problems, (yes, and in the writing!), but it is a lovely movie nonetheless. I loved Freeman's Bilbo. How actors seem to fall in love with their hobbit characters, no matter their initial misgivings. It says something about how Tolkien "drew" them, all those years ago, that they compel us all, lead us about by our heart-strings, as it were.

I'm eager to read your full review now......
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 20th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
I loved Freeman's Bilbo. How actors seem to fall in love with their hobbit characters, no matter their initial misgivings. It says something about how Tolkien "drew" them, all those years ago, that they compel us all, lead us about by our heart-strings, as it were.

Oh, yes, yes! What you said!!! Beautifully put.
Ace Hamilton
Dec. 16th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
I am curious about which versions you saw. Apparently there are four: 3-D, 3-D high frame rate, 3-D IMAX, and 2-D.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 20th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
My preference was for the 2-D, because I really don't like how 3-D forces you to focus on one aspect of the picture and turns the rest a bit fuzzy. (It's a bit like reading a book that already has highlighting in it; I don't want to be told where I should be looking.) That's not a criticism of this film in particular, but rather 3-D as a whole. I haven't yet seen the high-frame-rate version, though, so that might be different. I do plan to see it in that format soon.
Ace Hamilton
Dec. 20th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about 3-D. We are still far away from acceptable 3-D. I saw the film in 3-D HFR. It was not even the best 3-D I've seen. The image was divided into 3 very flat images, one near, one far, one in the middle distance. In 2-D my mind fills in the third dimension without constantly reminding me I am watching a movie. I think I am going to avoid 3-D altogether for at least 5 years.

I had reason to expect to prefer the high frame rate but I can't even recommend it. I know it may be largely due to a whole life of 24 frames per second, but after viewing the whole film I believe there is something more to my negative reaction.

I have long understood that film is not realistic and imparts a somewhat dreamlike quality. 48 fps does in fact come closer to our natural vision, but still isn't realistic, and introduces other problems that weren't evident before.

A number of people have suggested that those who don't like the HFR are just old fashioned, hopelessly stuck in the past. They have compared the new format to the advent of color in motion pictures. But this brings up a point which I don't believe any one else has mentioned.

When movies began to introduce color, it took some time for cinematographers to adjust. Most early color films just did not look good, as the techniques needed differ markedly from those used in filming black and white. Perhaps eventually adjustments will be made and this will be a viable format, at least for some applications, but we are not there yet.

The Hobbit appeared overlit, not surprising considering the 48 frame process requires much more light. Riddles in the Dark? I have been to restaurants darker than Gollum's lair.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 22nd, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
This is one of the very best analyses of the technology I've read. I'm so grateful to you! And I'm less anxious to see the film in 3-D HFR now (not to mention relieved that I haven't missed something spectacular in my 2-D viewings).

In 2-D my mind fills in the third dimension without constantly reminding me I am watching a movie.

Yes! Well said.

Your comparison between this "revolution" and the move to color films, and how the new technology solved some problems while creating new ones, makes so much sense. It's a shame to hear that the Riddles in the Dark scene in particular was overlit, but from what you describe about the process, I see how that could happen.

Avoiding this technology for the next five years while the filmmakers work out the kinks sounds like a wise plan! Thanks for "shedding light" (but just the right amount!) on this for me. I really appreciate your insights.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )