“Thirteen hours of Middle-Earth is just not enough,” I said to my buddies the day The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released. Well I’m getting my wish, for on Friday December 14, the newest installment to the Middle-Earth epic opens: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I couldn’t be more excited.
There are a lot of expectations surrounding the Hobbit movies. Part of this is due to the fact that there are going to be three movies. Originally, I was a little skeptical about this – as was Dawne Dela Cruz, Treasurer of The Rhode Island Science Fiction Club (RISFC). “I’m a little curious as to why this is going to be three movies,” she said. “How are they going to split this up?”
The book itself is more novella than novel, and being stretched into two movies – let alone three – seemed a bit overreaching. However, like many fans, I’ve come to have real faith in Peter Jackson. He actually shows you what happens, as opposed to Tolkien’s characters, who tend to say, “Oh you should have been there when the Ents trashed Isengard…”
Plus, Jackson’s taking material from Tolkien’s other works (e.g. The Silmarillion) to give us glimpses of events that we would never have an opportunity to see otherwise – such as when Gandalf leaves to discern whether or not the Necromancer of Dul Guldur was indeed Sauron – the big baddie in the Lord of the Rings. It’s hinted at in the Hobbit, but explored only in other writing by Tolkien.
Next, there’s that whole 48 frames per second issue (or HFR, high frame rate) surrounding the film’s newest presentation technology – a format that is said to be closer to how the human actually sees. Jackson recently remarked on it in the Huffington Post saying, “It’s something that becomes a real joy to watch, but it takes you a while….” Early screenings made some viewers feel seasick, while others reported an especially intense sensory experience.
Well, I guess I’ll have to see it in HFR for myself. This calls for a viewing or two at the Providence Place IMAX.