The Hobbit: Three Times as Long, with Twice as Many Frames
If you’re Peter Jackson, and you’ve followed up the triumph of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with a mediocre second remake of King Kong and a tepidly-received adaptation of The Lovely Bones, what do you do? You go back to the well. So it wasn’t surprising when he threw Guillermo Del Toro overboard (Leno-style, some might say) and took over the adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit they’d been collaborating on; what was surprising was Jackson’s decision to turn the comparatively slender novel (310 pages) into first two films, and then three. (For comparison’s sake, the three LOTR films encompassed over 1500 pages of Tolkien’s text.) As a result, well, one could say the picture drags a bit. (Actually, The Onion said it better than we ever could.) And Jackson made another peculiar decision early on, choosing to shoot the film in a 48 frames-per-second frame rate that renders images more clear, smooth, and lifelike — and thus all wrong for a fantasy world (and one filled with elaborate make-up effects and intricate costumes). Skeptical critics compared the final product to home movies, soap operas, reality shows, Teletubbies, and behind-the-scenes “making of” featurettes. Not that audience seemed to care (this time, anyway); the film grossed $84.6 million in its opening weekend, making it the highest December opening in movie history.