Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Hobbit" reviewers don't like HFR 3D

While "The Hobbit" movie seems to be getting reviews that range from decent to great, the HFR3D technology that I wrote about in a previous post is getting panned pretty badly.

Bryant Frazer of presents a collection of excerpts from a wide range of reviews. His preface includes:
...some observers have variously complained [the new technology] makes the film look cheap, sped-up, and-or nausea-inducing. And it's true — writers seem to have mostly gone out of their way to pan the format, with critics for both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety saying the cons of HFR outweigh the pros. 
Some web-based reviewers were harsher, while a few more seemed to reserve judgment, noting that the negative effects of HFR seemed to be lessened over the film's running time and suggesting that moviegoers will eventually grow accustomed to the process and its improved temporal resolution.
Vincent Laforet of Gizmodo writes a pretty interesting treatise on why HFR 3D fails. This guy seems to know what he's talking about, but I wish he'd been able to include HFR 2D in his comparison.
Tonight I went to see his latest film in all three flavors of its release: 3D HFR, Standard 3D, and in 2D. 
On one end of the spectrum I had one of the most disappointing cinematic experiences in recent memory, and on the other extreme I fell into the film and enjoyed it very much—all watching the EXACT same film mind you. Here's how they compared, and why it matters.
For myself, I still think that at least part of the problem here (and if you read closely, some of these writers occasionally say something similar) is that HFR and 3D require a new cinematic grammar. The composition, camera motion, and editing must be different for these new ways of seeing a scene.

It may be that quick cutting, dramatic changes of angle and distance, and even actor pacing, must be different when you're gonna show a scene with this much visual realism.

I've avoided 3D in the movies 'cause it's always hurt my head. And maybe I can just continue to do that. But 3D doesn't seem to be going away, so maybe I'm gonna have to learn more about it.

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