So we're back in the Middle-earth, green and gnarly, volcanic, folkloric, heroic, mystically Germanic, mythically Norse, and obviously New Zealand. In short, a familiar neighbourhood from The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, last inhabited and winning 11 Oscars in 2003. Populated by murderous ogres, phosphorescent elves, salivating goblins and digitally ageless Cate Blanchett and Ian McKellen, the narrative is strictly another quest of a little hairy-footed being who'll have to prove his worth, conquer his fear, and slay the dragon (the latter will come in the second episode, or maybe the third, stick around). Gollum also returns _ no, in the Tolkien universe the creature has lived in that grotto long before LOTR _ only that he's now even more life-like, more hideous, more sad. Should I also add: more real?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Starring Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis. Directed by Peter Jackson. In cinema in both regular format and 3D.
If director Peter Jackson is giving us more of the same, what is certainly more is the look. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first film to be shot and screened with the 48 frames-per-second format, a new height of high-definition digital imagery that renders everything hyper-crisp, hyper-clear, hyper-real _ a perpetual diorama. The latest technology makes the ancient Middle-earth greener, brighter, more lucid and edgeless; no longer do we have even the slightest flicker, and while it's simply breathtaking at times, the task of watching a giant video image (3D to boot) for 170 minutes can also be strange and slightly exhausting.
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