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This Makes Sense

Warner Bros. Brushes Off Reports of The Hobbit-Induced Nausea


Warner Bros. has responded to reports that the way The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was shot—in 3D with a high frame rate (HFR)—is making some moviegoers sick. The gist of what they have to say? “What? No it doesn’t. Look, the movie’s in 48fps. Deal with it.”

In full, the statement reads:

“We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY extensively and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports. We share the filmmakers’ belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the moviegoing experience and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling.”

I think that’s… semi-reasonable. On the one hand, I’m sure some people are going to be made disoriented by the film, even if Warner Bros. doesn’t seem to think so. It’s unavoidable, and it happens with some straight 3D films as well. (Avatar and Breaking Dawn Part 1 reportedly made audience members faint, for example.) Most importantly, only about 1,000 theaters worldwide will be screening the film in the high frame rate, so it’ll be easy enough to see the film in 2D 24fps if you want to or if you have a tendency to get motion sickness or if there’s some issue with your eyesight that stops you from enjoying (or not enjoying, whatever) 3D.

As for the 3D… look, I’m not a big fan. I’ll see animated movies in 3D from time to time, but live-action movies… generally not. Too often the use of 3D is a gimmick, done in post-production so the studio can put “IN 3D!!!!!” on the poster even though the effect in question often doesn’t add anything to (and sometimes detracts from) the quality of the film.

But. Not all 3D movies are Clash of the Titans or Green Lantern. 3D can be done well. Werner Herzog‘s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary about cave paintings of all things, is one example. Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo is another. The 3D in those is brilliant, and that’s because their directors’ visions included 3D from the start. And I think that’s the case with Peter Jackson, too. As a filmmaker, he’s heavily invested in 3D and HFR and is seemingly devoted to doing it right. If he says HFR makes 3D more immersive and less “HEY, THIS SWORD IS FLYING AT YOUR FACE!”… well, then I’m not going to dismiss the 3D out of hand.

I’ll give it a shot. Even if wearing two pairs of glasses sucks. I was probably going to see The Hobbit in theaters multiple times anyways.

(via: blastr)

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  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    I was planning on avoiding the 3D version no matter what. I always get splitting headaches watching it, and therefore won’t ever see that version. I gave 3D a shot, I hate 3D, I won’t see 3D. If you like it, go enjoy yourself. I’ll be in a different theater.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Here you go, Rebecca: http://realorfake3d.com/

    In fact, a link in the next article about 3D wouldn’t be out of order. *nudge nudge*

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I wish I could take the HFR without the 3D, but since I can’t, I’ve got tickets ready for the IMAX nearest me on opening day. I’ve already heard that the movie is “eh,” so that’s fine, but considering the expense of converting all theatres to HFR, this is probably about as likely to catch on as smell-a-vision, so I’d like to see it before it’s gone for good. Just to try it out.

  • https://twitter.com/WallCrawlinHero Wesley Hampton

    I’m planning on seeing this several times, but I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see it the way Peter Jackson intended (48fps, 3D) at the midnight premiere. I am usually very anti-3D unless it’s an animated movie, but I don’t get sick from watching them so I’m not worried about the physical effects. Plus a lot of people won’t even have this option so I figure I might as well take full advantage.

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

    I’m curious to see it and find out. In general 3-D doesn’t bother me, but sometimes the way the movie is shot can make a difference. Glee in 3-D made me feel ill because of the quick-cuts on the dance sequences. (Yeah, I know, you’re going to point out that it might have just been because I was seeing Glee. Whatever, I love Dianna Agron.)

  • Average Jane

    I loved Cave of Forgotten Dreams but the 3D made me so nauseated that I almost had to leave the theatre before it ended. However, I saw Frankenweenie in 3D and was fine. (Yes, those are the only two 3D movies I’ve seen since the most recent 3D craze began.) One thing I’ve learned: don’t sit too close.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1314255041 Irina Ryabchuk

    TRON in Imax 3D made my jaw literally fall down. There should be evolution to every technology, and of course there will be mistakes along the way, but I think we are witnessing something ground-breaking.

  • Dillinger23

    well captain, we are all massively bothered where you will be and will miss you and your huge ego enormously.