½*/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B
starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis
screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo Del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
directed by Peter Jackson
by Walter Chaw Shot at a vaunted 48 frames-per-second to better approximate the television soap opera its mammoth length suggests, Peter Jackson's vainglorious trainwreck The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (hereafter "Hobbit 1") looks for all intents and purposes like its own porn knock-off. A technological "advancement" that is to the naked eye identical to any episode of reality television or live sporting event you've been watching in your living room for years, the 48fps "breakthrough" was for Jackson a way of making the increasingly unpopular new-gen 3-D a little bit less crappy. It's like putting a dress on a pig. Understand, complaints about "HFR" are not akin to the bellyaching about colour film or CinemaScope, since those innovations didn't actively cheapen the moviegoing experience. The irony of all that being, of course, that while the image indeed doesn't stutter or blur as much in 3-D, what we're forced to look at is overlit, obviously artificial, and reminded me more than once of the jarringly amateurish "Star Wars Holiday Special".