After years of setbacks production on Peter Jackson’s adaption of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is finally underway. The Hobbit, which is the prequel to the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, is divided into two parts, the first of which is set for release in December 2012. This is great news considering just a year ago it was beginning to look like this film may never actually get made. Originally Peter Jackson was involved in a legal battle which kept him from directing the film. Then Pans Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro signed on to direct the film, only to discontinue his efforts in may 2010. Once Peter Jackson was back in the directors chair production was once again brought to a halt when the films producers refused to enter into union negotiations with the cast and crew. Not to mention constant rumors about just how much it will actually cost to make the film (Some estimate over 600 million). Despite all the setbacks Warner Bros. officially announced the beginning of production of the two part epic on March 20th.
And just when it seemed like The Hobbit didn’t need anymore complication Peter Jackson announced that he would be shooting the movie at 48 fps as opposed to the traditional 24 fps. This process, though extremely costly, will supposedly capture movements and details more accurately. Jackson explains more in his announcement on Tuesday, “It looks much more lifelike, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D.” Jackson isn’t the first director to push for higher frame rates, Avatar director James Cameron has been a supporter of 48 fps and 60 fps which likely has a lot to do with his interest in 3-D. So what’s the big deal? Well film goers have been watching movies at 24 fps for a long time. Roughly 9 decades Jackson points out on his facebook page. And those in favor the true film look, or as Jackson calls them “Purists”, aren’t excited by this change at all. There also aren’t many theaters capable of projecting at 48 fps at this time. Films displayed at 24 fps have blur and strobing artifacts which, some say, make a movie really look like a movie. The complaint many people have is that if it’s shot at 48 fps it will look more like a home movie rather than a feature film. Is The Hobbit going to be the forerunner that initiates the change from 24 fps to 48 fps, or is it simply going to be an anomaly on the face of film history?