December 2012 Archives

Antioch Wilhelm Scream THE HOBBIT

Book Two, Chapter Three, Verse 12: "Thus I giveth thee instructions how to maketh the most of thine time that wasteth during the interminable escape fromest thine Goblin cave. Focus not on the chase, neither shalt thou focus on the swordplay, nay, I say unto thee, focus on the Scream. And most specifically doth I say unto thee, focus on the one Scream, knowneth throughout the film world as the Wilhelm Scream. This is The Scream thou shalt waiteth for, and this be The Scream thou shalt notice, and be thus rewarded for thine noticing. By focusing on The Scream shalt time pass more quickly for thee, and thine squirming in thine seat for this notoriously long sequence in The Hobbit film shalt be minimized to thine satisfaction. Here now are the instructions for observing said Scream. Whilst thou sitteth squirming waiting for the protagonists to escape from the cave of numerous Goblins, The Scream occureth soon after the shot of the dwarves who droppeth a Ladder onto the heads of many Goblins who are then pushed back by the dwarves whilst said Goblins remaineth stuck in said Ladder. Thou must wait for the Ladder sequence, for The Scream ye seeketh occureth not before. If said Dropping of the Ladder sequence hath not yet been reached, then The Scream ye seeketh shalt hath not yet been issued. If the dwarves hath escaped out of the cave then thou hast missed The Scream right out, and thouest art a very silly person and as penance thou shalt attendeth another screening forthwith. Only after the Dropping of the Ladder shall ye hear The Scream. Once thou hast witnessed the Dropping of the Ladder, beest thou most ready, for The Scream occurs soon thereafter. Not before, not there, but thereafter. Noteth thou, how the Dwarves pusheth the Goblins back with the ladder and then the Goblins drop off into the abyss. They may scream but hark! None of their screams is The Scream. But now thou hast best sit up most vertically and payest thou most serious attention as The Scream ye seeketh be but mere seconds away. Watchest thou for additional, but mere momentary, running away by the dwarves and additional but also mere momentary combat with persnickety Goblins. Beest thou most keen for one particular Goblin to be dispatched by a particular dwarf and throwneth off the right side of one of the perilous walkways. Not on the left side of the walkway, mindeth thee, but on the right, doth this forsaken Goblin plummeteth. Said Goblin plummeteth into the abyss and whilst said Goblin doth plummet doth he belteth out the Wilhelm Scream. Much music and audio mayhem occureth at the same time as The Scream so beest thou most careful and attentive and if thou doth listen thou shalt hear, for it is there. Hearest thou The Scream and with luck others in thine auditorium shalt have also heard the noise, and when such a situation presenteth, there shalt be much rejoicing. Thus having heard said Scream thou hast achieved True Wilhelmitude and can carry on with the rest of the film."

Clarification right up front: As a movie, it was fine. No major problems. A little long, but whatever. My issues and the title of this blog post all have to do with the high-frame-rate screening of the film, which is, in my opinion, execrable.

I just came from seeing a 48fps 3D screening of THE HOBBIT in the widescreen auditorium number 7 at the La Jolla Arclight. All I can say is high frame rate digital s-u-c-k-s.

If I could have walked out of the movie, I would have, but dammit, I am too polite, and I was squeezed in in the dead-center of a very wide row of seats, and would have had to pull a Bugs Bunny "excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me" maneuver, climbing over tons of people and probably stepping on someone's foot.

Within sixty (60!) seconds of the opening of the film, I knew, I just *knew*, that I had made A Mistake of Unusual Size. So I had to sit there and endure 170 minutes.

Wow.

Suddenly, all those 1970s too-brightly-lit, soundstage-shot British TV sci- fi programmes came crashing back. THE HOBBIT looked absolutely wretched in 48fps. I mean, really really bad.

In RIGHT STUFF terms, we just went right up to the edge of the envelope and got a peek at what's on the other side. And guess what: it sucks.

It's one thing to lose 24fps celluloid. And after seeing some movies in 4K digital, I was okay with losing the celluloid. But THIS . . . THIS is a whole 'nother story. It's like an insult to the history of film. And the future now looks not only very bright, but harshly bright and terribly artificial.

THE HOBBIT in 48fps is like a video game. And the 3D? Another insult, a gimmick by the fucking studio to wrench another few bucks out of the suckers in the theatre.

Wow. Just wow.

Never again.

Jim Cameron, Peter Jackson: you guys were wrong. This is NOT a good thing. Except in that it makes you realize, *real* fast, how precious and how magical 24fps is. If all movies go this way, well, time to give up movies.

Live from Montreux, 2005

Great audio quality. Turn it all the way up, up to cops-banging-on-the-door level. Only way to listen.

Very cool composite shot of every airplane on landing approach in San Diego on this past November 23:

Landings at San Diego Int Airport Nov 23, 2012 from Cy Kuckenbaker on Vimeo.