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December 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that has come to theaters this weekend is the one that you’d ordinarily expect to see when the long “director’s cut” is released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, many critics are suggesting. In fact, some suggest, the first 45 minutes of the movie are so languid and tedious that some moviegoers may have difficulty staying awake. Nevertheless, concludes Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, it’s “an overlong adventure enlivened by wonders.” Likewise, Peter Howell in the Toronto Star judges the film “very good,” while at the same time criticizing Peter Jackson for “alarming excess.” His conclusion, “Nice work, Mr. Jackson, but why does it have to be so darned long?” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times describes the film as “solid and acceptable instead of soaring and exceptional.” And A.O. Scott observes in the New York Times, “The Hobbit is “just one book, and its expansion into three movies feels arbitrary and mercenary.” Another source of complaint is the 48-frames-per-second technology that is being employed in about 10 percent of the theaters showing it this weekend. “The resulting visuals are both remarkable and discombobulating,” writes Ty Burr in the Boston Globe. “The film’s images are astonishingly detailed, possessed of a hyperreal clarity that adds to the sense you are watching a waking dream. The downside is that The Hobbit no longer looks like a movie at all. It looks like a video.” Claudia Puig in USA Today writes that the “jarring clarity of 48 fps … pulls the viewer out of the absorbing, if occasionally languorous action-adventure saga.” And Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News regards the high frame rate as “a noble experiment, and a regrettable mistake.”