Planning on lining up to see The Hobbit when it comes out later this month? Get popcorn—the bag could come in handy. Audiences who've been granted an early look at Peter Jackson's film have left feeling nauseous, headachy, and dizzy. The culprit, posits The Guardian, is Jackson's decision to test out new 48-frames-per-second technology. The brain of a typical moviegoer is accustomed to half that speed, but the 24 fps that our eyes know and love is being dumped by directors like Jackson and James Cameron in favour of the 48 fps technology because it gives their films a sharper clarity and the ability to improve the look of 3D. While both Cameron and Jackson are big proponents of these technological advances, audiences may not share their enthusiasm. At least not yet... but maybe after they've had a Gravol.
The Guardian spoke to several moviegoers who've seen the film and had some tips for future audiences: "You have to hold your stomach down and let your eyes pop at first to adjust," advised one. "This is not for wimps," he warned. "My eyes cannot take everything in, it's dizzying. Now I have a migraine," said another fan. "I left loving the movie but feeling sick," said a third. Clearly, this is not a film for those of us with wimpy eyes, stomachs, and brains—but a little tummy trouble isn't going to keep LOTR devotees out of the theatres.
Some critics, however, have not been as forgiving as fans. Here's Movieline's reviewer describing his 48 fps Hobbit experience: "It didn't take a few minutes of adjusting to get used to it; even two hours and 40 minutes later my brain was rejecting the look of it. It felt like watching daytime soaps in HD, terrible BBC broadcasts, or Faerie Tale Theater circa 1985, only in amazingly sharp clarity and with hobbits. The 48 fps had me imagining how gorgeous everything might look in 24 fps," he added. Um, burn?
Yet Jackson won't be deterred: "Ultimately, it [48fps] is different in a positive way, especially for 3D, especially for epic films and films that are trying to immerse the viewer in the experience of a story,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. But critics say that 48 fps does just the opposite. They complain that the technology makes The Hobbit look "too real" and that the veneer of fantasy that a film set in Middle Earth should have is missing because of the film's 48 fps hyper-reality.
And then there's the barfing. I don't think anyone who had planned on seeing the film will be put off by a little barfing—they just might not bring a date.