Mamo #281: One Does Not Simply Mamo Into Mordor

The Lord of the Rings! Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy changed the face of Hollywood forever, thrusting Gollum, Weta, and New Zealand into the filmmaking forefront. With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey mere weeks away, we take a trip in the time machine back to the project that started it all, and analyze the broad swath of impact that the One Ring has had on moviegoing.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo281.mp3

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Jamie
Guest

Geek note: At about minute 32 of the podcast a Split Enz song (I don’t know why I get frightened) is playing in the background… Split Enz were founded by Neil and Tim Finn (Crowded House). Neil and Tim Finn are from Te Awamutu. Te Awamutu is 25 minutes drive from Mata Mata. Mata Mata is where Hobbiton is, and filmed…

Hobbiton is 35 minutes from Paeroa. Paeroa is where my Mum and Dad live. Paeroa is 40 minutes from Catherdral Cove. Cathedral Cove is Narnia. Fuck Narnia!

Chris
Guest

I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they go to see The Hobbit and expect LOTR and get more of a kids movie.

Andrew James
Admin

I’m actually expecting to enjoy the movie despite NOT being much of a fan of the bloated LOTR movies. Reason being: I just finished reading The Hobbit and found it incredibly boring. However, it reads almost like a screenplay and I think the visuals on screen will actually be better than the visuals in my head since I had no idea what Tolkien was trying to describe.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

I think a lot of people know what to expect considering that the Lord of the Rings & the Hobbit are 2 (or 4 if you consider each volume of the Lord of the Rings separately) of the best selling books of all time. I know not everyone has read the book, but it is just so many people have.

Tonally it is a bit different because it’s a group on an adventure rather than the weight of the world being in balance of the actions of a few people. Even the style that Tolkien writes the book is more kid friendly with a lot more songs & poems. There is a reason it was adapted into a singing animated movie. However, a big part of that is the style of writing which could easily be lost in an adaption. That said, I’m expecting Peter Jackson’s take on it to be a bit more mature.

Although some of the dwarfs do look a lot less serious and more like comic relief, but I still expect more of a mature tone than the book. Especially with Jackson adding all that additional material with the White Counsel & rise of Sauron.

Either way, I would be surprised if there is a negative reaction to this movie (unless it’s too the HFR).

Andrew James
Admin

Yeah the Dwarves are a problem. While reading the book, I found I couldn’t care less about the Dwarves. There are too many of them and they are indistinguishable from one another (the movie posters are the same way). Except for the main guy – and we don’t even care/know much about him until towards the end. It’s Bilbo’s journey and his story. But aside from a moment here and a moment there, I found myself really wanting to put the book down and move on to something else. I finished it half-heartedly.

Gandalf is almost nowhere to be found through 90% of the book.

Sean Kelly
Guest

One of the expansions made for the film will be explaining where Gandalf was.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

I first read the Hobbit when I was around 10 years old and absolutely loved it. I’ve re-read it a few times, perhaps a year or two back most recently with an annotated version providing back story on things that influenced Tolkien. It’s a book that opened up a whole world of fantasy novels for me as a teen, so it’s hard to look at that book objectively and what I would have thought just reading it as an adult.

One of the things I’ve disliked a bit is the designs of the Dwarves and how many of them don’t look very Dwarvish. However, I realize that if they all looked the same that it would have been an absolute mess and that making them so different and unique, even if they look a bit goofy is needed in a movie adaption. Even as a fan I can’t remember half of their names.

Andrew James
Admin

Meh, I’ll just go back and listen to Led Zeppelin IV.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I never viewed The Lord of the Rings as adaptations, since I’ve never read the books. My only association of LOTR prior to the films was the 1978 animated film, which I watched a few times on TV, of which my only real memory were the Nazgûl.

Even though I don’t typically read books before seeing film adaptations (I read too slow), I DID read Stephen King’s DREAMCATCHER (in record time I might add) in the weeks leading up to the film in 2003.

As such, I was able gauge the differences between the film and the book:
1st Act: Closest to Book (including a spot-on recreation of the bathroom scene – scariest sequence in BOTH book and film)
2nd Act: Some changes, though the important aspects remained.
3rd Act: Biggest changes, including a changed ending.

Voncaster
Guest

I also think the LOTR movies are pretty bloated and consequently boring.

I don’t see how one stretches the plot of the Hobbit out into three movies without bloating it. In my head its broken up like this:

***Hobbit Story Spoilers***

1. Intro to Escape from the Goblins of the Misty Mountains
2. Mirkwood and Smaug
3. The Battle of Five Armies

I don’t know where the Gandalf journey fits in, that is obviously in there somewhere. A movie centered around the battle of five armies, sounds pretty terrible to me. Its has to be an extended battle with embellishment like Helm’s Deep. Which honestly didn’t do much for me.

Worries about a bloated film aside, I am looking forward to this movie. The Hobbit was one of my favorite books as a Kid. My mom bought me the book illustrated by Michael Hague. I must have read that book 10 times. And looked at the pictures 100 times. It will be fun to see it envisioned as a live action film. (I also think the 70s cartoon is really good.)

antho42
Guest

I will also watch The Hobbit in 48, although to be fair, I am more interesting in the format than the actual film (I am on LOTR is bloated camp). I need to witness whether the format is as bad as think it might be, and whether I should be worry for its possible future adoption in film-making.

Andrew James
Admin

I’m with you on being VERY skeptical of the 48 fps.

Gerry
Guest

Re MAMO being a video podcast, since the iphone has a HD video recording function built in the question is why would you not record it with video too?

Andrew James
Admin

Doing that in a cafe setting with a phone would be much more work than its worth (probably). It’s easy for Kurt and I since we’re sitting in front of computers anyway and have to be online to converse; it’s just easy to hit “record.”

Gerry
Guest

Table top tripod, clamp and iphone. That’s it.

I’ve seen someone webcast a lecture that way and it worked great. Simples.

Matthew Price
Guest

It’s not a technical limitation, it’s an aesthetic choice. I like audio, and we are good at it. I think it’s the correct medium for the show.

antho42
Guest

Here is a list of theaters that is going to show the Hobbit in 48:
http://www.48fpsmovies.com/48-fps-theater-list/

David Brook
Admin

Nice find. My local cinema is getting it, which is a surprise. I remember reading an article a few months back saying that not many cinemas would be able to screen in 48fps. They were obviously talking out of their arse.

From someone that gets a headache in 3D films, I’m hoping the higher frame rate might help this problem.

Gerry
Guest

If the tables in your eatery are too small to get both of you sitting on the same side of the table, sitting at an angle (at the corners of the table?) where you can see each other and the camera, and audio only is an aesthetic choice then fair enough.

If I’m honest it was the restaurant I really wanted to see in the background, as the sounds of the background make it seem like it would be an interesting backdrop.

Plus I realise that some podcasters may feel they have radio faces. (tongue firmly in cheek here)

Matt Gamble
Guest

After now watching some test footage at 48 fps I can safely say I’m sold. Give me everything in HFR and give it to me now.

antho42
Guest

Is the 3D much better? Is it very jarring?

Matt Gamble
Guest

I don’t think the 3-D makes much of a change (in terms of spatial differences), but in terms of image quality it is a huge step up. It is amazingly crisp and clear. 4K to 48 fps is probably similar to the difference between DVD to Blu-ray. Possibly even greater, and most digital theatres project at 2K, making an even more dramatic difference.

antho42
Guest

Hey Matt Gamble, was the 48 footage that you tested for The Hobbit? Almost every single report/review declares that watching the film in 48 is an awful experience.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I don’t see THE HOBBIT until it opens next week, but I have a feeling much of this criticism is very reactionary (i.e. it’s different than what I’m used to, so that means it’s terrible).

Andrew James
Admin

That’s what I’m inclined to believe as well. But if it’s anything like auto-motion plus (on LG televisions), I will never go to another movie shot that way again. Ever.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

A few articles that I saw quoted audience members who said that HFR gave them a headache or made them sick to their stomach. So these weren’t people who felt it was different, but that it made them physically sick.

That said a small number of people react this way to most 3D movies. I imagine it wouldn’t be that hard to get quotes from a few audience members and build an sensational article around this, even if the majority loved it.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Motion sickness comes from it being 3-D, the HFR really should have little impact on that portion.

Headaches in theory should lessen, as the image quality is clearer and movement smoother, so your brain should be workking less to process the image.

But none of this has ever been quantified to begin with, so any complaints about them have no previous data to be compared with to see if there is an increase or a decrease in the rate of incidence.

Jandy Hardesty
Guest

I don’t imagine it will be quite as bad as the LG auto-motion plus thing, just because that actually interpolates frames that aren’t there, right, to make something shot in 24fps have 30fps. For this, there actually are 48fps, it’s not “making them up.”

Still, I’m not totally convinced, but I think Sean is probably right, some of it is just resistance-to-change stubbornness. Another friend linked me to this example page from RED. The real kicker for me was the example a couple down, of the 24fps vs 48fps pan across a logo. The 24fps judders, the 48fps is smooth, and yeah, I can see that, but to me the 24fps looks like it was shot in a real place with a physical wall, and the 48fps looks like it’s entirely digitally created. But maybe that’s just a psychological interpretation of judder=real and smooth=fake that will go away after time. I don’t know.

Andrew James
Admin

Thanks for linking to that article Jandy. It explains it well with good examples and is clean and unmessy.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I saw The Hobbit and some stock footage. The HFR will seem odd initially because they have eliminated all the jitter, so everything moves smoother, and it can look like they are moving faster than normal. Your eyes and brain will typically adjust to this fairly quickly. This is what people are complaining about.

In terms of image quality, it is freaking magnificent. The clarity really is leaps and bounds better than anything I’ve ever seen.

Matt Gamble
Guest

One other way I can put it, is for any quick movements it can seem like some of the movement is speed ramped, and I think that is more just due to our brains and eyes playing tricks on us, because the more you watch the more it begins to revert to “normal”.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

NOICE! Just give it to me in 2D, thanks.

Sean Kelly
Guest

If there is going to be a film that will likely be next to impossible to find a 2D screening of, it will be this one.

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

Alas.

antho42
Guest

Who is watching it in 48? I am.

David Brook
Admin

I will, although the thought of a 166 min 3D film worries me. I usually get a headache after an hour and a half.

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