Feb 18, 2013

gold men & metallic boleros: 2013 OscarBlerg - HOBBITTIME

So, I am DETERMINED to participate in what I recently dubbed the Annual OscarBlerg this year.  For those of you who know me but not my friends, Holly, Livvy & Jesse have been a part of an online Oscar roundtable for years and it is AMAZING and BITCHY and silly and serious and brilliant and fun all at once.  In other words, it approaches the Big Awards exactly as it should be approached.

[The title/heading, for what it's worth, stems from the insane METALLIC PYTHON BOLERO that Jennifer Hudson wore to pick up her 'Dreamgirls' trophy.  It was so spectacularly bizarre and WRONG that Holly and I not only screamed out simultaneously when it appeared on the red carpet, but also clutched each other for reassurance whenever it appeared.  We regularly bring up said METALLIC PYTHON BOLERO without context and mention that we must 'Never Forget' its insanity.]

Alas, I am SEVERELY behind in my viewing this year.  Without any good excuses as to why.   Should I not manage to binge the unviewed nominees in a mad rush over the next week like LiLo binges on cocaine or Hathaway snorts up attention, I still want to make *some* contribution.  So I shall be covering what I *have* seen, film by film rather than by category.

Let's begin with the spiteful, irrational rant that will likely result in Livvy hopping on a plane to LAX ASAP to punch me directly in the face.  Ready?

The film: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'
Nominated for: Best Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Snubbed For: Nothing.
Should Be Dropped From these Categories: All of the above.
Deserves?: Hooooooooo, boy.  Here we go:

So, at the end of Susann's novel 'The Love Machine,' a character ends up being at a party in which someone is beaten senseless with an Oscar and somehow sorta takes the fall while the circumstances make it falsely seem like this was part of a gay crime of passion.  [The details *may* be Seconal-hazy, but I believe those are the basics.]  *That* fate is kinder and better than what Jackson & company 'deserve.'

Retroactively revoking all the LOTR statuettes as though they were caught doping is better than they deserve.  Having everyone believe that the only reason they won in the first place is because of a Palance/Tomei name-calling snafu is better and kinder.

No, what Jackson and every single person on the crew of this "film" - which, yes, the airquotes around film are deliberate and we shall get to that momentarily - is no less than a burgundy-lipped Melanie Laurent gathering up every single hard drive in existence containing the 48 FPS 3D HFR LOTR:TH:AUJ and setting it ablaze while forcing Jackson and company to watch as their cinematic crime burns and the avenging angel cackles magnificently.

Truly, words fail me at trying to capture the visual experience that was viewing this in HFR.  And, yes, I saw it at a VERY good theater displaying and projecting it in the quote-unquote 'proper' or 'intended' fashion.  (Alas, this dreck ended up being the very last thing I saw at Grauman's Chinese before they lamely were sold and became TCL Theaters)

It wasn't merely 'different' or 'new' or 'unsettling.'  It was ACTIVELY WRONG.  And bad.  It looked bad & wrong.  Unnatural and too natural at the same time.  Far too real-slash-far too fake.  Any sort of motion or action - especially motion within the frame *combined* with camera motion - seemed like it was being played on fast-forward rather than unfolding naturally.  The bizareness of how HFR ruins the simplest cinematic action was jarringly noticeable in any close-up of hands - which, this film has a lot of.

Note that all the nominations for this film fall under visuals.  And I will not argue against the fact that the many accolades and awards that the LOTR franchise are merited.  But not anymore.  What previously looked *right* and good and correct now looks flat-out wrong.  The wiglines and the seams and the sets all *show* now.  You aren't being magically transported to Rivendell anymore.  You are being shown what Holly and I both dubbed a Kinkade Painting.

The thing is, the decision to shoot and distribute this in HFR wasn't a spur-of-the-moment undertaking.  It was carefully thought out and planned - and yet, the visual shoddiness and wrongness made me think that no one on-board even looked at dailies at any point during the years of production.

How visually wrong is HFR Hobbit?  I would rather sit through a Stephen Sommers's film festival because at least Sommers is not serving up mediocre visuals while screaming at me that this is the FUTURE OF MOVIES.

Stop the future, I want to get off.

The ego, audacity and sheer hubris displayed by Jackson saying at the first hint of criticism that "NO NO NO, the audience will get USED to it after 10 or 20 minutes" or "Well, LIFE doesn't have a frame rate so this is more true to life!" or "it makes the 3D smoother!" (it didn't do so remotely, BTW - the 3D Imax Visual Feast of the Year was Prometheus, by a mile) is making James Cameron seem humble and grounded.

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