Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Hobbit

I recently saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and I thought it was one of the better movies I have seen this year. It is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but since it has been over 30 years since I read The Hobbit, I am in no position to comment on how well the movie followed the book or complain about what artistic liberties were taken by Peter Jackson.

The story deals with the dwarf kingdom being attacked my a dragon and they are displaced from their homeland for years until a descendant of the king decides it is time to return to their kingdom and reclaim it. 13 dwarfs and a wizard recruit Bilbo Baggins to help them with their quest. You will see many LOTR characters that you are already familiar with in this movie including, Bilbo, Gollum, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Saruman.

The only thing that really distracted me were such extreme special effects. I understand that computer generated effects are a necessity when you are making a fantasy movie, but some of the scenes, like the dwarfs running away from the Goblins, just seemed too busy and reminded me of a video game. I also thought it was incredibly convenient that despite experiencing multiple life threatening accidents, battles, and falls, none of the good guys ever got injured.

There is plenty of action and special effects during this nearly three hour production. I just wish I didn't have to get strung along for three years in order to finish the series, but I am looking forward to the second installment next year. I give The Hobbit 8.1 stars.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Subtitles Gone Bad

I'm not very cultured or artsy, so most of the movies I watch don't involve subtitles. I don't mind reading subtitles as long as they are legible. The other day I watched The Hammer which is a true story about a deaf wrestler. Since many of the characters in the movie were deaf, there was a ton of signing and therefore, a big need for subtitles.

The problem with this was that the font was too small for me to read and half the time the white subtitles were transposed on a light colored background so it was impossible to read. At one point it got so bad that I thought I might be the subject of a practical joke show and started looking around my room for hidden cameras.

The last time I noticed such bad subtitle work was on the newest Pearl Harbor movie. Each time they showed what the Japanese were saying, the color of the subtitles just blended in with the background. How do movies pass their final editing and get released to the public with such poor subtitle work? I think this is a much bigger goof up than having the boom microphone show in the frame of a movie.

So my advice to those of you who may be making a movie involving subtitles- Do a better job of it!
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