The final "Hobbit" movie, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," is finally in theaters this week.
According to the movie's official site, there are five different ways you can view the movie.
2D (standard viewing)
HFR (more on this in a moment)
A lot of your movie-viewing decision is going to revolve around HFR.
What is HFR?
HFR stands for high frame rate. Typically, we view movies in 24 frames per second (fps). Director Peter Jackson pushed the boundaries of cinema by releasing all of "The Hobbit" movies in 48 fps. This means your brain is processing double the images it's accustomed to seeing in one second.
Okay, So How Does This Look On Screen?
It's a bit jarring, to be honest. Since you're not used to processing that many images at once, items look sped up almost to the point where they look cartoon-ish for the first 15-30 minutes as your eyes adjust to the format.
Don't get me wrong. There are positives to HFR as well. I've never seen images look more clear or crisp on the big screen. This is something revolutionary that will look incredible once it's perfected on screen.
Should I See 'The Hobbit' In High Frame Rate?
I don't know about you, but when I head out to see a film, I want to get lost in the movie without my attention being diverted by the nature of the filmmaking. While your eyes adjust during the first scenes of the movie you're focusing so much on all the small movements taking place on screen (it can be a bit overwhelming) that you may miss out on some of the fun of the huge opening scene.
If you have vision issues, you may have a tougher time watching the film. I don't, but there's one glaring scene showing a singular image reverberating quickly on screen — you'll know it when you see it — that it may be a bit too much to handle.
I've never been to a screening that's just HFR without 3D and without IMAX. Seeing it with all three can be a bit overwhelming. HFR by itself may be better; however, you're more likely to head to a theater playing the film in some combination of 3D and IMAX as well.
Since the whole thing feels like a giant cinematic experiment at the moment, I would personally hold off.
Then How Should I See It?
"The Battle of the Five Armies" hasn't been post-converted. It was filmed in 3D. So if you're heading out to see it in that format, you're getting your money's worth.
If you're not a fan of wearing silly 3D glasses or a controversial newer cinematic style, ditch both and just see this one in plain old 2D.
*Note: Though the official Hobbit site lists five ways in which to see the film, it appears there's at least one other way to see the film. When we checked the movie out earlier this month, it was shown in 3D IMAX with the high frame rate. This was at the AMC Lincoln Square inside the only real IMAX theater in NYC. Fandango will tell you the same thing during a simple search for the film.