Updated: December 4, 2012 1:00 AM | By Michael Oliveira, The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com

Richard Armitage a fan of 'Hobbit' visual effect

TORONTO - There's a hearty debate brewing among the lucky few who have already seen Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" about the look of the much-anticipated epic.


Richard Armitage a fan of 'Hobbit' visual effect

British actor Richard Armitage who plays Dwarves' leader Thorin Oakenshield in the film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is pictured between interviews as he promotes the movie in Toronto on Monday December 3, 2012 .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - There's a hearty debate brewing among the lucky few who have already seen Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" about the look of the much-anticipated epic.

Jackson shot the film using a new technology called High Frame Rate 3D, which captures action at 48 frames-per-second, double the Hollywood standard.

It's said to create a more convincing 3D effect and also adds a vivid, natural look to scenes that are startlingly clear. Reminiscent of the TV world's switch to high definition, the technology offers a radically new look that is impossible to ignore.

Some have said that ultra-real style may not suit "The Hobbit" and will distract viewers from J. R. R. Tolkien's story.

You can count star Richard Armitage, who plays the dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, among those who think the new technology is a game changer, even though he understands the reservations of film traditionalists.

"Takes a bit of getting used to, doesn't it?" Armitage asked a reporter during a round of press in Toronto on Monday, ahead of the film's premiere on Dec. 14.

"Some people don't want real, do they? They want a veil of something over the lens. Personally, my taste is I want to see this film in both formats because I'm a bit old fashioned and I also like that veil in front of the lens — but I was so fascinated by what I was seeing (in the new format).

"You can't quite believe what you're looking at and it's something we don't recognize, it's like a new flavour you're trying to taste and I find it fascinating."

Not everyone will get to experience the film in High Frame Rate 3D. Some theatres aren't equipped for it and will instead screen the movie in regular 2D and 3D and IMAX. But Armitage believes filmgoers will go out of their way to find "The Hobbit" playing in the new format, which is good for the industry.

"It still feels like an experiment but I like the fact that he's putting something out there that is so new and such a new experience that it really is going to drive people to the cinema again."

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