Some moviegoers and critics have reported that the fantasy-action movie from director Peter Jackson caused feelings of motion sickness, especially when viewed in 3D. Both Jackson and Warner Bros. have denied these claims.
Scattered reports of nausea were given credence when a film critic for Collider, Dave Trumbore, said that “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” had “definite ‘motion sickness’ potential during scenes of chaotic action or fast-movement; the increased clarity often feels as if you’re standing on set with the actors/characters, so when they take a crazy tumble down a rabbit hole, for example, you feel just as disoriented.”
The basis for these issues of motion sickness seems to be rooted in the filming style. Unlike the standard 24 frames-per-second used for most movies, “The Hobbit” was shot at 48 frames-per-second.
Still, those behind the film are convinced that nausea is not a normal reaction to their film. Warner Bros. released the following statement:
“We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY extensively and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports. We share the filmmakers’ belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the movie going experience and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling.”
Peter Jackson concurred:
“I’m fascinated by reactions. I’m tending to see that anyone under the age of 20 or so doesn’t really care and thinks it looks cool, not that they understand it but they often just say that 3D looks really cool. I think 3D at 24 frames is interesting, but it’s the 48 that actually allows 3D to almost achieve the potential that it can achieve because it’s less eye strain and you have a sharper picture which creates more of the 3-dimensional world.”
Considering that there are three “Hobbit” films coming (starting with “An Unexpected Journey” on Dec. 14), motion sickness is not good for business.