I finally got the chance to see this movie in Doldby ATMOS and HFR 3D:
Dolby ATMOS is awesome. There is a scene with some characters sleeping, and I literally poked my wife because I thought she had fallen asleep. HAHA That's the first time a movie in a theatre has ever fooled me completely into thinking I was hearing something real. There is another scene where there is a character off-screen that is talking and moving around the room, and you can hear it so clearly moving all over the theatre. It was very cool and immersive.
Now, about my take on HRF. I will be totally up-front here. As you can tell from my previous posts in this thread... I was already a fan of HFR. My PC monitor runs at 120Hz (full 120Hz input, not any sort of interpolated algorithm like many LCD TVs). I play video games at 120 FPS. My personal video camera takes 1080p/60 video. So all my home movies play at 60 FPS. So I would say I am somewhat acclimated to HFR.
But even after saying all that, there WAS an adjustment period for me. For the first 20 minutes of the movie or so, I kept focusing on the HFR... when a character moved quickly I had the sensation of the film being sped up and when the camera would do a wide pan, it felt more "game like" probably because most of my games are HRF. But gone was the flicker you can sometimes notice with 3D. Everything was smooth as silk. Then I started paying attention to the details. When the camera would do wide pans, no more jitter, you could see everything clearly. And when the fast-action scenes were playing I fell in love with HFR... I could actually see every detail of every punch and sword swipe. Slow motion in HFR is a BEAUTIFUL thing. There is a scene where the main characters fall into a hole and the camera follows. I got a real sensation of falling while in that scene I was so immersed.
The only down-side besides the adjustment your mind has to make is, since you can see more detail, the movie-makers have to also do an even better job of making the effects look real. The Hobbit of course is using WETA Digital, who I consider the best in the business (even better than Industrial Light and Magic) but there were a few scenes that were clearly CG. But I can't really fault them... this is the first major HRF movie, and there is probably much to learn about how to best utilize the format... but I for one am now an even bigger HFR fan, and will plan to see every movie I can in HFR assuming there are more. I think it will grow on all of us, even the ones that don't like it at first. Someday we will look back at 24 FPS like we do now at black and white.
So if you are reading this trying to decide whether or not to see the movie in HFR, I encourage you to try it. And try it with an open mind. Even if you have a bad experience, it is an experience you may or may not have another chance to get.