I saw the Hobbit again on the 1st, and went to a showing in 2D rather than in 3D HFR.
My previous review wasn't glowing, but seeing the film in a format that wasn't making my brain scream has made me reconsider.
In 2D the film feels a lot closer to the texture of the original trilogy, and a a most basic level, looked a lot better. The elements on screen all felt of a piece, and there wasn't the feeling of watching an on set video rather than a proper production.
Being able to concentrate on the story, rather than the images on screen has meant the characters come across a lot cleaner, to the extent that Bilbo loses many of his Martin Freeman-isms. The Dwarves and Radagast still annoyed me in the same manner though.
The look of the Dwarves is clearly designed to make them stand out as individuals, but they are explored in such minimal detail there was very little point.
Radagast is clearly designed for comic relief of a type the film doesn't need. I didn't have an issue with his part in the story, so much as the way it plays out.
For all that I have taken against the slightly heavy handed humour (burping and snot? Really?) they were marginally better in 2D, and it was noticeable how much more engaged the audience was, with quite a few pieces raising a laugh, rather than falling flat as they had with the 3D HFR showing.
The fight scenes are still badly cut to my mind, without a sense of flow. The escape from Goblin Town was played to much to set pieces, and once again humour, which mitigated any feeling of threat, and leaving little menacing about the Goblins beyond their appearance.
Talking of appearance the effects and make-up seemed much more part of the film. During the first showing I was actively looking to see if there were any faults, while this time round I was far more prepared to suspend my disbelief.
It is hard to differentiate if all my changes in opinion are caused by watching in 2D, or simply watching for a 2nd time. Given that it was a second run through I didn't find my attention wondering as I thought it might, except towards the very end (it is a shade under three hours though, so I think that's expected).
It wasn't quite a different film, but it was substantially better. I'd be very surprised if we see many more films come out in the 3D HFR format, because it does look horrible.