June 17, 2014
The disorienting introduction to the Hobbit part 2 is still present. Although I don't know how you could explain how our heroes got from the relative safety at the end of the Hobbit part 1 to the dangerous beginning of the Hobbit part 2.
The edits at the end of the film, namely the chase sequence in the Lonely Mountain and Laketown where welcome. They moved the story along at a far superior pace to the theatrical cut. The editing of the chase scene in the Lonely Mountain left me a bit spatially confused. I found it difficult to figure out where the other characters where that where off screen but obviously still running about. This was not a problem with the Theatrical cut of the film and possibly the reason for the unwanted extended chase scenes.
The only problem I had with the Laketown sequence being cut was I don't think you cut enough. At one point the action jumps from the chase in the Lonely Mountain back to Laketown. We get a scene with Bard's daughter saying something and Bard grabs his arrow from the ceiling of his home. Then the action jumps back to the Lonely Mountain chase.
As Smaug never actually reaches the town that scene could have been removed. Cutting that scene may have caused more continuity problems in editing than it was worth however. Regardless, it was a bit jarring going from the well paced action sequence of the Dragon chase to a man grabbing his arrow then back to the chase.
Overall this cut was better experience and I am happy that I had an opportunity to view it.