Hobbit, or There and Back Again, TheFeatured
Going into the project I had assumed that I'd end up making a book cut, but it became obvious to me right away that what I really wanted was to do was maintain the new expanded depth and tone, but cut out the excessive and ultimately needless action, as well as the seriously ill-advised characters who added nothing to the story. Ultimately what I truly fell in love with was Martin Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo, and the revised approach to the Dwarves, in particular Thorin, and thus found the point of my edit; to bring out as much of those two stories as possible while cutting out as much of the pointless and distracting elements, and still allowing it to be a primer for the LotR films.
Also, acknowledgements must be given to Spence and Billy Batson. Their edits were the only ones I allowed myself to watch. There are a few cuts which are near replication of their work and some that find the same spirit but different approach or spirit. If any of those cuts were themselves inspired by other editors, those fine folks deserve credit as well, but I know not who they are.
Of course, this edit simply wouldn't have happened were it not for the perseverance of my friend Jewyl.
And lastly, as always to Mrs. L8wrtr and our younglings who have embraced this edit and patiently allowed me the time to make this happen.
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
- Blu-Ray (BD-50)
While I had done a two-films-into-one project before with Son of Jor-El, the basic structure of that edit had already been laid out by Jelio and it was quite clear what the goal was in terms of the story that needed to be crafted as well as the run-length. Likewise with Alarm Clock I took two films and merged them, but that edit was defined by the fact that I was attempting to reconstruct the original version of the film that hadn't been released, so it was like taking a scrambled puzzle and putting it back together. The Hobbit however was something new. I had no end game. One movie? Two? Leave it at three? A quick review of IFDB revealed people had taken all three approaches.
Ultimately I determined that I would have no predefined goal in terms of length. I would edit based on my guiding principle of focusing on the main characters' stories. I knew there were certain primary goals, but beyond that I wanted to simply see what evolved as I sculpted it based on these few key goals:
- Fix Laketown as much as possible by reducing Alfid and The Master as much as the story would allow.
- Cut out the love triangle
- Cut out as much of Radagast as possible
- Cut out as much of the fight inside Erebor as possible
- Limit the relentlessly over-the-top action as much possible
So I simply set out to edit all three into a single film in my timeline, with no running time in mind, just edit the footage into the best possible story that I enjoyed, but to not cut so much as to make it obvious things were missing, whether by narrative points, or pacing. I committed to just following where it took me so that when I was finally happy with the story, I could then figure out how best to divide it up, if at all.
Of any project I've done so far, this was by far the most selfish endeavor. I edited it mostly in a vacuum, the only influence being Spence and Billy Batson's edits. Since they were both three-in-one edits, each with very different approaches I figured they'd give me a good glimpse into the most extreme ways to carve out chunks of the film as possible. Even if I didn't want to replicate their edits, it gave perspective to just how far or aggressive you could go. I didn't announce this project on the site or open it up for discussion and group-think like I normally do. I simply enjoyed this so much that I wanted to edit it for me, and if I enjoyed it, figured I'd release it in the hopes others may find it enjoyable. I know there are a ton of other Hobbit edits so this will likely get lost in the shuffle, but I'm supremely gratified with the results and I hope that others may find it an enjoyable variation on the originals.
So in the end, my approach was to carve out as much of the pointless, useless and annoying story and plot elements that constantly distract from the real stories being explored; Bilbo's adventure, Thorin's personal journey, and Gandalf's worries about "The Enemy".
An Unexpected Journey (which is essentially Volume One):
- Cut out flashback of Erebor and Dale's heyday and fall
- Cut An Unexpected Journey title
- Cut Bilbo wandering Hobbiton after being spooked by Gandalf
- Cut some dialog in Bilbo's pantry between Dwalin and Balin
- Cut out Dwarves overtaking Bilbo's house and Gandalf naming them all off, also being raunchy and rude at the table chugging ale and burping
- Cut Bombor snoring moths in and out of his mouth
- Cut Introduction of Orcs watching company's camp
- Cut out entire sequence of Radagast (various nips and tucks of sequence of Company in the rain in order to accommodate removal of Radagast)
- Cut Radagast scaring the Company after they come out of the Troll hole
- Cut Orc pack chasing Company and Radagast trying to distract them
- Cut some back and forth between Gandalf and Thorin before entering Rivendell
- Cut out Thorn's confrontation with Elrond
- Cut out dwarves being rude and uncultured at dinner, singing at the table, falling for male Elves etc..
- Trimmed dialog between Gandalf and Elrond to no longer reference the orc pack
- Cut Orc pack reporting to Azog
- Cut Dwarves bathing in the fountain
- Trimmed scene between Elrond, Galadriel, Saruman and Gandalf to remove references to cut elements
- inserted flashback of Radagast giving Gandalf the Nazgul sword
- Cut Rock Giant fights
- Trimmed fall from porch into basket
- Used Theatrical version of introduction of the Goblin King, cutting out his song.
- Trimmed fight once Gandalf shows up
- Cut everything of their running fight once they leave the King's main hall
- Leave theatrical conclusion.
Ultimate effect/approach. With Volume one, the primary goal was two-fold; cut out as much silliness as possible, mostly accomplished by removing boorish dwarves at Rivendell and the Goblin king and fight through the goblin passages, and also to hold off on Azog's introduction.. we hear about/see him during Balin's tale to set him up.. but now we don't see him as part of the story until the very end of the film when they chase them to the trees. This heightens the tension and makes the reveal more dramatic.
Desolation of Smaug
- Cut out flashback to the battle outside Moria/Trim dialog between Gandalf and Thorin
- Cut Desolation of Smaug title
- Intercut Extend and Theatrical at Beorn's house, use theatrical cut's version of waking up with Beorn serving breakfast
- Trim dialog between Beorn and Gandalf that references raising the dead and the darker power etc..
- At Elvin gate, cut Gandalf murmuring to himself about the High Fells, and simply says.. "So be it.." before yelling to keep his horse.
- Keep Extended version with bridge, cut Bombor falling in the water, trim up and slightly re-arange their getting lost in Mirkwood
- Trim spider battle to remove Dwarves ripping legs from spider, cut Bilbo going crazy and killing small creature over the ring
- Trim their capture for continuity/remove the 'moments' between Kili and Tauriel
- Trim banter between Tauriel and Kili in prison
- Trim strange face-melting moment from Thranduil
- Cut Thrandruil being a dick to Tauriel about Legolas
- Cut more talking between Kili and Tauriel, and Legolas creeping.
- Heavily edit barrel escape; gate is never closed so the Dwarves simply sweep right through them as the Bolg and the Orcs attack. This also keeps Kili from getting shot by an arrow. Sequence loses most of the ridiculous fighting elements; Legolas standing on people's heads, Bombor bouncing around in his barrel, etc...
- Cut Gandalf going to the High Fells, which also cuts him meeting up with Radagast
- Trim Thranduil's interrogation of the Orc to omit reference to Kili getting shot with an arrow
- Remove Radagst from outside of Gol Dolgur, Gandalf approaches alone
- MASSIVELY REDUCE LAKETOWN. Too many cuts to note, just know that it removes Alfrid and the Master to almost nothing, the Dwarves don't almost get caught running around the docks, no flashback tale about the Black Arrow launchers and Thorin lamenting that if the aim of men had been true...
- Cut Dwarves departure from Laketown, do not show Kili, Fili and company being left behind
- Cut Bard getting arrested
- Cut Orc attack on Laketown, as well as Legolas and Tauriel's fighting there
- Cut all of fight inside Erebor between Dwarves and Smaug
- Cut credits and blend into Battle of Five Armies
- Cut all references to Orcs, Legolas, Tauriel or Dwarves in Laketown, as well as Alfrid and the Master stealing the treasury
- Recut Smaug's attack and Black Arrow, he simply uses his last arrow to take him out (basic approach both Spence and Billy Batson take but different execution)
- Cut opening Battle of the Five Armies title
- Cut Laketown survivors washing ashore, Kili and company parting with Tauriel, all that jazz
- Cut as much Alfid as possible
- Cut shot of giant worms boring holes into the ground
- Cut Alfrid finding Bilbo gone
- Used Theatrical version of Dain confronting 2 armies
Frome here, too many cuts to detail, suffice to say the battle is dramatically reduced, sequence between Azog's arrival and Thorin, Dwalin, Kili and Fili arriving at Ravenhill is 12 minutes, it unfortunately excises all of Tauriel's part in the battle because it all ties into her love of Kili, most of Legolas antics are also mercifully cut. I use Spence's sequence for Kili's death pretty much frame-for-frame, it's fantastic work and I saw no reason to reinvent that particular wheel. I also use a hybrid of Spence and Billy's concepts how Legolas aids Thorin at Ravenhill. There is no confrontation between Tauriel, Thranduil and Legolas etc..
Ending uses the Thorin/Kili/Fili funeral sequence, Bilbo's goodbye and journey home.
I have always felt divisive of the original Hobbit movies, I love the way Peter Jackson captures the Tolkien world but his Hobbit trilogy was a let down at points, I could imagine there was a great movie there when I watch the originals but somehow it always disappoints until I saw this edit, I want to say THANKS L8wrtr for this fantastic presentation, this is by far a great way to watch the Hobbit, I felt as if I was watching one of the LOTR movies, I felt completely immersed in that world without the child like camp and the horrible CGI at times.
If you are a fan of the Tolkien world and always wanted to see a good version of The Hobbit, trust me, THIS IS THE ONE.
I was a huge fan of Jackson's LotR trilogy, and, like a lot of people, was really disappointed with the confusing mess that was the Hobbit trilogy. I've watched several fanedits, and this is the best I've seen. I thought that the path Maple Films took, following the book as closely as possible, would have lead to the best outcome, but there were still problems, and the film felt a little empty after disposing of so many plotlines. I really enjoyed the Spence Edit, but it left out the Eagles and Beorn.
This edit is the best I've come across so far. It makes the best out of the source material without trying to artificially constrain it to Tolkien's original work. The use of Tauriel is absolutely fantastic. The audio and visual quality is superb. I now have a way of watching The Hobbit that doesn't make me actively question my life decisions. L8WRTR does it again.
This is a fine, fine edit and exactly the right spirit with which to tackle these movies: one that does not aspire to be artificially constrained as a three in one, or as a book purist edition, but which simply tries to make the most compelling films possible by judiciously employing the best from the source material, which means a streamlined focus on Bilbo but which also recognizes the material from the wider Middle-Earth world (most notably with the White Council).
For folks who enjoyed Kerr’s justly celebrated Arkenstone edition of the Hobbit, which used the same strategy, volume 1 of TABA is nearly identical to Arkenstone, only removing a few scenes which Kerr marked for provisional deletion in an updated version but wanted to see if they ended up proving necessary later. Because Unexpected Journey is, like FOTR, the most character-focused of them, L8wrtr has left much more of that in his edit, while compressing the far more bloated DoS and BoFA. What we have now we have, in effect, is an improved Arkenstone and a sequel.
L8wrtr has eliminated nearly all of the absurd action sequences, over the top violence, gross out humour, baffling non sequiturs (Thranduil’s dragon-fire moment or Bard’s arrest) and other ridiculousness that bordered on parody and felt detached both from the childlike charm of the Hobbit source material and the semi-realistic world depicted in the LOTR films. (There are a couple of short scenes that probably could go as well, but they’re no more than a minute in total, and inoffensive.) All of the scenes you wanted gone—the Warg orc pack, the Goblin wheel, the barrel escape, the molten gold fight with Smaug, the Orc attack at Laketown, or Legolas killing Bolg in midair—are removed.
In many cases, judicious cuts preserve the essential parts of otherwise unnecessary scenes.
Radagast is brilliantly minimized—not eliminated—and his sparing use--especially at the White Council in Rivendell-- makes him far more effective. Sylvester McCoy’s performance is charming and I hate to see it go, but his design and plotting were simply too much and too detached—the High Fells adds little, and Radagast’s house in AUJ adds even less. The dragon sickness hallucination- redundant on top of two other scenes explaining this more effectively-- is eliminated. As with most fanedits, the stone giants are removed, but so is Bilbo’s falling off and being saved by Thorin flinging himself off a cliff—which is now minimized but preserved to keep the essential character moment between them.
His treatment of Tauriel, however, is arguably the most distinctive and most successful move. Even as someone who actually, in spite of myself, really enjoyed the Kili Tauriel arc [at least until the absolutely wretched final exchange with Thranduil at Ravenhill which ruined it all], I was blown away by what I took to be one of the most innovative fanediting decisions I've ever seen. [I know L8wrtr also enjoyed this material but correctly observed that it was a major distraction, and thus the fine performances and beautiful Tauriel musical cue heard in Kingsfoil and Feast of Starlight—arguably Shore’s best work in this series—are necessary casualties.]
TABA didn't eliminate her character or reduce her to a few lines of expository dialogue, as many edits do, but left her in as a forceful character, albeit one who is now something of a competing political vision to Thranduil's bitter isolationism--a rival but loyal counselor. I had never thought of her that way before, but now it's impossible to see her otherwise.
There is no doubt in my mind that this will remain my definitive Hobbit and I suspect that will be true for all of my friends as well—a handful of fellow demoralized fans who watched these movies together at midnight but, by the end, more as an excuse to hang out rather than to actually enjoy the films themselves.
Now we can. We all knew that these films contained much that is worth celebrating—Martin Freeman’s subtle and moving Bilbo, for example, should be celebrated as the equal or even better of Sean Bean’s Boromir or Bernard Hill’s Theoden, and the exchanges between Smaug and Bilbo, or between Thorin and Bilbo, are just as we hoped from the books. Jackson successfully infused several of the dwarves—Balin, Dwalin, and Bofur—with a genuine warmth matching that of returning figures, like Blanchett’s Galadriel and Weaving’s Elrond, to say nothing of McKellan’s perfectly realized Gandalf.
But it was far too easy to forget these moments amidst an unnecessary and never-ending CGI spectacle, a temptation Jackson was already beginning to succumb to in RotK [most notably with the Army of the Dead] and which only became worse in his later work. It is a shame that that the viewing public more broadly will continue to forget these moments due to justifiably ignoring the bloated movies that swallow them.
L8wrtr’s celebrated Star Wars prequel edits drastically improve the movies, but in the end, there was simply too much wrong with the source material that even his heroic efforts could not overcome in attempting to make them into legitimately great films.
Not so here. I genuinely believe that L8wrtr’s handiwork approaches the quality of TTT and ROTK's extended editions now [FOTR will always be a cut above], which is not something I ever thought possible from those films. He has saved the Hobbit, and we all owe him thanks for it.
Well, well, well.
To anyone that is a usual fanedit viewer, the fact that L8wrtr makes a new fanedit is always good news.
It is a matter of quality over quantity here.
L8 always makes his work with the higher quality: seamless view, no noticeable cuts, smooth well paced narrative...
But I am just a casual fanedit viewer, so who am I to give a long opinion on that. How pretentious.
I just wanted to thank L8 for the work being presented here. I'll try to explain why:
L8's take on the Hobbit Trilogy saves the day.
I watched Volume 1 without a blink, and the way the movie is presented made me smile several times: I remembered some good memories of my childhood when I read the original book. The way things are now presented, this feels much more like the story we first read back then.
I watched Volume 2 without a yawn, and I even cared for what was happening in front of me. I enjoyed the magic in some scenes that had got lost in the original swollen release.
The biggest surprise for me is how well paced this edit is. Volumen 1 could be more or less easy to edit but L8 succeeds in making us enjoy MORE every bit of the film, and not feeling rushed at all. Volume 2 is a true masterwork. The movies were a mess, and this edit succeeds in letting us go through a beautiful mythic story.
I enjoyed the fanedit a lot, and after watching it, I am now listening to the movie score, reading trivia and stories about it... this only happens when you really enjoy a movie.
This is a near-perfect edit of the 3 movies. Bravo! and THANK YOU.
I still enjoy the extended theatrical editions of The Hobbit trilogy, despite their many faults. That being said, the opportunity for a streamlined fanedit is clear, and L8wrtr has brought his great skill to this project to provide a wonderful alternative to the official releases.
The story is tight and focused on the emotional core of the characters and their relationships. The pacing and scope still feels epic and has room to breathe, but the fat is trimmed and Peter Jackson's more indulgent impulses significantly reigned in.
There are so many highlights and clever editing manoeuvres on display here, but the whole is still greater than the sum of its parts. It feels like the carefully executed vision of a great storyteller, and has the professionalism of an official studio release. Technically flawless, and thoroughly enjoyable.