Entirely respectable version of the trilogy put together. I have watched it through two days and enjoyed it in its entirety. I had already watched the trilogy and wanted to go back to it again, I just couldn't bare getting through all the unnecessary plot lines they decided to squeeze into this movie. This edit contains all the useful information with none of the useless added narratives. Good job.
I had long ago deemed the Hobbit trilogy to be "un-re-watchable". Bloated run time, over the top sequences, unnecessary love triangle etc etc...
And this edit changes that. L8wrtr you have a done a great job here, I watched this over two nights and I had a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience with no cringes. You have a keen eye for what should stay and what should go, and I am very happy to be able to have this version available for whenever I get in the mood for a future viewing. (I just might watch Kerrs wonderful book cuts again now that I finished your version of the Hobbit.)
Thanks for putting in the hard work so that everyone else can enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyFebruary 26, 2017
Thank you Parras!! I am glad that you enjoyed my take on it as much as you did, this was a joy for me to edit. I'm particularly pleased by your reaction to Volume 2 as that is by far the stickier one to have worked on. As you noted, Volume 1, which is essentially and edit of Unexpected Journey, was a comparatively easy task because it is by far the best of the three unedited films in my opinion, the primary task was just cleaning things up and letting the great story and acting shine through, with a few narrative adjustments to give Azog the presence I wanted. Volume 2 required far more tinkering and to tell the story that I saw hidden inside it, and making it interesting/compelling was far more challenging but worth the effort!
Again, thank you for the review and glad you enjoyed it!