Firstly, let me say that the passion you have for this edit, the number of variations and the attention to detail you have put into this film is breathtaking. You have created a distinct version of the Hobbit that possibly the most unique of any fan edits,
My thoughts on the edit are as follows:
I watched the 5 hour version of your cut, split into 2 films, and I have wildly different thoughts about both of the films so let me start with the beginning film: The Quest for Erebor
- I loved the opening at the prancing pony, giving a frame for the story that encourages the audience to pay attention and draw them in with mytery; I would've cut the flashback to the battle of moria as it seemed a little too early in the story to include that, but otherwise brilliant!
- the editing of the dwarves arriving at Bag End is just wonderful! Removing the over the top antics, the clumsy 'comedic' moments, dwalin's head but with Balin. My only complaint is the way you removed gandalf saying 'he's here', which makes Thorins introduction a little rushed
- the introduction of the quest and the way you edited the dialogue, it's an improvement over the original scene, but I felt it was a little truncated, could've had a little more breathing space.
- LOVED the removal of bilbo running through bag end and the removal of 'I'm going on an adventure', really helped the tone of the film.
- The flashbacks to Thrandual were fantastic, more of that please!
- However, I thought the 'Riddles in the dark' scene, was a little chopped up; preferred the original version.
- The Barrel Chase scene was good, until Kili is shown to be hurt without having any context, maybe that could be removed?
PART 2: An Adventures End
- The dol guldur scenes are wonderfully edited, giving them far more intensity. Something I WISH somebody would do is include the 'Revelation of the Ring Wraith' them music into that scene as I believe it would make it near perfect!
- The introduction of Smaug intercut with Gandalf is good, but I preferred Adam Dens version where the entire battle happens before Bilbo meets smaug,
- Smaugs death was a little too short, to edited, should've allowed more time to breath during that section!
- The BOFA was very well constructed, only wish you had included the 'Bilbo plants the acorn' scene as it's one the best ones
- The ending using old bilbo and frodo was wonderful! That was my favourite part of the edit,
Overall, Wraiths edit is worth it if you want a different and unique take of the world of Middle Earth, Thank you for all you effort :)
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyMarch 20, 2022
Thanks for the review. I can let you have a bigger file which has better video quality. A lot of request were for a smaller file, hence the slightly softer image that may have been your issue. I appreciate the constructive points. I may revisit later this year. Thanks
There are moments in Jackson's three Hobbit films that bring tears to my eyes and moments that make me want to gouge them out. If any trilogy needed to be edited, the Hobbit is it. Other fan editors have tried to create a book version. I don't think those work. As much as I adore the Rankin Bass version, a film has different needs than a 1977 cartoon that was structured very differently. That said, Jackson would've done well to adopt the charm of that film and drop the excess.
Wraith goes a long way towards streamlining the films in a way that doesn't harm too much of the narrative, and has a good technical skill to make it appear seamless. The White Council scenes and Dol Goldur--which feature some of the most powerful scenes in all six of Jackson's Middle Earth films--are thankfully kept intact, if sometimes spread out in ways that are interesting. Same with Radagast. Without the silly stick creature and getting high scene, he's a much more believable as one of the Istari instead of being played as yet more comic relief.
The opening is a much better edit than the original in terms of setting up the story, introducing Gandalf and Thorin and the quest.
Freeman epitomizes Bilbo for me; he's not perfect (he's sometimes too modern), but Ian Holm was always too old for the role in LOTR ("You haven't aged a day," gasps Gandalf upon seeing Bilbo again). Minimizing him (and getting Frodo gone) was good.
Some of the early parts of the film go by a little too quickly now for my tastes. So, while I'm glad to get rid of the excess dwarf antics in Bilbo's home, I'm not as happy to lose the Stone Giants (I can't fathom why so many fan editors delete what is such a magical scene that's so well done) or the songs in Goblin Town. So, those parts feel a bit rushed for my taste. That said, I might've trimmed some of Gollum, if only because I don't like the direction Jackson and Serkis took with him in this film. He should've been kept creepier until the moment Bilbo decides not to kill him (and even that's slightly overcooked).
On the other hand, losing Tauriel and the very ill-advised love-triangle was a revelation! For one thing, Evangeline Lily was miscast. Unlike Liv Tyler, Lily feels like an actress playing an Elf. And the overt romantic aspects (meant to appeal to a broader audience) don't work at all. Kili himself doesn't work. Thorin looks close enough to a Human; Kili crosses the line entirely.
Cutting Bard's family was another smart move. Luke Evans as Bard was another miscast. When a character requires his kids to make him likable, there's something wrong. What should've been a noble loner was turned into an unpleasant curmudgeon. Jackson compounded the problem by having a goofy Master and the goofier Alfrid. Had Bill Nighy or Charles Dance been the Master, you'd have had a real sense of danger. Instead, it's cartoonish and there are no stakes. To make up for that, Jackson added a pointless and annoying fight between Legolas and the most ill-conceived orc in film history. By removing all of that (except Bard, who we're stuck with), it makes for a less annoying film, but unfortunately one that leaves Lake Town as an abstraction and mere stepping stone to the Mountain. So, the audience doesn't care as much about Smaug destroying it. But these are structural problems no editor can overcome.
Getting on to third act. I struggled with the original third film. It's so bloated and overlong that what should've been exciting is simply boring. Well, I'm happy to announce that for the first time, the Battle of Five Armies works! The trims create tension and dynamics, both of which were missing. Not sure why the giant worms were left out (as with the Stone Giants, they're a unique creature to the world), but the rest is glorious and much stronger!
Some minor nits to pick. The 2.0 audio isn't great. (I upscaled it to a DTS neural track on my system, but it's still unpleasant). And some of the color grading was muted to such a degree that it looked black & white (see the scene outside of Mirkwood). I'm an audio & videophile, so the occasionally degraded picture and sound quality are things I can't help but notice. For most people, it won't be an issue.
This was such a fascinating edit and I'm grateful to Wraith for creating it!
Finally got a chance to watch both part 1 and 2! Great work overall! Solid edit, which is huge to combine 3 movies, way more work than normal edits for sure!
This was a fun way to watch - I loved the chapter additions, it helped create pivot points that I think helped when watching a very long movie like this. The additions of a "Prologue" which allowed Thorin's story to start first, was a nice way to balance Bilbo and Thorin's journey, and just sets up the plot better.
The main criticism are personal preference: I think it went a little more serious than I was expecting (I miss some of the silliness,) and overall I'm not a fan of the bespoke color timing and vignette Halos, A couple flashback scenes work, but for me most of the time it was just a distraction. A couple other little notes about narrative I noticed and sent directly to the editor.
Overall this was clearly edited with a lot of love, and deserves a viewing for hardcore Tolkien lovers for sure