Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Edits, The

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Faneditor Name:
Tagline:
One Edit to Rule Them All
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2012/2013/2014
Original Running Time:
533
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
290
Time Cut:
242
Subtitles Available?
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
The Hobbit is changed.

I see it in the Films.
I read it on the Forums.
I tell it, on the web.

Much that once was, is cut. And none now live, who remember it.


It began with the forging of the Great Edits.

Three films were given to the nerds, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings.

Seven years to the Editors. Redesigners, and craftsmen of the Forum Walls.

And Five, Five Edits were gifted to the Academy, who above all else, revise for hours.

For within these edits was bound the length and the skill to govern each film.

But they were all of them deceived, for another edit was made.

In the land of Indoors, in the fires of "My Room," the Dark Lord Stromboli forged in secret, a master edit, to combine all others.

And into this edit he poured his creativity, his talents, and his will to culminate all Five.

One Edit to Rule Them All.

Intention:
A few years ago it was commonplace for me to watch Lord of the Rings once a week while cleaning, cooking, gaming, etc., I wanted to include The Hobbit into the loop, but I found myself walking over to the remote and pressing "Skip Chapter" whenever it got to certain parts. I found out about this site, the projects within, and decided to dig in.

I watched a lot of other edits over the course of a few weeks, trying to find the perfect one for my taste. Many of the more popular ones were very well done, but none of them QUITE did it for me. Eventually, after a LOT of back and forth, I decided to make my own edit that combines all of the "best" elements of each of the other most popular edits, and add my own changes into the mix.

Spence, Dustin Lee, L8wrtr, Adam Dens, and DonKamillo's edits were the "Big Five" that I decided to incorporate into my own. Later, I decided to include some things from Wraith and M4's edits as well. Without these Seven other editors and their magnificent work, my edit would not exist.

Thank you so much to all of you for your work, your invaluable feedback, and your guidance as I crafted what I consider to be a biproduct of the brilliance you have poured into your own projects. Being able to honor your works in my own way has become reward in and of itself, and I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Other Sources:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Official Soundtrack
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Official Soundtrack
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Official Soundtrack

CinePacks Fire and Water FX

Special Thanks:
I would also like to thank Jasper Rex for the awesome artwork he did, Wraith for taking the time to watch and review my edit, and I especially want to give an extra big shoutout to Artisdead for guiding me, pushing me, and in some cases carrying me (kicking and screaming) to this finish line that I've wanted for so long.

Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, whom I married on Frodo on Bilbo's birthday! Without her this project would not exist, nor would I have had the opportunity to show it off at my local movie theater to almost 30 of my closest friends!

Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
There are a mountain of Hobbit edits out there, I sought to combine what I felt were the best elements of each into one.

DonKamillo's: The Anti-Cringe Cut provided the scaffolding for my edit. I have changed many things about it, but his edit has the largest inclusion of them all in my edit. Any cuts or transitions that I do not specifically mention in the "Cuts and Additions" section can be assumed to be his.

This is not a "book" cut. There are some elements from the books that I have excised, and there are some elements unique to the films that I have chosen to retain. This project came from my goal to create the best possible version of these films, without any constraints other than quality. In the end, I decided the best way to do that was to condense the films down into five, one-hour episodes. This was DonKamillo's approach, and I thought it was a unique and brilliant way to present them. If it ain't broke....

Cuts and Additions:
The Battle of the Five Edits is split into Five Episodes, each coming in at around 55 minutes
(The credits roll in Episode 5 at 58:30)
The entire project, credits included, clocks in at 4 hours and 50 minutes, which means about 46% of the runtime has been cut.


TL;DR Cutlist provided by herowoac (Found this on Billy Batson's Edit Page)

Dor Guldur/High Fells Subplot: Deleted
White Council Plot: Deleted, Galadriel has an extended cameo
White Orc Plot: 90% deleted, he is the nameless leader of the army at the end, like Gothmog in Return of the King
Army from the North plot: Yes
Love Triangle Plot: Deleted.
Radagast Inclusion: No.
Legolas Inclusion: Abbreviated. He's in Mirkwood, and shows up late in the Battle of Five Armies.
Tauriel Inclusion: Deleted, for the most part. She appears in a couple shots.
Alfrid/Master Inclusion: Severely Abbreviated. It's implied that they are both killed by Smaug.
Extended Edition Use: Yes.
Use of Deleted Scenes: Gandalf's Eulogy (audio)

SPECIFIC SCENES (yes/no/partial/more info)

Prologue/Flashbacks: No.
Chip the Glasses: Yes
Battle for Moria Flashback: No.
Radagast in Mirkwood: No.
Troll Battle: Yes.
Radagast's Rabbit Chase: No.
White Council in Rivendell: No.
Stone Giants: No.
Gollum scene modified: 99% untouched
Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees: Orcs removed (mostly)
DoS Gandalf/Thorin Prologue: No.
Beorn: Yes + Extended
Gandalf in Dol Goldur: No.
Bilbo fights a bug for the ring: No.
Tauriel/Kili in prison: No.
Barrel Chase: Yes, but trimmed down
Dwarves in Laketown: Partial
Dwarfs coming out of a Toilet: No
Dwarves Left Behind in Laketown: No
Orcs & Elves in Laketown: No
Dwarves Give Up at Erebor: No
Dwarves Combat Smaug: No
Black Arrow/Bard's Son & Smaug: No
White Council battles Nazgul: No
Thorin's Dragon Sickness: Yes
Battle of Five Armies - Restructured
The Master discusses class warfare: No
Alfrid wears a dress: No.
Thorin/Azog combat: Yes, but heavily trimmed: No breakout from the ice


Episode 1 - An Unexpected Journey

- Removed the "60 Years Later..." caption when Bilbo first meets Gandalf (Wraith)
Otherwise, This episode retains 99% of its structure from Don Kamillo's Anti-Cringe Cut:
- No Azog
- No Necromancer
- No Radagast
- No Arkenstone
- Bilbo finds the ring the way he did in the book
- Less silly moments

The only other difference between this episode and DonKamillo's version is I cut the scene of Gandalf scaring Bilbo by looking through the window, and added back the scene of Bilbo going to the market (M4's version)


Episode 2 - Riddles in the Dark

This is where things start changing quite a bit from Don Kamillo's Anti-Cringe Cut.

-removed small continuity errors of Gandalf mentioning the orc/sled chase sequence that has been excised, once when Elrond arrives and once at dinner

- Cut Bofur singing and dancing on the dais they used for the One Ring in the Fellowship (Love the joke, don't mind the song, but too goofy)

- You see Galadriel show up, elf announces that he dwarves snuck out, and Gandalf talks to Galadriel briefly during the dwarves's departure. It's implied that he stayed behind to talk to Galadriel about them, and intended to catch up right after (as he does)

- Used Dustin Lee's version of removing the Storm/Rock Giants; Bilbo slips on the ledge, and rather than getting pulled back by Dwalin, he fully falls off, is dangling, and needs rescuing

- No Goblin King song (kept the very short version that appears in the Theatrical) It's implied that he dies when he falls, but unconfirmed

- Bilbo does not witness Gollum dropping the Ring out of his pocket, he finds it like he did in the book. The rest of the Gollum sequence is 100% intact

- I debated a couple different versions of the Golbin Tunnels escape/battle, but most of the fighting in these scenes is just too silly and CGI heavy for me, so I went with L8wrtr's version; Gandalf shows up, chase begins, cut to Bilbo and Gollum and remove all of the fighting, Gollum then hides from the party as they run by, Bilbo escapes and joins them.

- The Eagles rescue occurs with a few Orcs, but no Azog. I then used M4 and eric1894's version of the carrock scene; Thorin's scars have been digitally removed, and the scene occurs without the complicated Thorin/Bilbo bonding scene.

- removed the "12 months later" caption at the end of Episode 2 occuring at the start of Desolation of Smaug when Bilbo peeks up at the orcs and wargs (Wraith)


Episode 3 - A Warm Welcome

- Used M4's transitions for the party arriving at Beorn's house and Gandalf's departure outside Mirkwood (cleaned it up a little)

- Beorn's intro from the extended edition is here because I loved it in the book and they kept it pretty close to verbatim

- Used M4's version of Dwarves vs Spiders after Bilbo frees them; No baby spider, no Spider-Man Legolas, much less silliness

- Kept "That's my wee lad, Gimli" because I love it.

- used M4's reversed shot of Bilbo peeking around the corner inside Thranduil's house

- The Legolas/Tauriel/Kili love story has been completely excised

- Thranduil does his weird melty-face bit because he lays down some foreshadowing about Thorin being "just like [your grandfather]"

- Legolas and Tauriel’s only real roles are capturing the dwarves in Mirkwood, shooting some Orcs during the barrel sequence and then, and warning Gandalf about Bolg's army in Episode 5

- The Barrel Chase scene remains, with Bolg, but has been trimmed heavily, in my own modified version of Dustin Lee's version

- The Company arriving in Lake Town is a modified version of DonKamillo's, with a sprinkling of M4's version

REVERTED - Balin DOES mention the black arrow being the only thing that can kill Smaug. I had originally cut this (M4's version) because Balin mentions, specifically, that the black arrow is the only thing that can pierce the dragon's hide, not necessarily that it's the only thing that can kill it. We find out shortly thereafter via Bain "....you'd know that Girion hit the dragon. He loosened a scale under the left wing." Girion's actions with the black arrow are what allow L8wrtr's regular arrow method to work, and negates the purpose of removing that line from Balin. Bard is only able to kill Smaug with a regular arrow in Episode 4 because Girion chipped off a scale with the black arrow. This is much more in line with the book; Smaug has a chink in his armor, Bard shoots him with a regular arrow that he refers to as his "black arrow" seemingly because it's his lucky arrow and is colored black.

- Including Balin's mention of the black arrow (along with Bilbo and Smaug's mention of it it in Episode 4) takes Chehkov's Gun (Arrow, in this case) from the original movies and turns it into a red herring, which, to me, was preferable to removing the term "black arrow" from existence


Episode 4 - Fire and Water

- The dwarves don’t stay behind with Bard and his family; Dustin Lee handled this beautifully, and I replicated it (including his digitally edited shot(s) of all the dwarves walking to the mountain)

- The dwarves do not give up at the secret door (L8wrtr)

- The dwarves do not enter the mountain until after Smaug has been defeated

- No Golden Smaug – I used L8wrtr’s version of Smaug’s exit and applied M4's color correction to Smaug. He breaks out of the gate for just a few frames (he's red not gold!) and then it cuts to the dwarves stumbling and Balin saying "That, my lads....was a dragon."

- The lead-up to Smaug decimating Lake Town is of my own design, and I'm very proud of it! Bard tells his children everything is going to be fine, despite the screams and roars that can be heard in the background. He then declares that he's going to kill the dragon first, right as Smaug unleashes his fury

- used Dustin Lee's digitally corrected shot of the Dwarvish Wind Lance to make it appear like it's on fire, showing the audience why he didn't attempt to use it against Smaug (and removing any possiblity of using black arrows in this fight)

- Bard then uses a regular arrow in a modified version of L8wrtr’s Smaug fight because, as I already stated, I always felt that having the Black Arrow be the only thing that could pierce the dragon's hide was fine, but then having that also be the "only" thing that could kill him once the armor was already broken was.... Overkill?

- Used a combination of M4/Dustin Lee's version of the post-Smaug lake town carnage/recovery efforts; there is no Alfrid

- Tweaked this further to remove Alfrid entirely (we assume he died with the Master) and mention of the Black Arrow, whilst keeping the scene of Bard giving his rallying speech to the people of Laketown (.......We find shelter etc)
- Gandalf is not seen returning from his travels

- You don’t see Bilbo hand over the Arkenstone, nor do you see Gandalf consult with Thranduil and Bard about the incoming orc assault. Episode 4 ends with Bilbo leaving the company on the wall at night, and Episode 5 begins in the morning with the elves and men knocking at the gate.

I did this for three reasons:
1) Gandalf telling Thrandiul and Bard that Azog has an army that has "been bred for war" is a line I got sick of hearing, it also diminishes the entire existence of the Uruk-hai in LotR.
2) Gandalf's return is now also seen as a surprise, as the viewer sees his return at the same time the dwarves do, which doesn't automatically make it a good thing, but I believe it is in this case.. Gandalf has been disappearing and reappearing for like 4 hours (7 originally) straight at this point so it's very in-character.
3) Cutting Bilbo's Arkenstone delivery adds a layer of mystery to his departure. Sure, we can all guess why he left, but we don't KNOW why he left, until it is revealed. I am aware that his delivery is a scene that's in the book, but I feel cutting it from my version helped with the pacing and added this layer of mystery that these movies never had in the beginning.


Episode 5 - There and Back Again

- The large majority of the Battle occurs the way it does in Adam Dens's edit; silliness removed, worms removed, the usual stuff. Then on top of that, he restructured the entire thing to both blend better with the people of Laketown defending Dale, and to allow the following:

- Adam Dens is the only edit I've ever seen that removes the absolutely atrocious elves-leaping-over-the-dwarven-phalanx bit. That scene gives Game of Thrones a run for its money for the Worst Military Strategy I've ever seen (Looking at you Battle of Winterfell) Thank god for Adam. It's gone. The elves shoot a volley of arrows over the the dwarves instead, who then charge.

- Azog is never mentioned by name, (re-used and reversed an older shot of Thorin to cover up Bilbo saying "Azog" in one shot)

- A lot of editors trim out Bard leading the humans in battle inside Dale, but Adam chose to leave it and intertwine it with the second phase of the Battle. I kept this because giving Bard an actual story (rescuing his kids, leading the humans) was an excellent choice by the filmmakers to fix Tolkein's Deux Ex Machina of having some random dude named Bard show up and One Shot "the chiefest and greatest calamity of our age" and then be completely inconsequential.

- Thorin still experiences dragon sickness but it is toned down just a tad. In the book it's not some magical illness, things are just going to his head (primarily greed) but I felt that trying to cut out all of the film's version left things feeling magically resolved, so I left it. Plus I absolutely love all of Richard Armitage's acting during this bit. He portrays the sort of Gollum/Smeagol-esque dual personality disorder VERY well. Not everyone is, but I am especially partial to when Thorin spits out a Smaug line word-for-word to Bilbo and he just stares back in disbelief.

- Spence was the ONLY editor that I know of to include the Misty Mountains theme when Thorin and Company break out of Erebor and rally the dwarves. Wraith saw the genius in this, tweaked it a little, and adopted it within his own edit. I then took Wraith's version and included it in my edit (at his recommendation!)

- Originally I cut Adam's version of Thorin's journey up to Ravenhill on the goat/ram (less goofy and ridiculous from the original) but decided to put it back because it gives Balin a moment to shine, and because without it, they sort of just teleport up there.

- Azog kills Fili

- Bolg kills Kili (Adam Dens's version; removes Tauriel from the sequence entirely)

- Legolas runs out of arrows while assisting Thorin, pulls out Orcrist, and instead of jumping down onto a silly CGI monster and fighting with Bolg, he throws it into the Orc about to kill Thorin. All credit for this scene goes to Spence, I just tweaked it a little so that it would fit in my own version of the surrounding events

- Azog vs Thorin: M4 had a solid version of handling this that removed the entire bit of Azog breaking out of the ice, but it involved cutting out so much of the fight that we see Thorin hit Azog with some solid sword strokes and inflict some injuries, it cuts to Beorn/Eagles, and then all of a sudden Thorin is on his back about to die, the tide turned on him off-screen.

- To circumvent this I rearranged the sequence of events here so that the Eagles/Beorn show up before Thorin and Azog even start their fight, and then the fight plays out until Azog knocks Thorin off his feet with his rock flail, and capitalizes on it. Both of our versions have some slight continuity errors, but those errors pale when compared to Azog's physics-defying jump out of the ice.

- digital removal of Radagast (Dustin Lee/M4)

- Funeral has Gandalf's deleted scene speech reinserted (M4)

- Removed the scene of Gandalf being annoying with his pipe. He now comes over and sits by Bilbo, they sit silently for a moment, and then it moves on.

- Removed Gandalf knowing that Bilbo possesses a Ring (M4)
I kept the full BoFA credits because although there are a few characters (like Radagast) who don't show up in this edit, I don't intend to diminish the time and effort they put into making the original films by excising them from the credits!

- Added shoutouts to everyone who was a part of this project!
New Trailer


Smaug Demo


Thorin vs Azog Demo

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Overall rating
 
9.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.6(12)
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(Updated: November 29, 2021)
Overall rating
 
9.5
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10.0
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9.0
To the fanedit community,

I am the wife of the great Stromboli Bones himself! Prepare yourself for a long one and please read this knowing that (while biased) my review will be quite honest!

Stromboli and I got together after these movies came out. I am a very avid fan of the Lord of the Rings universe and I have always enjoyed the Hobbit movies (I went and saw them all on opening night of the original theater releases). I want you all to know I never minded any of these movies and having more time with the characters I so loved is a treasure to me. That being said I only watched The Battle of the Five Armies the once in theater. When I say I never thought that cutting these movies down I mean I NEVER thought that fanedits were a thing nor would I ever take an interest in finding a better version.
This Journey for me started when Stromboli decided the originals were not "good enough". There was AMAZING potential but the studio really stunted the greatness that could have been the Hobbit franchise. So he found this website. Where he combed through what felt like a BILLION fanedits of this film to find the version that felt perfect. I cannot even to begin to put into words how EXHAUSTING it is to see the same movie and the same scenes reworked over and over again in another person's vision of how it "should" go. I heard "Babe look at how DonKamillo put it into episodes" and "YOOOOOOOO check out how Maple Films made this song flow into this other song" IN A FREAKING SECOND TRANSITON THAT NO ONE IN THE WORLD WOULD NOTICE. We combed though every edit that this stupid website had to offer way past the point where I was tired of seeing these movies. Until, to the dismay of us both....he decided to make his own...

This man of mine obsessed over these edits, taking his favorite bits from his hardworking precesessors. Stromboli took bits and bobs and even full scenes yes from other people but he had to recreate, mesh and come up with his own ideas as the time went on. The barrel scene was probably the MOST painstaking. I cannot tell you HOW MANY TIMES I would be in the middle of putting away laundry or watching my own show when I would hear "Honey will you watch this it will only take a sec!!!" (when it rarely ever took one sec).
When I say he obsessed I mean it he OBSESSED over getting every minute detail right. On game nights, I kept hearing from his coworkers "if I have to listen to him tell me about this part of his edit or that part of his edit anymore I'm gonna be sick. I don't know how you do it".

I had a LOT of fun at first hearing how he was gonna take out Radagast and get rid of showing Bilbo leaving the dwarfs to give Gandalf the Arkenstone. But when it got to the eagle scene taking the troop from the flaming trees to the mountain where they first see Erebor...I almost lost it.
We had to put in a rule, he wasn't allowed to talk about the Hobbit in the car or in the shower, especially the shower (yes we are gross and in love that we shower together daily). Yet in one of these breaks of my rule was the time when I got to do my part and suggest a way to make that eagle scene work!! HUZZAH! When all was said and done, (because in the middle of this he proposed and asked me to marry him after 4 years together on Hobbit day 2020) my wedding gift to him was renting out a theater where all his friends and family could see the masterpiece I knew he had created. Here we asked ALL of his friends to come and watch and to do so with a critical eye. He wanted any and all feed back; he wanted to know if anything felt wrong or jarring.... and that is where my dear readers......someone told him "I loved ALMOST all of it".
The ONE scene that I helped piece together...the one that made me feel like I was part of the team.... was the one small piece that didn't quite fit :( Out of nowhere he found a new edit with the perfect to pieces to Stromboli's problems. This guy M4 had digitally removed the scars from Thorins face after the eagle rescue, AND fixed the Smaug exit from the building where he was all gold (another major pain point that I just couldn't watch ONE MORE editors rendition cause they all felt the SAME!!!!) Thank god for those small but lifesaving changes that someone took the time to do. You have No IDEA how nice it was to stop hearing about those parts of the movie.

With this long winded story coming to a close, the man of my dreams has added what I'm sure may be just another drop in the bucket of hobbit edits. And while I don't wanna watch the Hobbit originals or any of the edits for a very Very long time, this edit was combed over to be the most digestible, most entertaining, and to show the upmost respect for all the creators and people who worked on the originals and edits. This IS the best edit for me. It has everything I want. The episodic format is easily shared with friends who don't have enough time in their day for extended editions (that I normally prefer). The pacing is done well and maintains the integrity of the story, improves it actually! The music is fun and whimsical as a movie about Dwarfs on an epic quest to kill a dragon should be and the transitions in the audio were done in such a way that I could never find them if I tried (and believe me, I have heard every single one so, SO many times). I am so incredibly proud of this man you have no idea. This is a very enjoyable experience and in my very biased opinion: a 9/10 (minus a point for my pain and suffering, because oh boy I do not wanna watch these again ANYTIME soon).
--Mrs. Stromboli Bones

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Well let it be known, I will not be taking a deep dive like the other reviewers did because I feel that is not my place. I have seen fan-edits before, specifically for The Hobbit but I have never made one.
Let me be clear, if there was “1 edit to rule them all” I’m sure it is this one.
StromboliBones has talent not before seen with making the Lore of the Hobbit as perfect as it should have been on the big screen. The way he turned it into different parts like a series is unbelievable.
I hope that anyone else who is really into Edits or The Hobbit watches this because it is phenomenal. For not having a movie budget and just using pure determination, skill, and love of the Hobbit I am very impressed with what we have here.

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I've been around for a bit but I never felt the need to write reviews of any edits until this one. I'd like to start off by saying that this edit is by no means perfect, but that is the nature of this beautiful world we find ourselves in. The budgeting of an actual theatrical release is colossal compared to any fan editor's time and money that can be spent on any project, and there is an overall level of polish that is expected from theatrical releases that simply cannot exist in the fan edit realm.

That being said, it is absolutely clear that this editor poured his/her heart and soul into this project, and the results are something he/she should be proud of. I have come to expect sharp cuts and awkward transitions in Hobbit edits. That is not the case here. This is easily the closest level of polish I have seen to the theatrical releases. This must have been an enormous endeavor on behalf of the editor and his/her success in this regard cannot be understated. If you want to check out the cleanest edit on this forum in terms of mimicking the polish of a theatrical cut, look no further.

In addition to creating an unexpectedly smooth watching experience, Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Edits nails all of its thematic decisions. To name a few standouts, I love how Azog no longer falls into the ice and then breaks out in a way that is BEYOND ridiculous. That change allowed me to remain immersed in the story without that jarring interruption. Additionally, the flow of some of the earlier scenes leading up to the eagle rescue seem to progress in a way that emphasizes the bonds growing within the dwarf party without the complications of the bilbo/thorin bonding scene. Finally, and most importantly for my own preference, this edits keeps Smaugs death as true as possible to that in the book. This was the most irksome departure for me when watching the original releases and many edits fail to do this important death justice. These decisions and a few others made this edit stand out to me and really enriched my viewing experience.

Thanks for reading my first review and to the owner, keep up the good work!

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(Updated: November 24, 2021)
Overall rating
 
6.9
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8.0
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The Battle of 5 Edits takes many different ideas from the best edits of the Hobbit trilogy and combines them into a new storyline. I like the idea of this: building one edit to rule them all. Here's what I liked most about this edit: it did a good job of splitting up the story into a more easily digested series. The re-scoring effort took a lot of love and it shows. Also not seeing Gandalf for quite a while and then all of a sudden he steps forward to save Bilbo from Thorin throwing him from the ledge-- that was a superb dramatic moment!

As a personal preference, I enjoy little to no expository especially of the type where characters explain the storyline itself. Much of that was left intact in this edit. Overall, this is a good effort, but I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't distracted by the audio fidelity and many not quite seamless audio transitions-- and glitches.

The audio is in surround format so high praise for that alone, but it sounded rather compressed throughout all episodes. The lower audio bitrate of 384 kbps (for 6 channels) resulted in an overall slight muddiness of the voices, and during orchestral parts, a noticeable swirling sound of higher frequency compression artifacts. The rendered audio differs greatly from the original source in terms of fidelity.

The audio fidelity ranges from fair (6) to below average (4) depending on content, average rating of 5.

The video fidelity of the series ranges from good (8) to below average (4), depending on content, average rating of 7. So I gave the average of the audio and video which is a 6. The great disparity on video fidelity (ranging from good to below average) is due in part to editing the renders from other editors rather than ripping the original source and recreating what the other editors made. Also the final bitrate or encoder used for this edit appeared not to handle dark scenes well.

The visual editing I rated at good with a rating of 8, rather than excellent (9) or best in class/perfect (10) because of one flash frame and some jittery slo-mo, which are easily corrected (detailed below).

The audio editing I rated a 4 because of non-seamless audio transitions and various glitches. When watching an edit of a film, I don't want to know I'm watching an edit of a film, so audio anomalies really stand out to me. Audio is the most important part of fan editing really. More details given below.

Video artifacts below, listing just some examples to support the video quality rating given:
Ep 1 26:44 banding artifacts noticeable artifacts on chair
Ep 1 31m 29s major banding artifacts in background during song
Ep 1 31m 49s extreme banding artifacts in the night sky
Ep 2 8m 37s significant banding night sky
Ep 2 14m 39s background night sky blockiness and banding
Ep2 31:02 significant moving blocks on Gollum's arm
Ep 2 50m 45 much blockiness during bird rescue with night sky
Ep 3 5m transformation from bear to man - moderately blocky
Ep3 50m 9 extreme banding/blocking on Thorin's and Bilbo's clothing, night scene
Note Ep4 overall appeared to have mostly good perceptual quality
Ep 4 39m 28s extreme blocking/pixelation in out of focus foreground
Ep 5 20m 31s moderate blocking on close shot of Thorin
Ep 5 24m 48s blocking/banding in background when Thorin expresses a change of heart

And below are detailed comments for each episode:

Ep 1
Nice job on the opening titles The Hobbit Battle of the Five Edits for all the episodes.
4m 14s the tail end of some of Bilbo's cut dialogue is audible for a split second.
I like how we don't see Gandalf give Thorin the key, makes it seem later like they have a backstory together
30m 7s Thorin is still shaking the key but no longer talking
53m 42s audio abruptly goes out in right channels for a moment
55m 24s audio fade out at end stops abruptly

Ep 2
16m 33s disharmonious audio transition, notes here do not blend well because the pieces blended were in different keys.
48m 53s example of high frequency sound artifacts during music
50m 50s jarring audio transition. Sounds like maybe reverb was used to help blend it but the reverb effect abruptly stops???
52m 23s audio transition problem in quick shot from Thorin back to mountain. Sudden jump in EQ or content on a channel with no audio blending.
52m 51s as Bilbo peers over the rocks, very choppy slow-mo. I suggest optical blending mode.
Really nice ending on part 2 with the bear and the music!! Creates a sense of danger.

Ep 3
2m 5s audio skips for a split second just before Gandalf says, "there is a house."
Cool how the A Warm Welcome text disappears with the axe hit. I like things like that.
10m 9s audio sync is off for a few seconds, as Beorn speaks
10m 14s odd audio fade in happens mid-scene as Beorn continues to speak
13m 51s flash frame split second shot of Gandalf at a different angle
Audio fade out for end titles jarring/has an error. It starts to fade but shifts suddenly to port noises then immediately goes silent.

Ep 4
6m 34s music transition from Bilbo being surprised to Thorin ready to open the lock is a bit abrupt and could probably be smoothed out some
39m 16s as Thorin fortifies the mountain, ambient noise suddenly cuts out mid scene. Possibly center channel muted.
Overall Ep4 has the best video quality and fewest audio transition issues

Ep 5 (Note: much improved music choices for the end credits!)
18s audio glitches a little before the WB logo
6m 11s audio skips while the wind whistles around
38m 35s in the audio transition from battle to the flying creatures, can't tell if this is a clunky audio transition or just audio artifacts from low bitrate.
41m 26s un-smooth music change
1h 1m 7s disharmonious audio transition during end credits
End credits music ends long before credits end

Overall, I did appreciate this edit and will enjoy it more once it gets a little more refined. Thank you Stromboli Bones!

User Review

Format Watched?
Digital
Owner's reply November 28, 2021

Sorry you found so many technical issues! I'll definitely look into these ASAP and get them polished up!

I do have some less compressed files, I'll start including them as options for people who don't care that much about big downloads and have a more refined palette!

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(Updated: November 29, 2021)
Overall rating
 
8.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
When I saw The Hobbit movies in the theater, I couldn't help but think that there was a great version of the story inside Peter Jackson's movies, but just that it had been buried among a terminal amount of Flotsam and Jetsam. I've watched a few of the more well-regarded 3-in-1 edits (Maple Films, Bread & Butter, Dwarfed Edition), but there are points in each with awkward or jarring edits and some continuity errors. Battle of the Five Edits is far and away the best for it's attention to detail, in my opinion.

When Amazon announced their new Lord of the Rings prequel show, it got me thinking that the Hobbit would've been great as a limited-run miniseries, due to the episodic nature of the story. The trolls, the stone giants, Riddles in the Dark, Beorn's house, Mirkwood, etc. - these are all essentially stand-alone scenes that would work as episodes in a TV show and not suffer from needing to cut way too much cool stuff from the book in order to make it a single movie, or else making a single butt-numbing 4+ hour long movie.

It didn't occur to me that one could split Jackson's movies into episodes, but it is a stroke of genius that works incredibly well. I also love how excising most the cartoonish and videogamey action scenes that Jackson added to pad it out to a trilogy has the side effect of making the movies more appropriate for the same age range as the book, seeing as how most of the gratuitous violence was in the various Azog/Orc attack scenes that have been almost completely cut here. I have two kids, who are now about the age I was when I fell in love with the book - I wouldn't be comfortable showing them the theatrical or extended editions, with all their beheadings and squirting gore, but this version scales that back to an acceptable level, while splitting it into episodes makes it digestible for kids in the high single-digit age range, who would never have sat through a single 3.5+ hour movie in one sitting (let alone three).

In my dream version, the Ian Holm/Frodo prologue would've been excised, but I get why it was kept (in abbreviated form), since otherwise the movie starts very jarringly with no real introduction for Bilbo and Gandalf showing up in basically the first shot, as in a few of the other edits I've watched. Which speaks to the great job this edit does of threading that needle between following the book more closely and making the "best possible version of these movies" (as Stromboli Bones states as his thesis for this edit). One could expect that if this was the version of the prologue we got in the theatrical version, it would've felt a lot less egregious and felt less out-of-sync with the rest of the movies. The only other thing I would say is that the climactic battle could stand to be shorter still, with some of the more ridiculous CGI troll antics cut (peg leg trolls, battering ram trolls, etc).

The attention to detail that has been paid to not creating continuity errors or jarring cuts is far and away better than any of the others I have watched. A few nice nods to the further LoTR films have been kept (the shards of Narsil being glimpsed in Rivendell, etc.) while removing the egregious prequel-ish easter-eggs and heavy-handed foreshadowing that Jackson larded it up with.

The episodic structure allows keeping a lot of iconic stuff I love from the book (the songs, the eagles, Beorn, etc.) while not making everything feel either ploddingly overlong or way too rushed and confusing, like a lot of the 3-in-1 edits.

I love that Stromboli actually rented out a local theater to screen it for his friends and then incorporated feedback to fix any continuity errors or editing issues, which speaks to the amount of effort and attention to detail that went into making this the best edit available of these movies. This will be the canonical version for my family from now on!

User Review

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