Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Edits, The

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This is gold. This should be how you watch the hobbit stuff. I had a lot of fun, and you too will, fellow seeker. 'nuff said.

Cheers!

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(Updated: September 16, 2022)
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9.9
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10.0
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9.0
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This edit is an absolute triumph. If the case were ever to be made that The Hobbit would be better told as a multi-part TV Series than three overstuffed movies then this is the proof that it could, and in fact, here it's already been done.

Gone are the overly cheesy comedy moments, gone is the forced and ridiculous romance movie, gone are all the heavy handed references to the LotR movies. Yet, even with hours of footage removed this feels like it's straddling the line between honouring Peter Jackson's original style and honouring the silliness and musicality that really was part of the Hobbit book.

Editing-wise this is nigh on perfect and Stromboli Bones has seamlessly stitched many sequences together with nary a tell of their previous editing. Use of swelling musical themes and dialogue cut from other scenes and overlaid on others is incredibly clever and used sparingly to ensure no narrative beat is missed. Can you sometimes tell a scene has been edited? Yes, perhaps. In a few places there are signs that a conversation was cut short but the seamless nature of the transition onto the next scene carries it. An editor with the original footage would have used an alternate take with different delivery to wrap up a scene earlier but (with what he has to work with) the editing is amazing. He's ostensibly done the work the editing team should have originally done, cutting superfluous dialogue and needless comedy larks to keep the narrative moving on this epic journey.

A bonus feature of the split into 5 parts is that you can now watch this bit by bit, as though you're watching a TV Show each night. There are clear moments to take a bathroom break or grab a drink. And even if you do choose to binge every chapter at once, it's only 5 hours and not the bloated 9+ hours of the original edit. Fantastic work. This is the version I'll always watch in future.

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(Updated: September 16, 2022)
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9.1
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10.0
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10.0
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8.0
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9.0
Very fine handling of the CGI cringe-fest of the theatrical version of the Middle Earth opus The Hobbit. Stromboli's is a noteworthy addition to the efforts among the educated fan-base to turn a turgid slab of marble into a beautiful statue.

Most omissions are timely and well considered although I have a minor issue with the sudden appearance of Orcs in the final battle, a direct result of the expunging of the Azog subplot from the original film. There is a common shared view between fan editors of the Hobbit trilogy that Azog is a foreign, Peter Jackson-imported element in the saga which is of course true if one wishes to stick to the novel but in the context of the films Azog served as a primary antagonist whose presence haunted the company climaxing into the Orc attack. Therefore the final confrontation between Thorin and Azog comes naturally and not somewhat abruptly as in this and other fan edits. Besides, Azog is shot in a way that indicates a pretty important big shot (not a replaceable Orc commander like Gothmog in The Return of the King). Probably no editing can change that.

Nevertheless, this edit made me appreciate the film infinitely more. The Hobbit is essentially a road story, much like The Fellowship of the Ring (in my view the best of the LotR trilogy) and this cut certainly comes close to the task of elevating the commercialized Hobbit trilogy to the quality ranks of the latter film. The episodic format the editor follows was quite clever and fitting to the structure of the story and it helped neutralize some editing issues like the transition from film 1 to film 2 of the trilogy. This fan edit is undoubtedly a work of great care and love. I feel, however, that the ultimate The Hobbit fan edit, is yet to be found.

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This felt like Tolkein's work in a way that the original movies just...didn't. It artfully removes a huge amount of distractions to leave an immersive experience of the Hobbit as a film. The result, for me, was a wonderfully emotional connection to the material.

As anyone who's seen the released movies knows, commercial fillers were added to pad them out to a 3-movie run, to artificially engineer "end of movie" big moments, and weirdly to try to bolster the character's motivations with new caricature enemies. Almost every vestige of this has been cleverly pared away, with the only trace remaining (a smidgeon of Legolas) needed to close the loop on a needed plotline. The dwarves are no longer trivialised. No weird love sub-plot for Kili. The unneccessary Radagast and Saruman are no more.

The simplicitity and purity of the adventure in the book was on the screen - and I loved it.

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Overall rating
 
9.8
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
I was very skeptical going into this as I am not fond of The Hobbit movies. Consider me very impressed with this edit. With so much fat trimmed off, each episode feels like it tells its own little story while still keeping in focus the big picture. As an adult having seen the original movies, I feel it does tarnish some of the experience since I know what was originally there, so it's easy to see the seems at times. With that said, I consider the source material and what was had to work from and the seems are very small. If I saw this version as a kid, this would be like my equivalent of watching "The Neverending Story". It would be with me for a long time and make me all the more excited to see a sequel like LOTR. While this is the only fanedit I've seen thus far of The Hobbit, I can definitely say it's worth adding to your collection.

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