August 10, 2018
Ever since it was announced that Peter Jackson is directing the Hobbit, this edit is what I was expecting to see in theaters.
I was always curious as to what was the original plan exactly before they changed it to three films.
I have deep praise for the final product from Peter Jackson. It's not easy to make a good movie. There was obviously a lot of pressure, restrictions, vision conflicts, etc. Still the movies came out were good with some bad stuff in it.
I was happy to find out from the appendix video that Adam's mind set here was not one of hate for the original movies, but respect for them and deep love for the Lord of the Rings movies and Tolkien lore as a whole.
Like Adam in the above appendix video saying he found it harder and harder to watch the Hobbit Trilogy, I felt the same way. Resulting in me looking for an alternative version and even attempting an edit of my own. This edit however filled that void of curiosity in me as to what the Hobbit films could (and dare I say should) have been.
Two movies. Each feels like a complete story with its own narrative, pacing and style.
The quality is top notch. The color grading brings it closer to the LOTR movies making this feel more related to that brilliant trilogy, even though I don't mind the more brighter and warmer colors of the Hobbit films.
The edits are masterfully executed and are seamless through and through.
And the best thing is the restructure of scenes and the reworked subtitles for the Black speech to achieve this whole new narrative.
Sauron commands Azog to march upon the mountain to form alliance with the dragon, immediately followed by Orc army leaving Dol Guldur sent shivers through my entire body. Brilliant.
The entire battle of the five armies is masterfully re-edited.
Few nitpicks (none of which is serious enough to reduce points for the edit)
- The first Radagast scene is weird. It feels like it comes from the Narnia films and doesn't fit here. It could have easily been cut and we could have Radagast introduced later. However, I respect Adam's decision to leave it in.
- Same goes for the first scene between the Master of Laketown and Alfrid. In "The Desolation of Smaug" Alfrid and the master are introduced in the middle of the movie and it was bizarre that we should suddenly start being invested in the politics of this new location. In this edit, on the other hand, since we go to Laketown at the very beginning of the second film, it felt more natural to learn more thoroughly about it.
Still, that scene could have been trimmed.
- The transition between AUJ and DOS is weird. I do believe it is the best one possible (all things considering). But, it's weird. It took me a while get used to it. I didn't mind that we lose the eagles scenes. These scenes are beautiful so it's a bit of downer, on one hand. On the other hand, it was refreshing not to have eagles deus ex machina for a change. Also, we do get to see the eagles in the next film. It's not like they completely gone.
- I don't think we need the added "I'm sorry I doubted you" from Thorin as Bilbo helps them escape the elves.
- The was one edit that felt a bit rushed. Right after the Dwarves make their barrels escape. We cut quickly from Legolas on the edge of the river to Thraduil with Legolas and the captured Orc in the Woodland realm. I think you could have shown the part of how they capture the Orc. Or, an idea I just had right now - you could have followed the Dwarves up to the point they are meeting with Bard and then cut to the captured Orc scene where he talks about the flames of war and the looming threat, immediately followed by the final sequence as Gandalf enters Dol Guldur and gets a definitive proof that Sauron has indeed came back.
Bottom line: It is a great edit. Well done Adam Dens. I hope to see your name in the credits of a big motion picture sometime soon.