This edit completely changed my attitude towards The Hobbit movies. As a huge LOTR fan, I was really excited to see them, but like many other people I was... disappointed is too strong a word, because they're decent movies, but they failed to scratch an itch; an itch that the LOTR trilogy managed to scratch perfectly. I was dumbfounded that at the end of The Hobbit trilogy certain characters died and I felt NOTHING. Because I didn't care. Because the focus was off.
The main reason why I love Adam's edit is because it scratched that itch! Through clever rearranging of scenes, bringing the focus back to character development and certain character dynamics and cutting redundant scenes, Adam achieved something that the originals failed to do: He made me care about the characters.
I love how Adam's lighting and colour adaptations make the edit feel like the LOTR trilogy. It really feels like they're part of a 5 part saga now, and that's a huge accomplishment!
After watching the edit I immediately wanted to watch The Fellowship of the Ring! Because it feels like they connect perfectly.
The new subtitles for the Black Speech sequences are genius. They make total sense and tie the events of the movie together, like right before Dol Guldur spews out Orcs. It just made total sense! Azog barking out tactical maneuvers now feel more genuine too.
I enjoyed this edit to the max, and would recommend anyone who wants to feel that familiar LOTR vibe again to watch it. With friends. In LOTR cosplay.
I have seen a great deal of Hobbit fan edits over the past 2-3 years...so many that it has been hard to keep track of them all! Some have been excellent (Spence's Edit), some have been astoundingly poor (The Tolkien Edit which got a lot of press for being the first Hobbit edit, yet was released using a bootlegged DVD copy of Battle of Five Armies). This two-part edit falls somewhere in the middle for me and I will explain why.
First off, the title of this edit (The Original Two-Film Structure) is a bit misleading. Peter Jackson and his team have said that when the Hobbit was still two films, they intended to end the first film with the company meeting Bard at the river. This edit splits the story at a completely different point.
The audio/visual quality is truly excellent. Just as clean and crisp as the actual Bluray releases. I loved the custom Bluray menus as well; very beautifully done. There are hardly any visual edit issues save for a noticeable color correction issue that happens during the transition from An Unexpected Journey to the Desolation of Smaug. The edit intends to merge two scenes together that are lit and colored completely differently. Some simple correction to the latter's footage would have solved this. The audio editing is mostly solid aside from a few fades and transitions.
Most Hobbit edits floating around the Internet (and on this site) have landed somewhere between 3 and 4 hours long. This (to me at least) indicates that there is a minimum baseline of garbage to be removed from the Hobbit trilogy by faneditors. I've even seen a daring cut that was only two hours long! However out of all the edits currently listed on IFDB, this edit is by far the longest at over 6.5 hours. It is an interesting choice by the editor to keep so much content in the edit, but unfortunately it is also what detracts from its enjoyment and overall quality. These films were lambasted for their narrative excess for a reason, and I feel this edit unsuccessfully splits the difference between the original films and the much leaner and cleaner versions out there.
Several editing decisions jumped out at me during the viewing of this edit. Why does Frodo show up at all here? He is completely cut save for one awkward shot of him walking in Bag End. No explanation is given. Why remove Blunt the Knives yet include the dwarves' song in Rivendell (which wasn't even in the theatrical release)? I've seen some edits that include Radagast, but do we really need the cross-eyed pothead humor? Why are Alfrid and Legolas still so visible, and at the expense of actual scenes from the book like the eagle rescue? Why are the were-worms still here, with even less foreshadowing than the original films? Other faneditors have easily removed these things without ruining the narrative flow of their edits.
I admire the reworking of nearly all the Orcish/Black Speech subtitles, even if they do venture into hokey fan-fiction on occasion. I really liked how the first part of the edit ends with the Sauron reveal cliffhanger, and picks back up on Part Two with the Bree flashback leading into Laketown. Some inspired bits of editing and re-working of scenes are evident here, but ultimately it is just not enough. There is still too much bloat and excess, which becomes more evident as the edit gets into the Battle of Five Armies. While still trimmed from its original length, the battle carries on for far too long.
Even though the editor claims to want this edit to feel closer in tone to the LOTR trilogy, we are still treated to plenty of ridiculous CGI buffoonery (Legolas tap-dancing on the dwarves, flying on a bat, generally outrageous and impossible stunts, silly troll antics, etc). Moments like this are what made The Hobbit films compare poorly to the more grounded LOTR trilogy, and other editors have worked around many of these issues with success. Despite its high technical quality, "The Original Two-Film Structure" doesn't remove enough from the original films to make it a true standout amongst the ever-growing pantheon of Hobbit fan edits.
Here it is. The one you want. With total reverence and respect to L8wrtr and his beautiful edit of the Hobbit, this is the one that I've been waiting these long years for. The secret to this version's success? It takes a fresh approach, an outsider's perspective, as it were. This edit isn't truncated by any "obligatory" edits, but nevertheless manages to jettison the stuff we want. However, there is some stuff boldly left in for us to contemplate. I mean, when was the last edit you saw where the Stone Giants was not "obliged" to be jettisoned?
I've seen so many edits of the Hobbit, even clumsily trying my own hand at it, but this is the gift you never knew you wanted when it came to the films. By simply setting a goal as envisioning the Hobbit as 2 films, as per the original intention, Dens allows for material otherwise destined for omission to exist on its own terms, on its own two feet. This allows, finally, for the light of scrutiny to be thus shed on guys like Alfred, Radagast, etc., for better or worse. Yes, the most offensive elements of Peter Jackson's immature tendencies are, thankfully, gone, but it's interesting to see how we can work out the rest of what's in without any sense that "hey! this should be gone because....it always is in fanedits!"
The transition from the Troll horde cave, for instance, is always followed by the mountain and then the discovery of Rivendell. In this case Radagast makes the appearance. It's bold, because as far as I know it's never been tried that way.
All that eagles madness at the end of the original first film has been beautifully jettisoned and the film fuses itself to the Baeorn stuff without even the slightest concept that this has been "edited". It just feels totally, completely natural and right. And it works. Thorin's gushing over Bilbo at the end of the first movie never felt real to me, but as an attempt to "force" that friendship into a place where it doesn't belong.
Kili and Tauriel = gone, of course, but Kili's wound remains. Some of the action is included where others may cut it out - such as the barrel ride. Again, we don't get Bomber bombing around like an idiot, but we get what ***feels*** like a healthy, even consequentially important, inclusion of action. This is, again, the key ingredient that separates so many fanedits that fall short of their goal. Too many fanedits go for streamlining a film to such a degree that the elements left in place zip by at a pace that feels as if there are essential elements missing. Professional filmmakers and editors may make a bad film, but usually these "bad" films have all the elements in place to keep the story at a level pace. Many well-intentioned faneditors are unaware of such storytelling essentials, e.g. inclusion of "unnecessary" conversations or action, or scenes where "nothing happens", etc. Those "padded" or "bulky" or "superfluous" scenes are nevertheless working their own magic to establish character development. Have you seen the new Twin Peaks series? Watch how David Lynch includes bizarre scenes and characters like Wally Brando. The scene isn't for Wally, it's for our Sheriff. Whether we are aware of it or not, the scene is designed to get us in sync with the Sheriff's plight via the outside weirdo. We share the character's bemusement.
The same types of choices are made here. The end goal seems to be an almost-professional, patient feel for a 2-film story. If the Hobbit was, indeed, left at 2 hours, each segment 3+ hours like this one is, I can't imagine it being all that different. Really, there is simply little you can point at and argue for its superfluous inclusion....IF you understand the film's underlying goal. It's not to cater to an ADD-addled millenial audience - it's to find value in material that easily could have made up 2 3+ hour experiences.
And the killing of Fili and Kili, a moment I've seen faneditors fall over themselves trying to manage it without Tauriel - some more successful than others. Adam Dens handles this moment so gracefully it well looks like this was the original edit.If you never saw the original Hobbit you'd never be the wiser.
One more bit: the color correction. I absolutely love it. The final film especially suffered from a grandiosity in color selection that made, for one, Thorin and Azog's battle on the ice look like it was taking place on a wedding cake, or in a perfume commercial, or both. It was pretty almost to a point of saccharine sweetness, and we need something greyer, harder, rougher. To put it along the lines of LOTR works. It still looks "pretty-dainty", yes, but no longer with that doily-lace-sweetie edge that contrasts inappropriately with the bloodshed of the final battle.
There is so much I could mention in terms of the utter success of Adam Dens' edit, but I'll just leave it here on a final note: this is one of the best, most beautiful fanedits ever designed. It hold a place alongside Adywan's Star Wars edits, and that's not a position I'll give up lightly. What makes it real and true is Adam Dens' commitment, respect, and boldness with the original source material. Sometimes less is more, as they say, but sometimes more is more. Adam isn't in any hurry to filet the film and give us the diet coke version of the Hobbit. Nor is Adam, despite, again, the "outsider" perspective his edit seems to refreshingly bring to the community, ignorant of those head-slapping moments that, almost objectively, we can all agree need to go (the belch, Kili/Tauriel, Bomber in the barrel, dwarves in the toilet, etc.)
Fenedit of the month? Try the year, easily. Congratulations, Adam Dens. This edit will likely be my forever choice for this film, and I'll watch it regularly. I just can't imagine it being done any better. It's like the whole disappointment never happened, and this was the true return to Middle Earh we deserved to have.
Did you fall in love with Middle Earth as a kid, when your parents read Tolkien to you at bedtime? This edit will make you feel like that kid again!
Following Peter Jackson's outstanding Lord of the Rings, expectations were unbelievably high for the Hobbit prequel. Not surprising, the 3-movie version fell short. Painstakingly, Adam Dens has edited The Hobbit back to its book origin. Not to the letter, but to its spirit.
The outstanding achievement of this edit isn't about trimming it to 6 1/2 hours, though that helps. It isn't about cutting Blunt the Knives, though that helps too. It's creating a movie that feels like a book is being read to you. Storylines get more time to build up before we switch from one group of characters to another. They resolve before too many new ones start up, enabling us to keep up with the story. Battles are shorn of their worst CGI.
The two-part structure, consistent with the original movie intention, is not merely the three movies cut down the middle. Instead the story is restructured to create a satisfying beginning, middle, and end for each Part. To that end, the cliffhanger at the end of Part 1 is certainly inspired.
Some viewers will miss the Eagle escape. This and other sacrifices keep the overall narrative focused. On a practical note, the absence of subtitles makes dialog in several scenes harder to follow, so keep your remote handy.
Does this edit replace the original? Yes, wholeheartedly. Does this edit surpass the other fanedits of The Hobbit? For me it does.
I watched almost every single fan-edit of “The Hobbit” trilogy available out there. I consider the Maple Films Edit (MFE) performed by eldusto84 for very far the best cut. Technically speaking, the MFE is perfect and the running time clocks in 4h. Every single aspect from MFE is flawless and its strongest feature is indeed presenting “The Hobbit” in the closest way to the novel. So, for purists, MFE will be the edit to go without a doubt.
However, if you prefer a more cinematographic approach to the Tolkien’s saga be welcome to experience the most comprehensive cut to enrich “The Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) cinematographic universe. Indeed, Adam Dens claims about his work are undeniable. He accomplished two chapters which are a must before watching LOTR. The visual tone is corrected here and coupled with the one shown in the first trilogy. All the narrative clearly moves forward to be organically integrated into a five-entry saga and for me, this is the greatest achievement of this edit. A big plus in Adam’s edit compared to the MFE cut is the running time. You will enjoy two extra hours of Middle Earth in Adam’s cut and once again this is another first-class feature here. It is not about showing more footage for free but showing more footage for narrative purposes. I personally disliked the theatrical version of “The Hobbit”, I always saw it as a missing chance. Moreover, despite great performances from Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage I felt zero engagement with the story. After Adam’s edit viewing… I experienced the epic once again, I really cared about the different characters and I was moved in many parts of the story.
Endless gratitude for this gift, as Adywan’s work is a masterpiece in the Star Wars universe among fanedits, “Hobbit: The original two-film structure” deserves the same consideration into the ring franchise. Be welcome to experience the best fan edit of the year and ones of the best ever!