Absolutely stunning edit! Loved every second of it. I have to say, the very, very few instances where I realized there was an edit due to a very slight music change maybe would have not occured if this was the first time watching these movies (before knowing the theatrical cut or EE).
Love it and this will be the version I will now watch till forever :)
Just finished watching this 2 movie fan fix edit and I couldn't agree more with the all round praise this edit is receiving, it is simply a masterpiece of fan editing. The fact I actually feel emotions for the characters is a massive achievement in of itself. Furthermore when Bilbo is standing back in his empty home at the end, I actually feel just like him...sad that the adventure is over and there is this massive emptiness felt from the sudden absence of it and his friends that he shared and experienced it with, 3 of them which he will never see again.
It's simply night and day from the one and only previous time I watched The Hobbit movies when they were theatrically released, the fact I never watched them again and effectively forgot about them as I walked away from the cinema is a testament to Adam's edit in being able to so drastically flip that reaction for myself this time round. There were a few minor issues that I noted throughout but they pale into insignificance and are almost forgotten in light of the overall achievement. For the sake of feedback though I'll just very briefly list them below:
- Nearly all edits/cuts were seamless but it felt like there were some obvious ones that distracted slightly from the viewing experience due to the knowledge of watching a fan edit. From memory the 2 to 3 main obvious ones were around the first Radagast meet up with the Gandalf and company and arriving / departing Rivendell. They were just too sudden and you could feel the missing footage that had been removed between the scenes. That is with a very hazy memory of the theatricals though and when trying to look at the edits in a fresh light, the story still ends up making sense and the cuts simply feel a bit odd at their abruptness.
- This was probably my biggest gripe (which is minuscule next to the success the edit was for me) that did distract me again somewhat from the movie when I realised that we don't get any footage of Smaug smashing open the front entrance of the Erebor before flying off to Lake Town. I'm not sure as to the reason for this as the whole point of the map and the key with the secret entrance was to gain entrance to the mountain, but if Smaug simply "leaves" through an existing opening then why couldn't the company just enter that way as well? I'm trying to remember from the book which I haven't read in a great many years now, whether the Dwarves knew / assumed the dragon was guarding the front entrance? Otherwise this omission from the story of him smashing open the sealed entrance doesn't make a great deal of sense and it leaves us questioning this matter instead of keeping focus on the movie at the time.
Those matters aside, I would highly recommend this edit any day and it is now my definitive go to edit for The Hobbit. I fully support the proclamation made by doug23 and manu90 in their reviews of this edit sitting up there with Adywan's Revisited Star Wars edits. Congratulations also to Adam on a well deserved award of FEOTM!
Edit: Just watching the Cutting Room making of feature reminded me of something else - when Radagast goes to Dol Guldor and he looks down the hallway where the Necromancer / Sauron starts to manifest / show himself at the end of it and the camera zooms in, I think it could cut earlier once it reaches his face. It looks scary freaky as f##k right up till the edges of his mouth get dragged down and Sauron's shadowy face turns into a Scream mask caricature which turns it almost comic and instantly removes all the menace and mystery from the scene as he turns into a clown. Watch at 5:48 of the feature if unsure what I am talking about.
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.
This was a highly enjoyable and masterful edit. There were no jarring omissions that stood out and the issues I had with the original trilogy were successfully removed. I wished Adam Dens had access to all of the original Hobbit trilogy film shot so he could've done justice right from the beginning. Here's to you, Adam Dens!