J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (Maple Films Edit)

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (Maple Films Edit)

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Faneditor Name:
Tagline:
Experience the Hobbit Trilogy as a single film, recut to be more faithful to Tolkien's classic novel.
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2012 / 2013 / 2014
Original Running Time:
542
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
247
Time Cut:
295
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
I have cut over half of the cumulative running time of the films. What was once a bloated, 542-minute trilogy is now a more digestible 247-minute epic. In general, I’ve tried to keep the spirit of the book intact by removing unnecessary subplots, characters, ridiculous action scenes, and so on.
Intention:
Like many others, I was disappointed by Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. I wanted to see a version of The Hobbit that was closer to the spirit of Tolkien’s book. This is that film.
Other Sources:
- Howard Shore's Original Motion Picture Soundtracks
- Video Copilot Action Essentials (for additional flame/smoke effects)
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Special Thanks:
Eric Odmyr, Chad Mosby, Eric Olson, Bobby Fitzsimmons, Benjamin Marechal, Sandro Algra, Reijo Nyberg, PiNokKiO, Eric Odmyr, Simon Lydell, Nicolas Clavijo, Scarlett Buse, and others that contributed semi-anonymously!
Release Information
  • NTSC DVD-5
  • Blu-Ray (BD-50)
  • MP4/M4V/MOV
Special Features
- Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery, an hour-long side quest film that features the Dol Guldur/White Council subplot and how it ties into the dwarves' backstories.
- Official Trailer
- 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound AND Stereo Options
- Kili & Tauriel: a One-Minute Love Story
- Subtitles Available via my website
Editing Details:
Many of you probably saw or heard of “The Tolkien Edit” when it was released in early 2015. That was not my fan edit. It was hastily assembled and had very poor audio/visual quality, especially since the editor used a pirated DVD screener copy of Battle of Five Armies as his source. A guy named David Killstein released his own edit shortly after that, called “There and Back Again.” It had better editing, but the technical quality was still poor. Regardless, both of these edits grabbed a lot of attention because they were the first Hobbit fan edits out of the gate, and it showed people that it was possible to cut a 9-hour trilogy in half (or more) and still make sense.

So if you liked those edits, you will LOVE this version. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has been created using only the highest-quality media available- full HD Bluray and 5.1 surround sound. Working with 5.1 has given me far more options for audio editing than a simple stereo track. I’ve said it many times since I began working on this edit, but buried somewhere underneath the uneven, bloated Hobbit trilogy is a truly great film. For me at least, I have finally found that film. Hopefully you’ll think so too!

Basic Cutlist:

- A 542 minute trilogy cut to a single 247 minute film
- Well over 600 actual edits and trims made
- An Intermission splits the film in half, at the exact point where Peter Jackson originally intended to split the Hobbit when it was still two films. (For the curious, it's the scene where the company first encounters Bard)
- Overall, the film remains focused on Bilbo and the dwarves
- Unnecessary subplots, characters, and CGI silliness have been jettisoned. That means little to no Legolas, Tauriel, Alfrid, Radagast, and more
- Color corrected in several sequences to match LOTR’s visuals more
- Edited and mastered in 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
- Numerous digital alterations, including a new opening title, gold coating removed from Smaug, Radagast erased from an eagle flyover shot, etc.
- Orc subtitles altered to explain plot adjustments
- Several unused music cues by Howard Shore have been re-inserted in key scenes, including the famous Misty Mountains theme that was abandoned after AUJ.
- Various scenes from the Extended Editions have also been added where needed. Yes, Thorin’s funeral is in here.
Cuts and Additions:
EDITS FOR AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY:
- No Dale/Erebor prologue. This was cut because the dwarves’ backstory is told in a much better fashion when they are in Bag End.
- Bilbo’s opening lines remain, but Frodo is removed
- Some dwarf silliness is gone from the Bag End sequence (just a few shots)
- No Necromancer/Dol Guldur subplot. It distracts from the main quest and was poorly conceived and executed anyways. As it was in the book, it is only briefly hinted at now.
- No Radagast whatsoever
- Azanulbizar flashback is gone, but is featured in my side quest film "Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery."
- Azog. This is one of the biggest issues with the fanedit. Azog is a lousy CGI villain that looked immediately dated upon the film’s release. However, Jackson made him the primary antagonist across the three films and his role is unfortunately essential. Even so, I have cut his role down considerably in AUJ.
- Troll scene has been trimmed, with some silliness removed
- The Daylight orc chase is gone. I spliced the company checking out the troll cave with their entrance to Rivendell.
- No White Council/Galadriel/Saruman
- The Stone Giants, while they were in the book, were overdone and ridiculous in Jackson’s film. They have been cut.
- All scenes with Gollum are untouched except for his initial scene knocking the goblin out and dropping the ring in front of Bilbo. As it is now, Bilbo awakens alone and finds the ring without knowing anything about it...just like the book. The film makes it clear that he sees Gollum drop the ring and decides to steal it instead.
- Goblintown escape has been cut drastically, removing almost all of the physics-defying stunts and cartoonish CGI bits.
- The tree fight/eagle rescue sequence is edited to remove the Azog/Thorin showdown. It was obviously beefed up late in production in order to have a more “action-packed” climax for AUJ. Orcs show up and the party is rescued by eagles. This segues immediately into the beginning of DOS with the company arriving at Beorn's house.
- Other miscellaneous trims here and there

EDITS FOR DESOLATION OF SMAUG:
- No prologue at the Prancing Pony
- Once again, no Dol Guldur/Necromancer subplot
- Once again, no Radagast
- Legolas and Tauriel. Another unfortunate addition by Jackson that cannot be removed entirely. They make a brief appearance in Mirkwood when they arrest the dwarves, and are briefly in the orc skirmish during the barrel chase. Every other scene with them in DOS is gone.
- The barrel chase has been heavily cut. No more Bombur rolling all over orcs or Legolas tap dancing on the dwarves heads
- Laketown scenes have been cut or trimmed, especially regarding Alfrid
- Bilbo’s encounter with Smaug is pretty much untouched. This was one of the high points of the Hobbit films.
- Smaug playing hide and seek with the dwarves is gone, along with the dwarves lighting the furnaces and throwing flashbangs at Smaug’s head. Dumb.
- Smaug bursts out of Erebor right after telling Bilbo he can watch the people of Laketown die. His skin has been digitally color corrected to remove the gold coating in the original version.
- Other cuts here and there

EDITS FOR BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES:
- Smaug’s attack on Laketown is now dwarf and Tauriel-free.
- Alfrid has been completely removed from the film aside from the opening scene and the shores of Laketown.
- Since the four dwarves from Laketown were never actually there, I removed their reunion scene with the company.
- Some of Thorin’s “dragon sickness” scenes have been cut or trimmed. There were too many of these scenes in the original version and they dragged the film too much.
- The giant were-worms are gone. Azog’s army simply marches out of the mountainside.
- The actual Battle of Five Armies has been drastically cut. I boiled it down to its most essential element- Dain’s army is quickly overrun and Thorin must decide whether to help or not. Everything else that happens is not crucial to the plot. Therefore, most of the fighting in Dale has been cut along with some of the more ridiculous bits of the battle. Everything has been streamlined and is much easier to follow now. It also puts more focus on Dain, which is nice.
- Legolas and Tauriel appear VERY briefly once the battle begins. Legolas warns Gandalf of the approaching army from the north and is never heard from again.
- Ravenhill has been trimmed considerably as well. Fili and Kili's deaths occur at the same time, to make it appear that they were both captured and killed in front of Thorin and Bilbo.
- Unfortunately there is no onscreen death for Bolg since PJ gave him and Legolas the most unrealistic and ridiculous fight scene ever. So let’s just assume Beorn ate him or something.
- Thorin’s fight with Azog is trimmed a bit but is mostly the same.
- The film is basically untouched after Bilbo begins his journey home. I added Howard Shore's sublime "Dreaming of Bag End" over the scene where Bilbo and Gandalf part ways.
- The End!
Cover art by eldusto84 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Overall rating 
 
9.4
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10.0
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8.0
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8.0
Narrative 
 
9.0
Enjoyment 
 
10.0

This is one of two fan edits I watched of The Hobbit trilogy (the other being The Bilbo Edition). I watched the two fan edits after making my own, private, fan edit for my friends and family to see, and wanted to see if any other people had the same ideas as I did.

Like most Tolkien fans, I found the trilogy disappointing. It had so much potential, but in the end, it was not the movie that I waited years and years to see. Such disappointment was what prompted me to seek out fan edits of the movies.

Now, personally, I can't decide whether I prefer this version or The Bilbo Edition. I think both are spectacular fan edits from people who both had similar ideas on how to improve the movies. Comparing the two, I think that this version probably has the better music and transistion editing, but I still can't decide which is better.

That said, I think Dustin Lee did a marvelous job editing out all the distracting subplots and action foolishness.

*Improvements*

- The first thing you'll notice about this edit is the color correction. While I didn't mind the colors from the original movies, I have to say that the color correction really makes the movie look a lot better. If I'm not mistaken, this is the only fan edit that does this.

- The flashback to Erebor is completely gone. This was one of those times with the original movie where I was waiting for the story to start, and just thinking, "Wouldn't it be better to just to introduce Erebor during the Unexpected Party? That way, we would be confused along with Bilbo." My observations turned out to be spot on, as the filmmakers felt the need to spend a good half-hour at Bilbo's house, telling us everything we already knew. Now that the flashback is cut out, the story flows a lot better.

- Gandalf is onscreen in three minutes. No more of this "Oh look! It's Frodo! Hi Frodo! I wasn't expecting to see you here!" the filmmakers don't need to add extra characters to familierizes viewers with LOTR, as they already have Gandalf and Elrond.

- Dol Guldur subplot is completely gone. It's still clear that Sauron is behind some of the events that happen in the story, but it's put more in the background, in favor of telling Bilbo's story. You know, "The Hobbit?" Not "The Wizard." Not "The Dwarves." "The Hobbit."

- Likewise, Tauriel and Legolas are now minor characters. I'm fine with Legolas being in the movie (as he likely would have been at Mirkwood at the time), and I'm not opposed to showing a few female characters, but the way these characters were used in the original movies just distracted from the story, and ended up going nowhere. Now, Legolas and Tauriel just appear briefly in Mirkwood, briefly at the Battle of Five Armies, and there's no crazy Legolas stunts, no Orc invasion in Lake Town, and absolutely no love triangle.

- Azog isn't introduced until the Goblin King mentions him. This way, we don't get introduced to the threat that the Orcs pose until a much later point than the movies originally did. I felt with the original movies that the filmmakers were upping the stakes much too early in the films. I'm fine with the expanded role of the Orcs, but they just came into the movies too early... Movies need to start out slow, and then build up, and Dustin Lee did a good job at making it flow that way.

- Dustin Lee does some digital alteration to make all thirteen dwarves appear at the Lonely Mountain during the long-shots, and also changes the Orc subtitles at one point to fix what would otherwise have been continuity errors.

Now for the things that I didn't like.

*Things That Can't Be Fixed*

- Despite the filmmakers' efforts to make Gandalf a more likable character, they inexplicably cut out Bilbo inviting Gandalf to tea, making it look like Gandalf invited himself, and broke into Bilbo's house. This is one of the things that bothered me about the movie, and unfortunately, no amount of fan editing is going to fix it.

- Likewise, some of the dwarves don't really look like dwarves, and Thorin is too young.

- Azog. I'm one of the people who wanted to see Bolg instead of Azog. It would have been more interesting to see a subplot about an Orc that wants revenge on Thorin for killing his father during the Battle of Moria, than the subplot we actually got about an Orc that just happens to hate Thorin and his family for no apparent reason. Once again, no amount of editing is going to fix this problem.

- Gandalf inexplicably disappears when the dwarves head toward the Misty Mountains. In the original movies, there was an explanation for this, but since the Dol Guldur subplot was cut, they just leave without him for no apparent reason. I guess one could assume from Balin's words that they were going to "wait in the mountains until Gandalf joined us. That was the plan," that Gandalf had business to attend to, and sent the dwarves on ahead (similar to at Mirkwood later). But it just feels a bit odd.

- So many things I wanted to see for action. When I was a kid, I imagined all the torches in the goblin caves slowly going out, the room getting darker and darker, and then the fire exploding, killing a bunch of goblins. Then, Glamdring coming out of the shadows, visible only by its glow, and killing the Goblin King. Then, the sword is raised, and we see Gandalf's face made visible by the glow of the sword. That would have been so cool. Did we get that in the movie? No. Is it possible to put it in the movie? No.

- Bilbo finding Smaug's weak spot is still a pretty bad. In the book, Bilbo simply asks to see Smaug's chest, secretly planning to see if there's a weak spot, despite the fact that there's no reason for him to believe so. Oh wow? Look! He DID have a weak spot! How coincidental is that? The filmmakers must have realized this, and decided to put in a legend that Smaug had a weak spot. I was expecting Bilbo to actually ask to see Smaug's chest specifically to see if the legend was true, as that would have made so much sense. More sense than the book, in fact. And then he would tell the thrush to tell Bard about the weak spot. But, nope. Instead, Bilbo sees the weak spot by chance, as does Bard. A wasted opportunity, in my opinion. It can't be fixed. Just consider it an adaptational change that did absolutely nothing for the story.

-Last, but not least, Gandalf claims that elvish swords glow when Orcs are near, but the filmmakers mess up by having only Sting glow.

Now for stuff that the editor could have done.

*Editing Oddities*

- Despite the inclusion of Azog, there's no backstory about it at all. We're just left to assume that they're enemies for no reason whatsoever. Granted, I don't want the flashback to the Battle of Moria to be as early as it was in the movies, but maybe it could have been moved to before the dwarves meet Beorn or something.

- Just a matter of taste here, but I would have rather saved everything about the Ring being connected to Sauron for the LOTR movies. The ring should not be affecting Bilbo this much this early on, and it's kind of distracting from the story. It also makes Gandalf and Bilbo's speech at the end habe a completely different meaning than it originally did in the book. In the book, Gandalf was saying that Bilbo didn't accomplish his quest because of luck, but because it was his destiny. In the movie, he's saying that Bilbo didn't accomplish his quest because of luck, but because he had a magic ring. It would have been nice to see the footage re-looped to match the conversation from the book.

- I don't know why Dustin Lee kept the dwarves encountering Smaug. It adds nothing to the story but to pad it out. I'm pretty sure that had the filmmakers done just two films like they originally planned, Smaug would simply have left his cave as soon as he was done talking to Bilbo.

- Thorin inexplicably has Orcrist back for the final battle. I wouldn't have minded a shortened Legolas vs. Bolg fight just to solve this plot hole (I don't mind him riding a bat, and the fight could have ended with the bridge collapsing over Bolg, leaving the audience to assume he was crushed to death, and this would have cut out those crazy broken stair-climbing stunts).

- Despite Dustin's attempt to digitally alter the shot, it's still clear that Smaug is covered with some sort of liquid when he leaves the mountain.

- And last but not least, I have to side with the guy who edited The Bilbo Editon, and say that there's very little likelihood that Smaug would know the name "Okenshield," as Thorin got that name AFTER Smaug took over the kingdom. It's not impossible that Smaug had messengers of some sort, but I consider it quite a stretch that he would have found out anything about the dwarves he stole the kingdom from.

*Final Thoughts*

It's considered one of the best fan edits of the Hobbit trilogy, and, despite the fact that I've only seen one other, I have to agree. It's very well done, and has much better pacing and storytelling than the original movies did. Do I recommend this edit? Yes! Watch it with your family, and enjoy it!

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Overall rating 
 
9.4
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8.0
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10.0

Really enjoyed it, so much better than the originals. Finally we have a Hobbit movie adaptation which can be considered a true successor to the LOTR films

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Overall rating 
 
9.9
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0

Watching this edit made me realise just how much of the theatrical Hobbit movies was bloated and unneccessary to the main story. The movies are called The Hobbit - instead we got The Dwarves v Legolas v Gandalf v Azog starring A Hobbit. Bilbo nearly vanished in his own movie under everything else. When he returned to Hobbingen in the end, and the movie so obviously wanted the viewer to feel the "man, have we had an adventure with this guy, right?"-moment, I felt nothing for the little man who indeed traveled a long and bumpy road. Too much else had happened.
That is not to say I hated the movies in general; I enjoyed Part I and II in the cinema for the most part (returning to middle-earth in super-3D was just great), especially Part I, Smough was great and the actors all did a good job, but I was severely disappointed by Part III, which was just such an obvious "Hey-The-Kids-Liked-LotR-Battles-right"-cashgrab.

Anyway, enough of me: I loved this edit of The Hobbit. By cutting practically everything what wasn't in the book, now you have the 4,5h movie The Hobbit - with his hero front and center and never too far from the action. Yet it preserves the central arc of its secondary characters, the dwarves and their quest to reclaim their stolen home, who also profit from not drowning in side-quest and god-awful love stories (seriously, tell me one good reason this was in the movies except to stretch the run-time to fill three movies). Gone are: Legolas (except for a nice little cameo), Tauriel, Gandalfs side-quest (which I thought was cool in itself, but again just distracted from the main arc and the emotional core of the story), Azog-related flashbacks (turns out you don't need an hour of backstory to give an Orc a motivation to hunt good guys. That's just what they do. And without telling the viewer his history in detail, he even gets a bit more mystique and seems more threatening than before) and the more ridiculous and/or stupid parts of action and humor. The editing was seemless all the way, and yes, me and my girlfriend too noticed the gold falling off of Smough when he exits the mountain, but as another reviewer already said, this is a minor thing which will only register with viewers already familiar with the theatrical cut.

All of this combined makes for an adult movie, which still has a lighter tone to it that LotR, in which all the care and work that was obviously put in it by director, actors, costume designers etc. etc. can really shine. I could talk a lot more about this, but other reviewers have already said it all in a more eloquent way than me, so let me just finish with the statement that this is now the definitive version of The Hobbit for me, and I'm already in the process of spreading the word to friends and family, who unanimously loved it, too.

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Overall rating 
 
7.5
Audio/Video Quality 
 
9.0
Visual Editing 
 
8.0
Audio Editing 
 
9.0
Narrative 
 
7.0
Enjoyment 
 
7.0

A clean cut, no-nonsense edit that stays focused on Bilbo's adventure. So many good edits, largely consistent with what others have done but also some new changes. I loved the extensive Rivendell material left in - it's an important part of the journey for Bilbo, the imagery is fantastic, and there are excellent scenes with Elrond. I don't mind staying there a while! The Goblin Town and Gollum scenes were also spot on, I was really rolling with the edit here. The focus on the wargs during the frying pan sequence was good, but that white orc is just awful. The goal should be to make him non-existent as possible until the final battle.

I would have enjoyed hanging with Beorn a little longer. It definitely felt choppy and odd, like a cliff notes of what the full scenes are. Some really good editing between the Wood Elves and Lake Town, again mostly consistent with what other editors have done. But small things I have not seen, like cutting Bard bringing them the crappy weapons first - instead he says he has it worked out and then they are sneaking into the armory (easily assumed Bard told them where it is and how they might get in). Unfortunately too much Alfrid JarJar Binks.

Then it happened, after they reached Erebor and found the door things went awry. Why the dwarf vs dragon scenes??? I couldn't believe that much of the silly chase was left in, which serves only to make Smaug look much less the greatest of calamities, more like the greatest of comedies. Also there were odd clips like the forges starting for no apparent reason. Then the finale was the dragon coming out of Erebor mysteriously completely covered in gold. I have to say the dragon part of the edit is by far the weakest, and highly recommend it be reworked.

In summary, a really nice effort at a 3 in 1 of the Hobbit. It works in so many ways but still comes up short of the ideal edit of this franchise in my opinion. I would recommend it because of how well the second half of the movie works and flows to the end. It is also a great example of how all the external storylines can be removed and not really missed.

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(Updated: October 02, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
7.1
Audio/Video Quality 
 
8.0
Visual Editing 
 
7.0
Audio Editing 
 
9.0
Narrative 
 
6.0
Enjoyment 
 
7.0

Audio/Video Quality: 8
The 1920x800 MP4 looks surprisingly good given the small filesize and over 4-hour length. The re-grading for the most part looks quite good, not perfect but very much an improvement. However, the de-saturation is taken a little too far overall for my tastes and in a few rare spots verges on monochrome. There is at least one spot where the grade has gone wrong. During the spider sequence a scene goes very grey, then green, then very grey again. I assume the grey was the intended look and a few shots just got forgotten about?

Visual Editing: 7
The technical visual editing was seamless for the majority of the edits (which are numerous) but there are a few spots that let the edit down. The best part is the barrel-ride. I've seen a lot of Hobbit edits and even played around with editing that scene myself and this is by far the best I've seen it handled. Another strong moment was the inspired inter-cutting of Fili and Kili's deaths, although it was right somehow in a few shots. While I'm generally of the opinion that I like these films long, the big removals of many added sub-plots was a really welcome change of pace.

The worst part is probably the removal of the were-worms. After all the other smooth edits in the preceding 3.5-hours, relatively speaking, this felt like a car crash. I'm sure it could have been handled better. The editing of the frying-pan scene was technically well handled but felt all wrong and a bit laughable when the terrifying and might "Pale Orc" is defeated by pine cones. It worked in the book (Without Azog), but this is not the book. Legolas' arrival felt quite abrupt, due to what I suspect was an over keenness to trim his non-canonical scenes down. As others have noted, the gold scene is removed but the gold covered Dragon is not. Some attempt should a have been made to fix this. A fanedit shouldn't rely on the audience to think "Ohhhh it's okay, it's only a fanedit. I'll pretend I didn't see that".

I was slightly disappointed with the "intermission" because if I wanted one unbroken 4-hour movie, it didn't give me that and if I wanted to experience the originally intended two-film structure, it didn't do that either. So close though. Hopefully someone will pull the latter off one day.

Audio Editing: 9
This was mostly seamless and impressive with only a few rare awkward music changes across the whole 4-hours.

Narrative: 6
First off, I was left unsure what the editing strategy was with this fanedit. At first you think, well this a "book cut" because it still includes truly dreadful (but canonical) early scenes like the plates song but then it later removes great material from the book like most of Beorn's scenes. Another example is with the controversial Alfrid character. He's trimmed down heavily but then reappears for no good reason (He was easily removable) right after we the audience could reasonably have assumed he was dead... then he is never seen again?

I personally think it's of paramount importance with a fanedit, that it works like a real movie, in it's own right. Sadly this edit doesn't do that in a lot of places. Characters just walk in to shot with no introduction and start saying things like everyone knows who they are. Events happen without explanation. Characters disappear for no reason. Vital exposition is missing. Legolas turns up at the battle but takes no part in it. Mighty Eleven blades that certain characters do not possess anymore... magically appear in their hands again at the end of the movie. The ultimate compliment to pay a "Fanfix" is "This REPLACES the original movie for me" but you cannot say this here, as you NEED to see the original to understand what is going on far too often.

It's a shame because the general pattern of removals is very good. With just a little more care taken over a few lines and character points, these problems could have been avoided. Or more probably, just a little less should have been removed, so coherence was maintained. Maybe the goal of hitting the 4-hour mark, meant things were removed that should have been left in for a still trim, but smooth 4.5/5-hour version?

Also just because a slim and whimsical children's book has a major character completely disappear for most of the running time, doesn't mean a movie can get away with it. You'd never release this version into cinemas and expect audiences to be okay with Gandalf's absence never being explained. Plus one of the two best things about the Hobbit is Sir Ian's Gandalf, so removing at least half of his scenes is not an improvement, to narrative, or enjoyment.

Enjoyment: 7
I didn't love the first half as I've seen it handled much better in other edits but the handling of the second-half felt very different and unique. It didn't always work 100% but it was well worth the watch to see the material slashed so heavily and still sorta work. Lastly, if you are wanting a very Bilbo-centric edit, then this achieves that very well.

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