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 
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality 
 
10.0
Visual Editing 
 
10.0
Audio Editing 
 
10.0
Narrative 
 
9.0
Enjoyment 
 
10.0

User Review

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Yes
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MP4/AVI/etc. (HD)
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(Updated: October 19, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
8.3
Audio/Video Quality 
 
9.0
Visual Editing 
 
9.0
Audio Editing 
 
9.0
Narrative 
 
8.0
Enjoyment 
 
8.0

This is a great edit of a not-great trilogy of films, into one watchable movie. LOTR -- the extended editions especially! -- did an amazing, still unmatched, job of treating a fantasy setting properly. It was a rare occasion where a fantasy setting and its narrative was taken seriously, rather than developed into a cheesy barbarian body-builder festival, or a kiddie movie, or a low-budget-crappy-costumes mess, or into an ensemble of the latest Hollywood blockbuster tropes in a pre-modern setting. There are very few exceptions to this pattern: "Hellboy II," Conan the Barbarian" (1982), "Dark Crystal" all stand out. Don't get me wrong: I'm no art-film buff, or culture snob; I am proud to have "Yor the Hunter" on BD, and similar fare, and an extensive collections of schlock and cheese, including fantasy, and love "Labyrinth" and its ilk. But LOTR was something different, a breath of fresh air: incredible scenery and effects and cinematography, an amazing (yes, I know, not 100% fidelity) to the book (including cleaving close to its prose, without F-bombs, American slang and the rest, right-on "ba ba green sheep" rewrites etc.), great casting and music, and lots of detail. Imagine, if you will, a parallel Earth, where we got Tom Cruise as Aragorn, Danny De Vito as Smeagol, Johhny Depp as Elrond, a Danny Elfman soundtrack, lots of product placement, a few extra characters to meet the mood of the times, like a hobbit action-hero, perhaps a scientist/ hacker/ super-wizard, ideally a pretty but disaffected young woman in a tight leather bodice, and loads of slapstick etc. Then we can think what horrors might have been.

Now: "The Hobbit" trilogy. A big step backward for the genre, and not a very good set of films in any sense. It retained the amazing sets and designs of LOTR, but was something far less in every respect. LOTR showed grim,noble dwarf kings and a stoic Gimli; in this one we got badly-dressed dwarfish buffoons and cliches. What is with those ridiculous hair- and beard-styles? Look: Bombur is fat, and his chair broke, oh the hilarity! Thorin, who looks completely out of place -- perhaps the result of an ill-advised studio decision to create a dwarf hottie? -- but he looks more like Jason Momoa's Aquaman than anything dwarfish in this trilogy or LOTR, or pretty much any high fantasy setting, ever. LOTR had awe-inspiring monsters from legend; in this one we got great spiders and a great dragon, sure, but we also got trolls who eat snot, a goblin king with a plummy English accent and wargs. Lots of wargs. Wargs who can now climb trees. LOTR cleaved to the source material; in this one dwarfs are oafs who makes fires on the floors of Rivendell, using elven furniture, and who cannot drink from a mug without wetting their beards and cheeks, plus two dwarfs who are not-very-funny recycled versions of Merry and Pippin; we suddenly have Tom Bomabil as a sort of hairy grimdark Wolverine-analogue, last survivor of a persecuted, enslaved race etc.; oh dear, there is a cringey dwarf/ elf romance as well. LOTR had a sense of urgency and peril and world-spanning, epochal change; in this one we got padding, bloat, and CGI, as the director did his best to push a 150 page book into a 12 hour movie marathon. Scenes from LOTR were recycled as well: brave adventurers fleeing within a goblin mountain; eagles summoned by a moth coming in at the last moment; wargs ridden by orcs attacking on the hills etc. The "Hobbit" keeps dragging on, and on, and on, and on. Oh my goodness, does it drag. The heroic efforts of Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins were not enough, alas, to salvage this Hollywood mess.

So the editors at Maple Films certainly had their work cut out. This edit is, I think, the best possible salvage operation and I must express my amazement at the job done here -- and in the standalone spin-off "Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery" which you MUST see.

The worst of the slapstick is gone, the worst cringe is removed, and the bloat is reduced greatly. The story is tighter, with the removal of lots of padding, byways and cul-de-sacs. The endless, belaboured flagging of what will happen in LOTR is less in evidence. Of course, we can all think of our personal preferences for what should stay or go (maybe the dwarfs wrecking Rivendell, the whole Azog storyline?) but building a watchable film that retains the best parts of a "Hobbit" trilogy that should have been one movie from the start, is an impressive achievement by any standards.

With so much stuff gone, it's a really amazing accomplishment to retain a clear and interesting narrative. Bilbo is now central, as is his struggle within. There is some incredible scenery, camera work, special effects and choreography, which emerges from the murk thanks to smart editing, and to wonderful effect.

There is a lot work and care here, and it shows. We cannot expect any editor/s to work miracles, and even with the best will in the world, the "Hobbit"/s will never be a good film. But it can, as we see here, become something worth a watch, and maybe even two! I cannot honestly give a super-high rating for enjoyment or even narrative, but that is not the fault of the editor/s who could only work with what existed: a deeply flawed product in the worst traditions of the Hollywood blockbuster/ cash-grab.

Well done Maple Films! No one can expect more of anyone than we have here!

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
MP4/AVI/etc. (HD)
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality 
 
10.0
Visual Editing 
 
10.0
Audio Editing 
 
10.0
Narrative 
 
9.0
Enjoyment 
 
10.0

Looking for the best edit of The Hobbit Trilogy, I read through the descriptions and change lists of every edit I could find. I have watched and re-watched different versions of The Hobbit over several months and, finally, I found this edit - exactly what I was looking for!

All the slapstick and fluff that could be cut is gone, but not to the point that would create unexplained events as I had seen in other edits.

The efforts made to hide Smaug covered in liquid gold is about the best that will ever be. I watched an edit that tried skipping to him flying towards the town and that didn't flow smoothly.

If I had to nitpick... the first time I watched this edit, I thought my audio/video was out of sync during the new voice-over during the eagle rescue. Plus the great scene with Thorin accepting Bilbo as a useful member of the group after the eagles was cut, but there was no way to keep it with the cuts made to the battle with the orcs. I'd rather have the cuts than that scene, so not a big deal.

Also, subtitles. Awesome!

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
MP4/AVI/etc. (HD)
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality 
 
10.0
Visual Editing 
 
10.0
Audio Editing 
 
10.0
Narrative 
 
10.0
Enjoyment 
 
10.0

Watched this edit last weekend. I got to say this was an amazing edit, great quality. The colour correction was great as I disliked the way the original versions looked. I also thought the restructuring of the movies into a 4 hour cut was well done, the unnecessary sub-plots are removed quickening the pace and I didn't mind the long hour run time as I liked that it was split in two just like the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Ultimately this was more in tone with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and more structured like Jrr Tolkien's Novel and all and all I really loved this edit and for me it is definitely the definitive version.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Blu-Ray
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
6.9
Audio/Video Quality 
 
8.0
Visual Editing 
 
8.0
Audio Editing 
 
8.0
Narrative 
 
5.0
Enjoyment 
 
7.0

I've long known that there must be a good movie hiding within the mess that is The Hobbit trilogy. The Maple Films edit takes some excellent steps toward pulling that good movie out of the muck. It's an improvement, to be sure. But for me, it ultimately fell short.

In an effort to save time, the Maple Films team ended up cutting out a lot of moments and scenes that I believe were necessary for narrative cohesion. Most notable, the Battle of Azanulbizar, which establishes Thorin's history with Azog. For better or worse, Azog is the major antagonist of the trilogy, and in order to give the final fight some emotional weight the history of the two characters is essential. Without it, he's just a random orc that is, for unknown reasons, an old enemy of Thorin and their conflict falls flat for the viewer.

Stray thoughts/criticisms

-In an attempt to achieve visual consistency with The Lord of the Rings, they went overboard with the color grading. The desaturation throughout the film is far too extreme.
-A good effort at fixing Smaug the Golden, but he still appears wet while exiting Erebor. I acknowledge that this is one of the two most difficult challenges that fan editors of The Hobbit face. The other great challenge is...
-...the transition between An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. This cut leaves a lot to be desired. The voiceover was a creative solution, but in my opinion the flight of the eagles was cut far too short and the whole thing feels off.
-I loved the way this cut handled the deaths of Kili and Fili. I think the cut could have used a bit of polish, but the idea was fantastic.

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