Review Detail

9.1 31 10
hobbit_maple_front.jpg
FanFix August 14, 2016 96833
(Updated: September 05, 2016)
Overall rating
 
9.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Well,

I have to say, I had high hopes for this, I even hyped it up to my friends prior to watching seeing the good reviews and whatnot. And wow did it deliver.

Here's the thing: I watched this with 3 other people, 1 one of whom had seen The Hobbit trilogy once before, the other 2 having not seen the trilogy at all (but they did watch LOTR). For my part, I watched The Hobbit trilogy Extended Edition once like 6 months ago after seeing them in theater, and LOTR, well, I lost count. We watched both the movie and the short film, Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery, which I will rate separately from the main edit. The most important part is still the main movie, after all.

So, this is splendid work. What Maple Films have accomplished is incredible. I can safely say this will replace The Hobbit for me, and I kinda like the original movies, even though they're quite bloated. This is just better pretty much on all fronts, including the short story.

Editing is seamless throughout, especially audio. I LOVE how Maple Films changed some of the soundtrack in the movie to that of The Hobbit (or outright removed some scenes with the wrong LOTR music in it), excellent choice. Much of the info that has been cut out, like Azog's lack of presence early in the movie, the viewer can fill in very, very easily. The focus is on Bilbo, and it's for the better.

Here's what those who watched with me said (remember, 1 who had seen the trilogy before, 2 who hadn't):

- Everything makes sense. They never felt lost, although some events happened rather quickly near the end.
- The pacing is perfect, they weren't bored nor overwhelmed.
- Without dragon sickness they would have hated Thorin to the core, so he makes for an odd but interesting protagonist (or side protagonist, actually)
- They loved Gandalf's sidequest, but understand why it was cut. It's not relevant to Bilbo's story.

There is 1 edit which we found jarring: When the company is going into the tunnels to receive cover from the rain after leaving Rivendell (and fall into the goblin caves), Bilbo slips and falls off the cliff. The edit at this moment is quite jarring and goes from "Bilbo standing on the cliff slipping" to "Bilbo holding by 1 hand off the edge" like instantly. All 4 of us noticed.

The end with the 2 dwarves dying was a bit quick too, but I thought it would be worse. Kudos for pulling it off, seeing how complicated this situation was to begin with. Also, not even 1 of them noticed the dragon flying with gold pouring around him, so I guess this is really not an issue for first-time viewers. And I even told them there would be a visual continuity issue in the movie beforehand, and they still didn't notice. I'd say this is very much non-factor and affects only repeat viewers. After I told them, they said they thought it was dirt or remnants of the wall or something. The brain just fills it in, it would seem.

The actual Battle of the Five Armies is a bit of a mess, but then again, it is as well in the original. Cutting it just serves the story, which is what matters in the end.

Overall, I would highly recommend this edit as a replacement for The Hobbit trilogy. Tells a full, concise and cohesive story, sticks to the main characters very well, and doesn't omit any important character moments.

As for Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery: I feel like either of 2 things could be done with it.

1. Trim down the scenes which are also included in the movie cut, especially the scenes before entering Mirkwood, and the scene before Radagast the Brown meets the company. Some of those scenes are borderline related with the Hill of Sorcery and its subplot anyway.

or

2. Remove everything not related to Gandalf and Radagast's adventures. That would remove about 30-35 minutes of content. Yes, that includes Thrain in Dol Goldur. For that, a good source of that scene would be the theatrical cut of Desolation of Smaug, where Thrain doesn't appear at all. Durin's Folk and their story is not essential viewing leading into LOTR, so it's not necessary and could be removed. Dol Goldur and the Necromancer, however, are.

Still, Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery is well put together, and definitely worth the watch. A great prelude to Lord of the Rings.

Thank you Maple Films for this great work.

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit by Maple Films: 9.9/10
Durin's Folk and the Hill of Sorcery: 9/10

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