Review Detail

9.0 27 10
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FanFix August 14, 2016 76951
Overall rating
 
8.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
I've seen a number of Hobbit fan edits since An Unexpected Journey was first released, and this is by far one of the best. Dustin Lee (as he credits himself in the edit) has done an excellent job condensing the trilogy down into a single film just a bit longer than the extended version of Return of the King. Though I did watch it over two nights, the edit really flies by. The large sections that were cut, such as the Dol Goldur subplot, the White Council, some of the battle at the end, were done so seamlessly. I know lots of other trims were also done, and while I did notice a few things missing, there was probably much and more I didn't notice.

The audio was great, though there were a handful of audio transitions where the music faded out a bit suddenly into silence, but those were soon forgotten. There were no visual glitches or stray frames, though as daxtreme pointed out, Bilbo slipping off the cliffs before they get captured by the goblins was kind of odd. Lee did a good job on the recoloring of Smaug leaving the mountain and spinning off the gold. You really need this shot, and it's not hard to imagine that after spending years laying on a pile of gold that he'd have a bunch in his scales.

There were a few narrative issues. I wasn't a huge fan of how Azog was handled. We get that he's hunting the dwarf party and that there's some bad blood there, but it's never really explored. Because of that, the final fight betweem Azog and Thorin doesn't have much weight (but good job cutting Thorin getting stabbed through the foot!) It also wouldn't have hurt to show Legolas returning Orcrist to Thorin (Spence did it wonderfully) to show the growing unity between the dwarves and elves and explain how Thorin got his old sword back. I understand wanting to create a version more like the book, but as with any adaptation, concessions must be made.

Video quality was great, but given that the edit made use of two BD-50 discs (25.5 GB and 36.5 respectively) a little more space could have been used for the video. The quality was great, but it could have been excellent. The video quality on the menus suffered a bit, but again, this could have been taken care of by using more of the available space. If you're going to utilize the BD-50 format, why not take more advantage of it?

Overall, I enjoyed this edit, but I'm torn between this and Spence's version being my preferred version. If you're a purist and want something close to the novel, watch this version. If you didn't mind things like the Dol Goldur subplot, Spence's version is still great too.
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