Review Detail

9.0 27 10
hobbit_maple_front.jpg
FanFix August 14, 2016 86258
(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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