I'm just going to come out and say it: this was the Hobbit movie I wanted the first time around. Having grown up with the material, the Jackson films and the books, the Hobbit was one of the biggest letdowns of my movie-going life. Then along comes this cut. Most of the edits aren't even noticeable unless you're familiar with the scene. Even then, it was interesting to see a new spin on things and new life breathed into them. Because all the needless fat and pointless additions have been stripped, the acting and craftsmanship of the original cuts shine like never before. I was impressed by the VFX to patch certain scenes, such as removing Bard's son from the climactic arrow-shooting scene. I say do yourself a favor and watch this version.
I have searched a while for a version of this film that is more faithful to the book. I have seen a few other fan edits without satisfaction. I am so happy to have found M4's wonderful adaptation. I don't have a single criticism of this version, especially considering the limitations of the source material.
I purchased a Blu-Ray burner so that I could experience this film on the "big screen". The audio and video quality is stunning. I was blown away with the special features, additional scenes and especially the audio commentary.
Thank you M4 for giving me a proper film adaptation to one of my favorite books from my childhood.
Well, I've been debating which Hobbit edit to take a chance on - after all, these are long films which require a degree of commitment on the viewers behalf, or at least for me anyway - and with all the positive reviews received, not to mention how exciting the description of this book-style edit sounded, I thought I'd go for M4's version. And boy, am I glad I did.
Firstly, I don't hate Jackson's Hobbit trilogy as it is... I don't particularly like it either though. What I see amongst the three films are potential squandered by a bloated runtime, some awful gravity defying CGI sequences, and too many attempts to tie it directly into events which take place in LOTR. Plus, whilst the production design is beautiful, the digital film nature and high frame rate of the films has never sat well with me, even on repeated viewings. So, M4's cut list and intentions for this edit basically ticked all the boxes for me.
My wife and I watched this in two sittings, perfectly split using the brilliantly timed "intermission" by M4. I really enjoyed this aspect of the edit, as it gives that epic old fashioned feel to it, from the days of Ben Hur, Ten Commandments etc. Visually, this edit looks stunning, with the subtle use of the 35mm filter and colour correction making an amazing difference - somehow it gives more organic life to the film and certainly helps it sit alongside the visuals from LOTR far better. Also, in terms of visual editing, this is pure perfection. No hard, bad or unnatural cuts to speak of. That old adage, if you hadn't seen the original, you would never know anything was missing, certainly rings true here.
Narratively speaking, this almost gets the job done in seamless fashion. The added effects work on Thorin's face as the Eagles carry them off and then land at the climax of An Unexpected Journey, is sublime work and solves the problem of having a scarred and wounded Thorin when M4 was obviously wanting to change the narrative at that point. The only thing that felt a little off was how Gandalf disappeared a couple of times with no real reason given. I can't pretend I didn't notice that, but I wouldn't really want this edit to be any longer than it is, and it's not a deal breaker or anything like that. Also, not having Thorin succumb to the dragon sickness meant that his sudden change of mind is a little too sudden to swallow, but again, it's no big deal.
Audio editing - another huge thumbs up. Clean transitions, never for one moment did my ears think I was listening to something which had been fanedited.
Overall, this is the way I want to experience The Hobbit. As one epic film which can stand on its own two feet, without having to keep calling back to storylines from LOTR. The worst of over the top CGI has totally gone - thank you so much for removing nearly all of Legolas, meaning we don't get his gravity defying walk on bricks sequence - and it's simply a much more believable, engaging and entertaining movie. Absolutely loved it, and an example of a very gifted faneditor at work.