The best Hobbit edit so far (I've watched Maple FIlms, The Bilbo Edition, The Spence Edit, and The Tolkien Edit) and my only remaining wishes are things the editors don't have material to work from. (Thrush telling Bard, how close everything is together, the Beorn meeting, Bilbo not being invisible when knocked out [it made the point that the ring isn't all powerful get out of jail card], many of Tolkien's songs, how Bilbo rescues the dwarfs from the spiders in Mirkwood [the lack of the parties showing the callousness of the elves and the desperation of the dwarfs vs Mirkwood's enchantment doing it all])
I do wish there was a way to bring a more book like entrance to Rivendell to establish that these elves are different than the remote and ethereal elves of Lorien, or the provincial and woodsy elves of Mirkwood. Rivendell should have more cheer and connection to the outside world in it. (knowing who they are, teasing them, etc) Although I acknowledge this wouldn't match how LOTR established them but perhaps the change would be explained by the realization of the return of Sauron.
One thing that I really liked about this edit is Thorin and Bilbo's progression and how this edit refocus the emotional arc around it and how Bilbo's love of home helps him come to understand the dwarfs.
The edit strikes a good balance between keeping the fantastical that is in the book but lining up with the limits that the LOTR setup on the use of magic. Although I think I point could be made that with this being set farther from the ending of the Third Age that perhaps more magic could be allowed (talking animals, elvish parties, etc).
Without someone with great VFX skills donating time to create some of the missing bits (especially the thrush scenes) I think this will be the last word in Hobbit edits for me.
Finally had the chance to sit down and watch this edit. I can now honestly say that it truly lives up to it's hype. I was afraid that some of the VFX (namely the wood replacement of Bard's son) would be noticeable or distracting, however I can now say that those worries have been put to rest. Watching the edit in it's entirety flows so incredibly well that at no time did it ever feel like a 3-in-1 edit.
M4's editing instinct to cut down scenes for the sake of the overall narrative is masterful. The evolution Bilbo and Thorin's relationship is my overall favorite part of this edit. Removing the flip-floppy nature of their relationship that was present in the original 3 films resulted in a very emotionally impactful conclusion that originally felt largely resolved by the end of the first film.
My main criticism stems from some audio editing that was noticed, mainly in the music. Musical key's shift and clash a few times when the score is faded, levels seemed a bit off (mainly in the goblin tunnels), the bass track seemed to be missing in some scenes that largely needed it (Smaug's fall in Laketown, the bell breaking through the barricade of the lonely mountain, etc.). I also found it a bit odd including two references to Radagast the Brown without him showing up. Usually if a character is mentioned more than once, it is seen as a narrative setup for the character's reveal. I think cutting him mentions entirely would have been fine, with only a reference to the 5 wizards and Saruman's namedrop. Overall, these criticisms are extreme nitpicks that did not take away from my enjoyment of the edit at all.
Overall, the narrative that M4 bleeds from the source material has led to my personal favorite cinematic interpretation of The Hobbit. This version will be the one I return to for each of my yearly Lord of the Ring's rewatches. Thanks for the great work, M4!
The edit is as close to the book you can get. This is probably the reason this edit really shines in the narrative. The pacing is so good the four hours really fly by when watching this edit. It also includes some impressive VFX edits that haven’t been done before in Hobbit edits, to make certain scenes work better.
Unfortunately going by the book while being limited to the source material leads to some compromises during the last stages of the battle of five armies, which reduce the enjoyment for me. The way it is structured is not too bad. However, when most of the edit is so well made that it could be an official ”The Hobbit Extended Edition”, certain parts of the end battle just made me feel too much like watching a fan edit in comparison.
That being said, this edit has earned its place for me whenever I want to watch the Hobbit in a single 4+ hour marathon session. My favorite way of doing it would be watching this for the first 3:23.55 leading right up to the battle of five armies, and then finishing with Episode 5 of Stromboli Bones’ Edit for a version of the battle that fits my tastes better.
Top notch. I just finished the whole movie (and have watched most of the commentary audio too).
I have to say.. wow, bravo. I doubt that I'll have anything to say that hasn't already been said by others, but I still feel like I want to state them anyway, and to pay respects to the creator.
I've pretty much always hated The Hobbit movies ever since first seeing them in theaters. The gross overuse of CGI, the over-the-top buffoonery of the dwarves, unnecessary slapstick humor like the trolls and potty humor, etc. All the unnecessary fluff, added characters, etc. that not only were not in the book but also totally broke the pacing of the movie and turned them into snorefests.
What M4 has done with this edit is jaw-dropping. The sheer attention to detail, the near flawless transitions (I couldn't think of a single time I noticed a cut was made- this is seriously impressive.
Cutting out Azog and all the orc chasing of the party was one of the best decisions I could imagine. One of my biggest gripes about the original movies was how little room for any meaningful character development between the party. One of the main reasons? The constant peril they are in, non-stop, to the point where it becomes exhausting to watch. Good pacing requires a balancing of action, threat of danger, and quiet moments dedicated to exposition and character development and relationships. I applaud the creator for managing this with the existing footage. By cutting out Azog and him constantly popping up to hinder the company, we're able to focus more on their bonding as a group. Not to mention, it much better fits the less serious tone of the Hobbit when compared to it's more serious and darker counterpart (Lord of the Rings).
Watching this cut, I also barely noticed the CGI. As I said before, watching the uncut movies, I couldn't get past that and it totally broke the immersion. Very impressively done.
Long story short- I found myself actually enjoying watching this movie, whereas before, I only enjoyed one-off scenes (like the great riddles in the dark scene). I especially appreciate all the attention to detail- not making the hobbits these amazing warriors, cutting out the part of Bilbo watching Gollum drop the ring before his finding it, all the audio and soundtrack touches, etc. Way too many to mention.
Thanks so much M4 for putting this together! With this cut of The Hobbit, I can finally add it alongside my watch-throughs of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Can't wait to share this with my friends and family!