Die-hard Tolkien fans, you need look no further! Ilúvatar has heard our prayers and sent his emissary M4 to bring us the definitive Hobbit edit. I was lucky enough to watch this masterpiece before it was featured in these fora and, although there were already some great fan-edits of the trilogy out there (I personally still keep Maple’s Durin’s Folk and the Hill of Sorcery as an appendix to the main story), M4’s Book Edit immediately became my to-watch version. And here are the main reasons for that:
1) Faithfulness: I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to adaptations. I mean, I never demand a word-for-word translation of the source material, but at the very least I expect to keep it close to the original’s spirit and follow its basic guidelines. M4’s Book Edit exceeds in that. His approach is that of a purist as well, but not to the point of botching up the narrative or the characters for the sake of faithfulness alone. The dwarves, for example, are often (deservedly) criticized for being too goofy compared to their book counterparts - some of them at least, like Bombur and Bofur. M4 trims away most of the misplaced humour without depriving them of their individual traits as depicted in the films, and never leaving them like empty shells of characters. It goes without question that all of the other annoying elements of the trilogy have been removed as well; Tauriel, Radagast, the awkward love triangle, the excessive, gravity-defying action pieces, all gone. Even Azog the Defiler is cleverly “replaced”, although I must confess that I wouldn’t mind if some references to his name were kept in and the Orc leader in the end identified as him, as long as he wasn’t a recurring villain throughout the whole film. All of the above are achieved through multiple seamless cuts and a good deal of digital tampering, which brings me to my second point...
2) The VFX: It’s what brought me to M4’s edit in the first place, after accidentally bumping onto his VFX creator’s reel on Youtube. I simply have no words for the work done on that area. It’s astonishing and really makes a difference! The digital reduction of Thorin’s wounds, the removal of the arrows on the barrels after the (now completely cut) river chase or even the replacement of Bard’s son during Smaug’s attack… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The attention to detail is impeccable when addressing continuity errors which may arise due to cuts or different approaches, bringing this edit flawlessly as close as possible to the source material.
3) The transition from An Unexpected Journey to The Desolation of Smaug: It’s a tricky part to edit, that’s for sure. Maple Film’s edit chooses to make this transition with some voice-over from Gandalf as the company moves from the Eagles to Beorn’s house. M4’s solution brings an air of 50’s and 60’s cinema to the table. Like Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments or Gone with the Wind, an intermission is used where The Journey ends and The Desolation starts. It’s old-school, it’s elegant and classy, and gives the audience a legit point to split the whole viewing experience in two. Absolutely love it!
I won’t dwell on all the other changes made (colour correction, Howard Shore’s OST etc.) As a conclusion to my review, I just want to address to any Tolkien lovers and LotR fans out there. Do yourself a favour and check this edit! It’s not just the epitome of a devoted, flawless fan-edit. It’s a total filmsaving experience that will make you see The Hobbit in a totally new light and fall in love with Middle-Earth once more.
It has always been a pet peeve of mine that they split the Hobbit into three films as it clearly reeked of ‘’we’ve gotta make money so were splitting this story into three and were going to add stuff to it that’s not even in the book just so we can pad the runtime and fill our money pool’’ so naturally when I came upon this edit I was overjoyed that someone had undertaken the task of digitally stitching the three movies together well casting most of the unnecessary fluff back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.
The Intermission is well placed and the duration of said intermission gives the audience enough time to either grab some beverages, go to the lavatory or engage in some intellectual discussion on the films events, themes and cinematography and whatever purpose the audience has chosen to fulfil and has fulfilled during said intermission they will likely be more than ready to resume the rest of there viewing of this masterful craft as it seamlessly transitions into The Desolation Of Smaug.
This edit is honestly impossible to fault and I do not say this out of blind praise in fact I literally went over it several times to see if I could find any faults weather they’d be on the narrative or technical side of things though my intention of seeking any faults was not out of the desire to look for stuff to complain about but rather so that I could give an honest and fair review of this edit as I am one of those reviewers who do not just toss out perfect 10’s lightly as such results as to why I consider an edit to be perfect are either given out of careful consideration or simply because I struggle to find any imperfection with an edit.
Other than being more faithful to the source material I loved how you altered the films picture quality to match more closely with the Lord Of The Rings as for me it not only improves consistency but makes the world I am looking at feel more natural as just looking at it made me feel as if I were there breathing in the various airs of the many locations that the company traversed during there journey, I wish I had gotten to see this version of the film at the Cinema instead of the one’s that were actually shown but noooope they had to split em because ‘’money’’
This is definitely my go to version of the films or in the case of this edit film from now on as I no longer have to experience the frustration of one film ending at a critical moment just to force me to eject the disc, place it back in it’s case, get up, reach for the next case, put that disc in and than walk all the way back to the sofa only to have to repeat these steps again when The Desolation Of Smaug ends. Or alternatively since I watched the Digital Version of your edit I no longer have to undergo the tedious task of going There and Back Again with my trackpad cursor.
Now it is just one file and one click greatly reducing the risk of Repetitive Strain Injury or simply RSI.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyJanuary 03, 2022
Thank you for the review pedantic-contrarian :) I like your name haha. I really appreciate all the kind words. I did put a lot of work into the polishing phase of this fan edit (basically a year) so I'm glad you noticed (or rather, you didn't notice any editing stick out)! Have a happy new year mate
If you're looking for a fanedit that not only fixes the flaws of the original movies but also makes it more in line with the Lord of the Rings films and makes it closer to the original book, then look no further. This is BY FAR the definitive fanedit of The Hobbit trilogy, and it's everything The Hobbit films should have been in the first place.
Look no further, this is the best Hobbit edit out there! It turned a bad trilogy into a great movie. Many of the trilogy's shortcomings have been ironed out. It feels like a real movie now and is closer to how the Hobbit should be in the first place.
An enormous effort that culminates in a great work. Now i can finally enjoy the Hobbit.