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9.5 31 10
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Visual Editing
Audio Editing
First of all, I should say that I haven't yet viewed my copy of the official Hobbit Extended Edition (As it's in it's still in it's cellophane upstairs awaiting Xmas morning) so I approach this review with only knowledge of the Theatrical cut. Secondly I didn't read the cutlist until after viewing it, so these are the reactions I had without that knowledge...

Audio/Video Quality 8/10: The look of the original Hobbit was horrible and cartoony (It brought back unpleasant memories of Indy4 IMO) and needs somebody to bring it visually in line with the nicer looking LOTR trilogy. The MP4 of Kerr's edit looked fine quality wise but I'm not sure the colour correction was a huge improvement overall. Some scenes did look massively improved, some looked very slightly worse and some still looked cartoony. I appreciate the effort though.

Visual Editing 10/10: Absolutely first class. I never felt jarred out of the experience by any removals (And there were many) and every cut was well handled and smooth to my eye. Clever little moments like using a shot of a doubtful Gandalf at the end of the council scene to change his motivation were wonderfully subtle (The faneditor in me was almost going to applaud at that bit but sadly this change was oddly contradicted in the later cave scene). From the cutlist it seems footage from LOTR was used in places but despite my near-obsession with those films none of it drew my attention as an obvious addition (It must have been blended very skilfully).

Audio Editing 9/10: Amazing and ambitious work on this front. The many changes/restorations to the score are wonderful to hear and without exception an improvement on the original. Obviously changing this amount of music required a lot of sound FX work to cover it. For the most part this was also beautifully handled but the final 'Out of the frying pan...' scene wasn't quite right. The sound FX felt a bit sparse and empty but given the complexity of this action scene nothing short of full Foley team was going to sort that out. Luckily the new/restored music in this scene was the best in the whole edit so I could easily forgive the sound FX issues.

Narrative 10/10: For me this is the edits crowning achievement. If I was to say the pacing in this edit was slower than the Theatrical cut I really do mean that as high praise. Instead of the stop-start/slow-quick/dialogue-action uneven pace of the original I just viewed a measured, well-judged and consistently paced cut. It felt like scenes like Bag End and Rivendell were given the time to breathe and us as viewers given the time to soak up the middle earth atmosphere. Then the action scenes were better cut, shortened or skilfully removed entirely. To put it simply, nothing overstayed it's welcome and nothing felt rushed.

Enjoyment 10/10: This was a joy to view from start to finish. I dimmed the lights and armed myself with a mug of ale and various cheeses and crackers (To fill up the corners) Hobbit style but instead enjoyed the filmic feast Kerr has created. If I had to find big fault, it would be in the retention of the truly awful Thorin scene at the end (I was very happy with Menbailee's removal in his cut) but again Kerr's new music improved on even this... making it at least bearable. A short list of my favourite changes (Music aside) would be the total removal of the Goblin chase (Not missed for a second), the removal of Radagast's first scene (Despite my love of Slyvester McCoy) and I loved the removal of many little silly moments throughout.

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