First things first English is second language to me so bear with me.
This edit flows very well as a sequel to Kerr's Arkenstone Edit. The core of this edit has stayed somewhat the same as the Vanilla version. This edit is not a cut fest so if your looking for a bigger trimmed down version this is not for you.
Small changes that include Bilbo's temptation have been removed completely. It makes for far better narrative and the story isn't focused on the ring and how evil it is. In my opinion its too soon to tease the connection between Sauron and the ring. Its makes watching it chronologically so much better. Now it just seems Bilbo found something spectacular and become an even better burglar. The scene where he almost says to Gandalf that he found the ring is awkward as hell and i'm glad it was cut. Cutting out the orc sneaking is a very nice touch and makes the surprise work so much better.
The biggest changes come at the end. The dragon gold covering segment is now gone (it wasn't in the book so why make something this silly up?) so is all of the hall roaming. Now it stays more true to the book which i like. I like the scene where dwares see there kin dead and will find some courage to stand up to Smaug, but not sure though how it would work with this edit maybe add it to the last movie?
Anyway i did like the cliffhanger tease they went with but i like this version a lot better. Masirimso17 has masterfully added the Lake Town fight from the last movie to finalize the downfall of Smaug and complete that story ark. One thing that i didn't like that much was the music playing in the background when Smaug fly's to Lake Town. It was very quiet and felt weak. If you could somehow use the ending of DOS when he fly's off which was very powerful and transition it to your edit somehow. Smaug's a predator and since predators hunt there food in stealth and make as little noise as possible it would be great to only just here the wind and maybe slowly build up the tension with music. If the tension were built slower it would make that segment that much powerful, just a thought. Ending was very well done and is a nice tease to the next.
Overall i very much enjoyed this edit it made some small changes bur very effective ones and the last part was done masterfully so thank you and commandben for making good movie even better.
As a Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and Tolkien fan in General, I have a love-hate relationship with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Trilogy. On one side I love the fact that we got three big movies with plenty of additions and references because It let's me spend time in Tolkien's world beautifully and masterfully recreated by Peter Jackson. But on the other side however while some additions/extended moments I welcome and love. There are some scenes that I absolutely hate with a passion and should never have even been in the movie series in the first place. *Cough* Goblin King Song Sequence, Forges/Mines Chase, Giant Molten Gold Statue *Cough* Plus some of the editing in the movies is weird and the pacing is a bit off at times. Now, I've seen the entire Hobbit Trilogy in IMAX and I own the Extended Edition BluRays along with the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions BluRays but I've been searching for the Ultimate Hobbit FanEdit Trilogy that would unlock the potential that these Films hold deep inside them making them worthy prequels to The Lord of the Rings and just good standalone films/film trilogy in general. Fortunately my search is now almost at its end. After watching and absolutely loving Kerr's amazing Arkenstone edit of An Unexpected Journey I waited patiently for Kerr's followup Desolation of Smaug & Battle of Five Armies edit which unfortunately at the time of writing this review has not been released or has had any news released about it. Fortunately however we have Masirimso17's The Hobbit: Fire and Water is the spiritual successor/sequel to Kerr's Arkenstone edit that we've all been waiting so long for.
Narrative and Cuts/Additions:
Masirimso17 set out with the intention to make a sequel to the Arkenstone Edit using the same themes/narrative structure established in aforementioned edit and succeeds with flying colors. I loved the cuts that were made and the additions that were added. Plus the new ending of moving Smaug's attack from the beginning of Battle of Five Armies to the ending of the film is freaking genius and works perfectly. I may be in a minority but I hated the original cliffhanger ending that The Desolation of Smaug had, I mean the Film's title is The Desolation of Smaug which to an unassuming viewer fresh from watching an Unexpected Journey means Smaug will have a climatic/cataclysmic battle, but nope in the original film you just get one overly cartoonish fight/chase scene in the Mines/Forges culminating in one horrifically out of place, poorly rendered, and just plain ugly Molten Gold Statue *shudders* which all leads to a pointless/stupid cliffhanger ending that denies you the battle with Smaug that you've been waiting a year to see. Thankfully however Masirimso17 fixes all of this in one fell swoop by removing the mines/forges chase/battle sequence and the molten gold statue and the cliffhanger ending by giving Smaug and the film the ending/climatic battle it deserved and should have had originally.
Visual and Audio Editing:
Now that my dear readers is where I come in. After learning that there was a Spiritual Successor to Kerr's Incredible Arkenstone Edit in the works, I approached Masirimso17 and offered my services in order to make the edit look and sound the best that it could. Masirimso17 agreed allowing me to forge the edit and make it's quality match/surpass my Extended Edition BluRay. So first I regraded the Source Materiel in order to remove the horrible Green Tint and bring out the Colors that were hidden, then I added a slight layer of Film Grain, after that I replaced provided soundtrack clips with the highest quality FLAC versions, then finally I Rendered the Edit at Maximum BluRay Quality. Resulting in an Edit that matches the Arkenstone Edit and the Extended Edition BluRay in Quality. Hopefully I'm not coming across as boastful/biased so I'll leave you to make your own observations and comments. But rest assured that the Quality of this Edit is Flawless.
In Conclusion, I've thoroughly enjoyed working on and watching The Hobbit Fire and Water. It has replaced my Extended Edition BluRay of The Desolation of Smaug and taken its place in my Ultimate Hobbit FanEdit Trilogy right beside Kerr's Arkenstone Edit. Fire and Water is what The Desolation of Smaug should have been so If you are looking for a Purist edit you won't find it here, but if you are looking for a sequel to Kerr's Arkenstone Edit and just an Amazing film in general look no further. It's Been a Privilege and an Honor working with and helping Masirimso17 on The Hobbit Fire and Water and I hope that you enjoy it as much is I do.
Like those before me I think this edit works beautifully as a spiritual successor to Kerr's AUJ Arkenstone Edition. Your restoration of the Battle of Laketown as the ending allows the narratives of this film to reach their appropriate end points before going into the next film, and the entire scene is vastly more enjoyable coming off the heels of what preceded it. I know many people who felt muddled and confused going into BOTFA after a year without sparing DOS a thought and being expected to carry every narrative detail and emotion they felt from DOS into the next one. As for the forges scene being gone - thank heavens. After all the excitement and tense build up to Smaug's attack on Laketown we were denied that and instead we got an overlong, video-gamey fight that only served to delay the inevitable. The matter can now be set at peace.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of the film. Many of the EE scenes such as those which add detail to Gandalf's motives for initiating the quest, or the inclusion of Thrain greatly enhance the narrative, and other audience members I've seen it with felt things were much clearer for their inclusion. That said, considering the length of the EE and the inclusion of the Battle of Laketown I think the film could use some further trimming for pacing. And the best way I think to do that would be to remove the EE Dwarves introduction to Beorn, any extension of getting lost in Mirkwood, and to remove all scenes of The Master and Alfrid before the one where they meet Thorin and the dwarves at night. All of these elements may enhance world-building and be nice for book purists, but they don't quite worked in the more adult, focused narrative I imagine edits like this would like to create.
All around though, a stellar start to making this film even better than the great film I always felt it was.
Like Kerr's arkenstone edition of "An unexpected journey", this edit attempts to improve on the narrative of "Desolation of Smaug" without losing most sub-plots presented in the original movie.
I must admit: "Desolation of Smaug" was the movie I had most fun with out of the Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. But it had some serious flaws. One of them is definitely the forges fight, which I'm happy was cut from this edit - the Smaug scenes were masterfully handled. I like it that we get to see Smaug's death in this movie. The Thorin-Bilbo encounter in Erebor was effective and serves as a great tease for Thorin's sickness in the next film. Ending the movie with the Orc army was brilliant and a much better cliffhanger than the original. Whoever handles editing the third movie as a sequel to this edit should start with the Dol Guldur fight sequence - that will serve as a great opening for a movie.
Now, I want to address the Kili-Tauriel scenes: For the most part, I like those scenes. It doesn't feel like a love story. Rather, it feels to me like they establish a friendship. That is up until that weird speech Kili gives after Tauriel heals him, which I believe should have been cut. It becomes really awkward then.
There are some sequences that I'm conflicted about. One of which is the barrel ride fight sequence. I like the fact that we see Orcs attack the company while they escape the Elves. By the way, the surprise attack was a great cut. It was a fun fast-paced action sequence, but the over the top (and I must say hilarious) Bombur barrel jumps and the funny Legolas jumping on Dwarves' heads took away from the tension and made it laughable. I wish some small cuts were made to make it less silly. However, out of all CGI-fest video game like moments in this trilogy, this is the one I'll give a pass. It was fun.
Another thing I'm conflicted about being the "Lord of silver fountains" prophecy. Do we really need it here?! Especially, when it foreshadows Smaug's imminent attack on lake town. I'd rather the attack be sort of a surprise. Anyway, it's not a big deal but I think it could have been cut.
Speaking of lake town, I don't really like the political sub-plot going on there. The scene between Alfrid and the master of lake town is gross and establishes a personal antagonism between the master and Bard, which then leads to the stupid scene of Dwarves entering Bard's house through the toilet. I don't like it that Bard is forcefully being a big deal. It'd be better to see him is a regular good guy, who happens to be skilled with a bow, which allows him to kill a dragon and makes him a hero people can look up to and have hope. Also. I think the scene where Bard being arrested should cut straight at him being in prison cell (with some scenes in between) and not have a chase scene just so he would be knocked out by the master himself. And I don't want to say much about Bard's escape scene - once again: a funny, silly moment that takes away from the tension of the moment.
As for Alfrid, please, whoever edits the third movie: cut him out completely. I like to think Alfrid died burning in dragon flames in this movie (wouldn't that be a nice scene to have?!). Every scene he's in in the third movie is awful and cringe worthy.
EDIT: Had the chance to see color difference between this edit and the original and I have to say: the color correction in this edit is phenomenal. Awesome job!
In conclusion, this is the best edit of "Desolation of Smaug" I've seen to date. Masirimso17 did a very good job here. Without a doubt, an improvement over the original movie.
At last I've seen this edit Masirimso17 =)) I tend to like the 2nd part of almost every trilogy, the Desolation of Smaug was one of those negative exceptions.
I liked your edit but I think Hobbit: Into the Fire is more accurate in some ways. I did like the fact that you removed Bilbo's being tempted by the ring, incorporating the Dol Guldur extended scenes and Thráin II was cool and replacing the Wilhelm scream too, you rearranged far better Smaug's exit from the mountain and your ending was superb (very close to the book and in preparation for the great battle to come). What I do hate the most is that damned final music "I see fire" by Ed Sheeran, it doesn't fit with the rest the musics of the Saga (Jackson's fault of course), if it could be changed or mixed with something else it would be great.
In conclusion I think a fusion of your edit with Hobbit: Into the Fire would be superb. Please don't get me wrong it is only my point of view of course. I look forward to see another revision of your edit if it comes to that =) Keep it up melon =)
Thanks for the review, sistros. I actually quite like I See Fire, and it fits well with the film and the saga in my opinion. Though since I removed the forges fight, the line in the song "If this is to end in fire, then we shall all burn together" doesn't connect as well with the movie as in the official versions, but what are you gonna do? You could connect it with Smaug's attack to Laketown. I dunno.
I am planning on doing a second version after the Extended Edition comes out to add new scenes from Smaug's attack on Laketown, and fix some edits at the end, specifically adding new sound effects while everyone notices Smaug is coming from the mountain, which were absent in the first version.
I'm glad you enjoyed the edit ;)