Review Detail

9.4 18 10
FanFix September 07, 2014 2409
(Updated: September 11, 2014)
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Visual Editing
Audio Editing
This was my first experience with an edit of Desolation of Smaug. There were some great decisions made but other things didn't quite come together in execution. I'll break my review down into good elements and things that I was left with mixed feelings about:

The Good:

-Cutting most of the stuff with Bolg and Azog was a good move. It definitely helped to quicken the pace and shows how little the film needed these scenes.

-Cutting the Tauriel/Kili/Legolas love triangle. This was very effective. It felt largely shoehorned into the original film so nothing of value is lost here.

-Cutting the dwarves giving up and leaving. This was some pretty brilliant editing and a great change.

-The new intro: I liked it a lot. The original opening scene was hardly missed. That wide shot of the eagles makes for a great opening shot.


-Cutting the fight at Laketown: I always felt the Elves venturing to Laketown was largely unnecessary, but how its handled here is a bit of a mixed bag. The editing is mostly sound, but narratively it's a bit strange that some of the dwarves don't go to the mountain with no explanation given. This seemed like a large plot hole to me. We can clearly see that some of them are missing from the boat and later scenes at the mountain, but no explanation is given as to why they stay back. Also Kili's leg wound becomes a bit of a red herring.

- Bard stuff: I missed some of this. Particularly, the transition from Bard and the Dwarves to Stephen Fry up in his loft now feels rather abrupt as the connection of Alfrid is no longer there. In general, the Bard vs. Stephen Fry stuff feels like a vestige of the original film that you tried to minimize but couldn't completely cut, and ends up coming out as a half-baked non-sequitur.

-Gandalf's story: Moving the encounter with Sauron to earlier didn't work for me. It made this plotline seem even less connected to the rest of the film, and it felt like a false climax. The plotline was rendered an aside that begins and ends in the middle of the film. Frankly, since this is supposed to be a purist cut, I would have went all the way and cut this plotline entirely.

-Barrel Escape: I appreciate the desire to cut this down as it is an action scene that ultimately adds nothing to the plot, but the result is just a choppy and unengaging scene. I would have left this in rather than go with the cut you ended up with, which is essentially the Dwarves going down the waterfalls as the elves dispatch a couple of orcs in the background. The scale of the orc attack is not really felt and the edit doesn't feel smooth and seamless.

-No Golden Smaug: This is the main reason I choose to watch this edit over your "Fire of the Dragon" edit. This extended action sequence in the final act absolutely killed the pace of the movie for me. The editing is mostly handled well except for one thing: Silver Smaug. This essentially kills this aspect of the edit for me. I realize there aren't a lot of options here for an editor, but the change in color timing for the few shots of Smaug here is absolutely noticeable against the rest of the footage, and the change from gold to silver doesn't really make this scene suddenly make sense. This was a good idea that just didn't come together in execution.

Overall this edit was a mixed bag for me but I still appreciate the effort that went into it. You definitely have some editing talent so I'm looking forward to your future edits!

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Owner's reply September 12, 2014

Thanks for taking the time to watch and review. A few points of contention-- 1) I really don't think the missing dwarves were noticeable. There are no scenes showing them falling behind, and unless one were counting , or was extremely familiar with the original (which may be the case), I don't think three missing dwarves were glaring. 2) Gandalf's encounter with Sauron is in the same place as in the original (before Smaug). I kept the scene because despite not being explicitly described, Gandalf did go there in the book. The orc attacks on both barrels and town however, never happened, hence the cutting. 3) The 'cool' color grading for final shots of Smaug was consistent through all the remaining shots of night-time Erebor and Lake town, and I don't think was noticeable. The silver sheen is silver sheen. Again, depends on whether you are looking out for this or not. Anyway, I'm sorry this edit did not work for you, thanks again. Cheers.

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