Review Detail

8.9 3 10
FanFix March 11, 2018 3459
Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
How it should have ended.

Seriously, the best part of this fan edit is the absolutely brilliant decision to cut the laborious "dwarven gold" setpiece and move the death of Smaug from the Beginning of the Battle of the Five Armies to this film. It's absolutely baffling that the filmmakers didn't chose to do this originally, since it's the natural climax of this film.

All the other various cuts and trims are also welcome, and keep them film focused on the adventure of Bilbo and the Dwarven company. Tauriel and Legolas showing up in Laketown now feels somewhat unmotivated, but I'm willing to roll with it since losing their earlier scenes improves the film's pacing tremendously. Gandalf's scenes still drag the film down a bit, but I do think it's necessary to keep at least some of that plotline.

My only real disappointment with this edit is the fact that's it's only available as an >8GB MKV file. The first Arkenstone edition had an excellent 25GB Blu-Ray version that preserved the video quality of the source. The smaller file size of this release led to noticeable compression artifacts and visual muddiness throughout the film. Now that The Hobbit trilogy has been released on 4K HDR Blu-Ray, the gulf in visual quality will be even more severe. I do hope Kerr eventually releases a higher bitrate version of this edit.
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