Hobbit: The Spence Edit, The

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Hobbit: The Spence Edit, The
Faneditor Name:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2012
Original Running Time:
513
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
195
Time Cut:
318
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
This is a 3 film in 1 edit running at 3 hours 25 minutes. This is not intended as a "book cut" but instead tries to imagine what Peter Jackson and Co. might have made if they had decided to do the story as one film.

My goal is not to make the film more like Lord of the Rings in tone, but in spirit. The gag-filled action scenes that Peter Jackson has become fond of are minimized, except when appropriate. It feels more epic. The pacing is quicker. It feels more in line with those films, while also becoming even more different from them.
Intention:
It was an experiment in seeing just how much could be removed from this story while still making it work.
Other Sources:
Music:
Howard Shore's scores from all six Middle Earth Films
Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold by Clamavi De Profundis

A few shots from The Lord of the Rings here and there.
Special Thanks:
All the FE.org members that participated in my thread deserve much credit, especially everyone who previewed my workprint as I went along.
Release Information:
Digital
Cuts and Additions:
There are many, many individual cuts, too many to list in all. Here are some general concepts:

General Cutlist:
- Remove Prologue with Older Bilbo
- Much of the Dwarves dinner antics are cut
- Azog is no longer following/hunting Thorin's company, but he is still one of the main villains.
- Radaghast is removed until his scenes with Gandalf in DoS.
- The White Council scene in Rivendell is removed, but they still rescue Gandalf later in the film.
- Rock Giants are gone.
- Goblin tunnels are heavily cut, but 99% of Gollum's scenes are kept.
- Beorn is not in this film.
- Most of Bilbo's struggling with how the Ring is changing him is gone, as it felt out of place in this story.
- Tauriel is now just another elf, her relationship with Kili does not occur.
- Legolas is heavily trimmed to be more of a fun cameo than a full fledged important character.
- The Barrel sequence is much shorter, and the company is no longer chased by Elves or Orcs.
- Bard's family and the politics of Lake Town have been completely removed.
- Alfrid appears in some shots but has no lines of dialogue.
- Dol Goldur is wrapped up before we meet Smaug for pacing reasons.
- The Dwarves fight with Smaug inside Erebor is completely removed.
- Smaug's attack on Lake Town is heavily edited.
- Major cuts throughout Battle of the Five Armies to get the story moving and the pieces in place faster.
- Major cuts to the battle for length and pacing.
- "Misty Mountains" theme re-instated when Thorin rallies the army.
- Kili's death rearranged to remove Tauriel.
- Many cuts to Ravenhill for pacing.
- The film features a new ending created using the various Old Bilbo shots and voice overs, shots from Lord of the Rings, and the delted "Dreaming of Bag End" music cue.

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Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.6(34)
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9.7(34)
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9.2(34)
Narrative
 
9.3(34)
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9.4(34)
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Overall rating
 
9.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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9.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
As a simple guy that likes movies I really enjoyed this. The story works so much better and feels much more in the spirit of lord of the rings as one great lean adventure film as opposed to 3 bloated movies. The pacing was great. There were only a few spots I could really tell it was edited namely the dragon raid and legolas showing up out of nowhere at the end. There were a couple others too but they slip my mind now. Considering the shear volume of stuff removed it's amazing there were so few easily noticeable instances. Great edit as always Spence!

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(Updated: April 03, 2022)
Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
After following Peter Jackson's production diaries with excitement throughout 2012, I remember the surprise at the mixed reviews and the disappointment of finally seeing "An Unexpected Journey". The let-down was repeated with each subsequent instalment, and ever since coming across this site I have intended to look through the wide variety of edits in the hope of finding something more pleasurable to sit through, I finally got around to it and chose this out of the well-regarded ones first for the simple reason that it is among the shortest.

This work is absolutely amazing, vindication of the production as a worthy companion to its predecessor trilogy. Yet again I marvel at just how much of a film(s) can be removed (sixty-odd percent here) while still remaining coherent, though in this case that alone is hardly a compliment with all the filler present in the originals. What really stands out (or perhaps doesn't) is just how unnoticeable the excisions are, anybody unfamiliar with the story would have little cause to believe that this could be anything but an non-professional effort, this view upheld by consistently excellent audio and video quality.

Being familiar with and fond of the original book I do miss a few things though, mainly "Blunt the Knives" and Beorn. The latter provides the only real issue for me, after escaping the goblins the company now suddenly get ponies from somewhere (the shot of them mounting up feels a bit brief on its own) and within two minutes they are being sent away (to where?). This is not a plot hole in terms of creating contradictions but it did take me out of the moment a little.

It remains for me to see if any of the longer cuts (up to double the runtime) can provide such a good balance, until I then this is without a doubt the version I would turn to.

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Top 100 Reviewer 54 reviews
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Overall rating
 
9.9
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10.0
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I consider this edit to be one of the "Big Five," and is actually the first of the group!

Basically my only complaint about this edit was when Smaug gets hit by the regular arrow (genius idea) he sort of just teleports up into the air. I understand this was done to cut out shots of Bard and Bain, but it jarred me out of the experience a little. This was also done because, as stated, you wanted to cut out as much as physically possible whilst retaining a functional movie. You succeeded in this goal, no question.

The counterpoints to my one complaint are:

Legolas throwing orcrist back to Thorin after running out of arrows was a 200 IQ move on your part and I've seen it re-used be a few editors out there just due to how ingenius it was.

You also replaced the theme of Thorin & Co. busting out of Erebor with the Misty Mountains Theme, and I've only ever seen that in your version, and one other (Wraith's) who did it as a shoutout to your own! Another stroke of genius here brother.

Anyone who wants to watch a version of the Hobbit that has absolutely no fat on it, this is the one you want. Absolutely bare-bones version here, and executed to perfection. Not to mention the inspiration this edit has had on many many others. Nice work Spence!

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Top 500 Reviewer 26 reviews
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This is, by far, the best way to watch The Hobbit. I'm a huge fan of the LotR Extended Editions and this is the perfect companion to incorporate into a binge watch. I'm glad that the extra material was left in rather than a straight book cut which I don't think was the issue with the films. But all of the bloat was taken out making this a rip roaring film.

The only real issue in this edit is the battle of the five armies but, like previously mentioned by other reviewers, is an artifact of how messy the original cut of the battle was. I'm still surprised how cohesive this cut is and will probably never watch the originals ever again.

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(Updated: February 02, 2019)
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10.0
A better title for this would be "The Peter Jackson Director's Cut."

I've always felt a sympathy for Mr. Jackson, seeing as Guillermo Del Toro was given the privilege of three years to plan two films but him leaving the project screwed him over creatively. Jackson wanted the spent year and a half back, so he could trim the script down to ONE film, and make a film that was more in line with HIS vision than Guillermo Del Toros.

The studio would not concede.

He now did not have enough time to make two films one. He had a year and a half to storyboard, plan vfx, props, production design, and costumes for two whole 3 hour films. Guess what? He wasn't successful. He hardly finished much of the first half hour, and had to plan many of the shots on the fly. This is an insult to one of the most unique directors of our time, and its a scary notion that even a director as accomplished as HE could not achieve creative freedom.

This edit very much honors him, with an edit that brings more focus on the character arcs that last from the beginning to end of the story, eliminating much of the unnecessary subplots that Guillermo added. It brings out many details one could previously miss when spread out across 3 whole movies, such as how Jackson brilliantly used every scene where Sting and the Ring are used as a motif to show how much Bilbo has evolved since the last time he used them. Such as how the scene where Bilbo encounters Smaug mirrors the scene where he encountered Gollum, again to show his evolution. Thus, the story evolves tonally and visually with the evolution of a character.

Literally my only complaint for the entire edit was your decision to cut one scene which was an absolute necessity to the film; Gandalf smoking a pipe with Bilbo after the battle has ended. It perfectly reduces the massive scale of how much has changed, in terms of the story and the characters, to such a simple but beautiful shot. It calls back to the very first shot of the film in the case of your edit.

However, your edit still works so well without it that I will not remove a star for it. It simply would have elevated your edit from magnificent to perfect.

For anyone who was disappointed with the Hobbit, whether as a fan of the book or a casual viewer, this is definitely the best edit of this film which exists.
Thank you, for preserving this director's vision, Spence.

~Silver Screen Samurai~

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