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9.5 35 10
FanFix April 15, 2015 27537
(Updated: April 03, 2022)
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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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