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9.1 12 10
FanFix August 01, 2013 2302
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Wowza. I had certainly felt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was bloated when I saw it in theaters and again on Blu-ray when it came out, but I never really noticed just how much could be cut until I saw this edit. I really enjoyed the pace at which the story was carried out and often times I didn't really notice stuff was cut until after the fact. Also, great edit with the dwarfs charging the trolls. That's the sort of comedic cut that feels at home in this sort of film. The integration of the Erebor flashbacks in the dinner scene and the fire song were excellent. Sometimes shifting things around like that can make the bits seem out of place, but it was damn near perfect here.

There are a few things that could have been neatened up, however. By cutting down the Pale Orc arc, there are a few hanging references that are somewhat curious. There are two that come to mind: in Rivendell Gandalf mentions that it is because of his company that the orcs are traveling far south. Why are they the reason? They're after Smaug, not any orc settlement. The same thing with the Goblin King: who would pay a price for Thorin's head? Couldn't be would he know what's going on? Or why would he care? He's a big freaking dragon!

My thought would be to maybe have the Pale Orc not explicitly set up, and instead use small bits from the scene establishing him during the final conflict. By doing this, you set up for the inevitable confrontation in the next film, and you can keep the scene of Bilbo being accepted by the dwarf company at the end. It's a big moment for him, one that shouldn't be underestimated. All the same, this is a minor quibble in an otherwise great edit.

The video quality was impressive for a DVD-5, and I'll owe that not only to the BD source used for the edit, but the skill that Menbailee used in exporting it. What source you use counts for a lot, but it's all for naught if it's buggered on export. The extra resolution of the source goes a long way here. The audio was great as well. I don't have a surround set up, but nothing sounded especially glaringly wrong, so I'm gonna say it's good!

All in all, a great edit and a worthy addition to any fan's collection. Menabailee, I would suggest having another look through some of the bits you cut surrounding the Pale Orc and Bilbo's acceptance into the group, but when all is said and done, this is a fantastic edit. You might get some new ideas when the extended version comes out in November!

Keep up the good work mate. :)

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