Hobbit: There and Back Again, Part I

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9.7
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10.0
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10.0
Great work on this edit! While I did enjoy the theatrical version, and am looking forward to the seeing the extended edition - a two hour runtime is much easier on my backside. Like at the theater, I viewed this with my 10 year old, who said she preferred your edit. While scenes with Frodo, Azog, the White Council & the stone giants certainly were fun to see on the big screen, they aren't necessarily missed when viewing this film as a complete (or 1/3 complete) story.

The Great: Moving & dividing the prologue was EXCELLENT! We already have the intro with old Bilbo, so its nice to just get the story of the unexpected party started.
The troll fight cut was a necessity as it seemed like a waste of time where the dwarves looked like warriors only to be too easily defeated with no damage to the trolls.
While the warg chase was a throwback to the beautiful scenery used in The Two Towers; its elimination really keeps the journey moving, a major criticism of the LOTR films.
Thank you for trimming the Goblin king and subsequent chase scenes, these appeared to be too long & busy in the theatrical version, and the added "humor" of falling and smashing was not missed by me. Even the Erebor shots were done nice & proper, a change that might not have been considered by many.

Video quality was excellent, no artifacting at all. Only issue was my blu-ray player and TV couldn't figure out the letterboxing which left the picture cropped. Audio work was perfect with surround sound left intact. It seemed like a slight jump cut after the troll fight, but not sure what else be done visually (audio was spot on).

The Good: The showdown with orcs looked like it could have actually gone down that way, until we see the leader of the group unconscious during flight & requiring revival by Gandalf. Its too bad there weren't enough useful shots during these scenes that this part of the narrative couldn't be skipped. Omitting the acceptance speech played well into these changes, but even my kid found it hard to believe Thorin was knocked out without explanation. While I thought the addition of Azog was a fun way to create a more important villian for the film in the same vane as Lurtz in FotR, I'm sure we'll see over the next 5-6 hours of this trilogy that there are much bigger stories to tell.

Overall, a great addition to the world of LOTR edits which I can happily put up next to the official releases.

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Overall rating
 
9.2
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9.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
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9.0
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 Smaug...how 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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Overall rating
 
8.4
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9.0
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10.0
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9.0
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8.0
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8.0
This was a good edit. I quite liked The Hobbit AUJ when I first saw it but the second time was really bored and saw a lot of flaws. This didn’t “fix” everything for me but it was much more enjoyable.

A/V Quality - 9
Editing - 10 visual, 9 audio
Narrative - 8
Enjoyment - 8 (original 7)

Recommended drink: A little beer and some cake – seed-cake if you have any.

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(Updated: September 05, 2013)
Overall rating
 
8.2
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9.0
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8.0
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7.0
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9.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Incase you cannot read or are in a rush the answer is YES it is far better than the original and nearly perfect.

OK, sooooo I just watched the fan edit so firstly thank you to those who helped me find it and secondly thank you to all involved in the edit and lastly thank you to all that made it possible and that includes mr jackson.

What did I think?
Well I had not seen it since the cinema which I thought was an excellent film disguised as a bloated continuous action scene for small and rather dumb children but the good news is some how it has become an excellent film again lol

We all know The Hobbit is a children's book but we fans of the lotr, even those of us who were children when it came out are all now adults so we don't care about children and fart jokes and jar jar, we want something mature and intelligent for the most part and There and Back again achieves this result admirably whilst retaining that child like quality of wonder and adventure and exploration which all good fantasy should contain.

I cannot quite remember the original but I know it was too long, too action based, too much cgi, too much silliness, too much departure from the book, to much lower common denominator humour so basically Phantom menace syndrome strikes again lol
though as previously stated there was excellence, a diamond in the rough as it were and the editor has kindly polished this precious gem though I will point out the few flaws I found later.

I loved the LOTR trilogy as it is the pinnacle of its type and such a staggering achievement for all involved but Jackson has fallen to the CGI god which enslaved Lucas and we saw it in 'From Hell' and then 'the lovely bones' and ofcourse to a new low in 'the hobbit' but that evil smelling ugly spirit too has been vanquished from this film via the edit.

What I think you did (what I noticed):

The loss of that ridiculous opening action cgi scene with the dragon = thank god it was shifted to its rightful place!
The removal of frodo =wtf was he in it for lol he has 3 of his own films totalling 9 hrs, get the hell out of dodge!
The dinner scene seemed less 'bad' (more later) and now a very clever combo of the opening scene to perfectly compliment the setting up of an adventure,/ road movie/ heist film(people forget the hobbit is a bank robbery). Your reworking really was genius and nearly perfect in execution and surely a masterclass in story telling which Jackson should take note of (high praise indeed).
All the warg and white orc nonsense removed, as it was an ugly confusing pointless addition to flesh out the film with yet more bad cgi and endless action. Though white orc appears briefly at the end (and seemingly out of context though there was the elf lord mention of orks).
The removal of the meeting of the minds lol what a load of tosh to connect the trilogy by placing all those ageing stars together again to the delight of fans but the detriment of the film. Good riddance to extended exposition I say! The link to the next 3 films is gandalf and that is what was intended and to a lesser extent bilbo but certainly not all the rest. Though the evil of Sauron returning was fine to a point and explained all the increased evil activity.
The removal of the yet another pointless action scene based on a few lines about storm giants fighting, which dragged on and on till my head was screaming for the misuse of cgi = best left as an extra.
The cutting short of the goblin chase scene and the removal of the goblin king demise. This action scene also went on and on and was really the burden which broke the camels back and just far too self indulgent and padded and basically another one of those scenes only enjoyed by children under ten... on ritalin.
The end battle scene and possibly the death of the white orc? (cannot remember).

The fact that my usually excellent cinefile memory cannot remember much of this film is because it was ultimately forgettable.
Im sure there was more but off the top of my head that is what was missing or done.
Nearly all of your choices worked and made sense and were nec. to a degree to retain the flow of the book and the feel of the LOTR film trilogy. Your edit has made a far tighter and more enjoyable film closer to the (far closer) original intention of the author so well done again.

What I did not like / further cuts / inclusions:

Add real smoke and loose cgi smoke (WHY !!!) though I know you cannot do this it stands out a mile and is on par with cgi blood.
There were some sync issues with audio in the first few dinner scenes which never came back.
The cuts to make the flashbacks work were not perfect (but this all may be due to the limited material). The less is more with any of the extended cgi material.
The dinner song was never to my liking but very in keeping with the lighter tone though it could be shorted further.
Bilbo joining the party seemed a little too upbeat (maybe extended cut will help).
The troll scene is so 'very' basic to begin with but I would cut out the voice of the jar jar character making stupid remarks and infantile noises and toilet humour gags and omg why do we have to make our children into morons too!!!
They seem to just end up in elf town after saying they did not want to go which seems weird but possibly that is an issue with the original material (and like much of the actual story telling and plot holes the extended may fill it).
I love and hate all the hedgehog and spider rabbit sledge dr who madness but certainly the entire visit to the old castle could be shortened and YOU must remove that god awful cgi spirit moaning zoom rush shot, of presumably Sauron returning.
There is nothing worse than when things r near the camera for 3d effect or monsters have unrealistic abilities or we have zooms to gnashing mouths. I think we get a bat doing the same cheesy cgi 3d nonsense a few secs later so loose one keep the other.
I would have like to have seen the goblin scene extended as that is a flesh and bones climax (if the orc end is also shortened).
Cut the weird bit with the goblin whose head falls off (far too much head lopping in films without geysers of blood; how has this become standard, ok or even funny??).
I think you need that goblin king showdown to give the film a villain who is defeated and I know that in the book this was not even an issue unless u consider the wolves but the cgi wargs r so bad it is not the same feeling as seeing a giant goblin get its head cut off.
I would loose the wargs all together but u cant and u have a done a great job as it is but the dwarf boss being hurt out of the blue is plausible but a little out of place and maybe could be lost altogether if we r not to see bilbo SAVE HIM etc.

Sooo it makes perfect sense to end the film with the goblin king show down as that is a good death scene and then have your brief warg battle but with no damaged heroes and then cut to them on the cliff followed by smaug waking up = ePIC!!!
Currently your version as previously alluded to , is a perfect opening segment but as a result seems now slightly too short and incomplete as a stand alone film, due to the removal of a real ending which involves some character dev and a baddie death (or 2 or 3) and though we get bilbo's brief but lovely speech, it is not quite enough to bring it full circle.
What we have now is a rather short but perfect first part to the three and if the same wonders r worked will end up with 2 films in total as was the original plan but the quality will be on par with the first trilogy. Actually what you have done is similar to the fellowship before the extended and has that same open ended theme.

I am sure there is more and you have many of your own ideas but keep at it as you have literally saved this film and I dread to think what the extended will be like and how you will tackle it if at all.

The funny thing is the LOTR extended was awesome as you had a great film made better but when you have an average film with lots of junk and you extend that , well you get more junk or junk with more to it but its a polished turd and not the diamond you have given us.

I firmly believe that fanedits r now the future as film makers (perfectly good ones!) have lost the plot and sabotage their own efforts due to greed, studio pressure, interference and age and that is when the able fans step in and assist these vets. to realize their dreams. The hobbit had a very trouble dev. so im not surprised it isnt perfect but it is that one step closer due to this and future edits.

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Overall rating
 
9.6
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
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8.0
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9.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
I really enjoyed this edit - it cut out most of the superfluous, silly action scenes, tedious added in segments with Galadriel and Saruman, and got back to the actual narrative of the story of the Hobbit. Gone are the White Orc, most of the prologue, stone giants, White Council, Frodo and more. What remains is focused, tight and entertaining.

There are a couple of noticeable huge jump-cuts - you sometimes wonder "why are the walking through cliffs, when they were in the forest half a second ago". The most noticeable was when the Dwarves start attacking the Trolls. I might have let that play for a few seconds longer before cutting to them tied to a spit, but I am being VERY picky. I suppose you have to work with the material you have!

By cutting the fat, this feels far more like one of the original LotR films than the theatrical version. It doesn't feel the need to constantly reference the wider Tolkien universe and the previous films, and just gets on with telling its story.

I look forward to Part 2!

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