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.
With the greatest will power in the world, I just couldn't bring myself to laud praise upon The Hobbit in the same way which I had for Jackson’s LOTR trilogy. It had nothing to do with how close the film is to the book; much like Menbailee, I feel it’s more important for the film to work as a piece of cinematic storytelling than a pure page by page representation of the book. It was simply that Jackson over-egged the pudding on this one. The decision to make three movies out a book so much shorter than the LOTR was fool hardy enough – to make the first film at 3 hours is just asking for trouble. Inevitably, the film suffers from padding galore and also Jackson’s most annoying trait of going that one step too far in terms of how he constructs and edits a major set-piece. By the time Gandalf and the dwarves are trying to escape the Goblin King and his army, I felt like I was watching a computer game at times.
However, underneath all the excesses, I thought there was a good movie there and thankfully, on the whole, Menbailee has managed to trim away the fat and produce the kind of movie I wanted to see at the cinema. First major plus point is the pointless Frodo cameo hitting the fanediting cutting room floor. This is quickly followed by some invisible trimming of the dwarves meet up with Bilbo. Then Menbailee really begins to get plus points for severely trimming down the sequence where the Dwarves fight the Trolls in an effort to save Bilbo from being their next meal. Granted, the cut is a bit abrupt and some may say heavy handed, but it’s a compromise well worth making, as this is one of the scenes which dragged painfully in the theatrical version.
I didn’t miss the White Council scene at all. My girlfriend disagreed, but I like the idea of The Hobbit standing on its own two feet, rather than throwing in too many attempts to refer and link directly to characters from Jackson’s LOTR trilogy, so this was a plus in my eyes.
Certainly, as the edit progressed, I began to really warm to the film as a whole. At last, I became fully engaged with the characters and the adventure they had embarked upon. Sure, it still lacks that certain something which felt more immediate and fresh when I saw Fellowship of the Ring, but there’s little doubt that this is a massive improvement on the bloated mess which we saw at the cinema last year.
However, there are a couple of issues here. Some may call them minor, others may see them as pretty key; but basically they relate to continuity issues caused by the cuts made. Firstly, the excision of the Warg attack is welcome, but then to leave in a line of dialogue when the company meet up with Elrond at Rivendale, about Gandalf admitting it may be their fault that Elrond was held up with taking care of the fall-out from that very attack, seems to come from left field somewhat. The same kind of problem presents itself when Thorin is still seriously injured even though his fight with the Warg’s is cut. The editor admits that he couldn't find a way around this, and we have to believe that it’s the falling through the different trees that has caused his injuries. In the end I think it works better with no final fight, so again I feel it’s a worthy compromise. However, such issues do prevent this edit from being a true masterpiece.
Ultimately, this is still an impressive piece of fanediting. Flawless, no. But still a must see if you, like me felt The Hobbit you saw at the cinema was an over-long, self indulgent exercise in dragging out a story to fill what will be 3 movies. Recommended.