Foreword: I haven't seen the original in sometime, which prefer for watching edits and I also didn't review your changes ahead of watching, which I also prefer. I looked at the edit list back when I downloaded the edit, but I like to not know exactly what I'm walking into so I don't watch an edit for a few months or more after downloading them.
What I liked: The pacing was better and it felt more logical in many ways, and for that reason the narrative was greatly improved and streamlined. The cuts felt right, and they play of making some of the Dwarf story a dream for Bilbo was fun.
What I didn't: The movie was edited together amazingly, and I didn't mind that some of the scenes must have come from the DVD extras or something of the like (visually jarring), but the only editing section that really stood out for me was when the dwarfs were about to battle the trolls and cut, just felt a little too jumpy for me.
Overall: I'm not sure I'd see this version over the original but it has its ups.
Extra: Keep up the good work, and I think the formula you have might benefit if you tried to put all 3 parts in to one 3 hour movie.
After viewing a number of Hobbit fanedits, (all superior to the original theatrical release), I feel that Menbailee's is the closest to my liking. Loved the rearranging and dispersing of the opening scenes. LOVED the elimination of the sled and orc chase. I think the transition from forest to narrow crevice works great. A lot of the ridiculous parts were wisely cut. I now have a version of part one that I actually enjoy watching.
However- I would have done more cutting (if I knew how to edit). I would remove the first Radagast scene and all of the sled and rabbit parts. It could be easily done. I'd try to find a way to change the scene where the ring twirls in the air and lands right on Bilbo's finger. I'm not sure how this could be accomplished, but it was done in TFOTR- let's not do it again. The same with Gandalf whispering to the moth. It was great in TFOTR, it does not need to be in the Hobbit too.
I too like the pine-tree escape much better in this fanedit. As far as how to get around Thorin getting hurt if there wasn't a fight with the orcs, is simple. Cut out the part of the scenes where the eagle is carrying him. I would just transition from the eagles flying to the party standing on the rock as the eagles fly off. No need to show Thorin hurt at all and Gandalf's "healing" of him.
One thing I would have left in the film is a little of the Giants, just enough to see that the legends are true and then skip to the group looking for shelter.
All in all, the best telling of part one of The Hobbit.
Valar be praised, my favorite franchise has been saved! A month ago I had no idea what a fanedit was, now I'm thinking my fantasy/sci-fi collection may eventually be completely replaced with burned material!
Most importantly, it seems like the faneditors on this site are dialed into the most basic need for most movies - a version that does not cater to the silliness and inane action so popular with children (and many adults!). I watched this edit a second time with my kids and found they mentioned how they missed the scenes that I disliked the most. There you go.
OK, so specifically to the work of Menbailee here are the points I liked best about this edit: the focus on Bilbo (huge), shuffling and editing of scenes to create more mystery and suspense (dwarf flashback, etc), keeping most all the gollum material (it was pretty well done in the original), goblin king just disappears off the edge (that's enough, he's dead), short goblin escape (I hated the original), and wow the video/audio was outstanding (I saw the background details like never before), and much more I won't try to list it all.
Here are some things that in my humble opinion could be changed: Gandalf lops the head off a goblin with almost enjoyment (then lectures Bilbo about not being hasty to deal death - I can't see Gandalf ever taking a death lightly, even a goblin), how does the goblin king know Thorin so readily, Thorin mysteriously injured when no one else is (as explained in other reviews this might be unavoidable), still too much CGI (particularly pale orc, so sad they went away from real actors. I watched the FOTR again and found the costumed orcs so much more engaging and frightening. How I wish this orc could be removed entirely!).
Uncertain (not really sure if these should stay or go): plate tossing - it's over the top and really too bad, because it's a fun scene in the book. Troll dialogue - really pulls you out of serious mode with the movie and it's hard to believe they are any relation to the LOTR trolls. But I'm on the fence because the Hobbit is meant to be a bit lighter than LOTR, and the actor for Bilbo (Freeman) does an excellent job in the troll scene. I suppose I would need to see an edit without these scenes (or seriously cropped) to decide whether a change works.
Wish list: I wish for fanediting to advance to the point that beards can be put on the freaking dwarves! Durin would roll in his grave to see the 5 O'clock shadow on Thorin and his nephews (and some of the others with weak beards). I can't get over it honestly, and ultimately can't give a 10 to enjoyment unless that is rectified some day. I get trying to give the dwarves some individuality, but it could have been done with suitable beards. Please someone figure out how! Until then I can never enjoy the movie as a "10".
Ultimately though, Menbailee, you made my day. I was depressed coming out of the theater, I wanted to like the movie so badly but could not. Now I can, and so hope you will tackle Desolation of Smaug, though that be a much more challenging task!
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.
This edit turned my hatred of the original release around. The choice of cuts were well thought out and it shows. Although a couple of the cuts were very abrupt and somewhat jarring I can forgive them since the narrative was kept intact. The only scene I would have cut would be the "dirty dishes song." Oh how I detest that scene......ugh. Peter Jackson could have cut so much out and given the eagles more scenes....I cheer anytime they appear. Anyway I really enjoyed this edit and I would recommend it to anyone.