December 03, 2016
Many Hobbit fanedits have emerged from Director Peter Jackson’s fertile raw material, but if you’re looking for the shortest 3-in-1 version, look no further. . . or higher. Clocking in at two hours, fifty-two minutes, this version provides a breezy hobbit fix that nevertheless doesn’t feel rushed.
Whereas the single-movie fanedits of An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug removed enough filler to keep the stories functional as stand-alone movies, 3-in-1 edits can be more ambitious in their condensations.
Mammam, by aggressively removing certain scenes wholesale, has brilliantly solved problems that earlier edits tackled with varying degrees of success. To my delight, the love triangle and almost the entirety of Laketown have been expunged. Some edits have pulled off fantastic color grading to hide Smaug’s improbable gold coating, but Mammam deals with it by dispensing with it.
Or take the barrel ride, which was trimmed mercilessly to keep the edit focused on character moments and less on action. All the problems associated with the sequence have been swept away, so to speak, by not giving it much air in the first place.
No longer does Bilbo have to point out a dwarven staircase to the dwarves who would know best of its presence, nor do the dwarves sulk away from their quest after minor door-opening difficulties and expository chatter.
This is just my personal preference, but I was hoping the warg battle and Beorn’s hospitality would have been retained, but I understand the editor’s intent was to keep the story moving, and that keeping these elements would have necessitated keeping other interstitial bits and padding.
The video looked crisp, and I didn’t notice any audio issues.
Although this is a lean, perhaps the leanest, version of The Hobbit franchise, think of it not as a hurried experience, but one that has shed the excesses of the original, excesses that slowed down the narrative. This wonderfully condensed version of The Hobbit is one that could have been released by a more focused studio and a more focused Peter Jackson.
I had the pleasure of reviewing this edit for approval and now look forward to Mammam’s future edits. And once I’m finished reading The Hobbit with my kid (we’re about halfway through), I plan to introduce her to the Jacksonian telling by showing her this edit.