December 03, 2016
This is a wonderful fanedit, proving that fitting all 3 Hobbit movies into one is not only doable, but improves the tale immensely. Even though this is not a 'Tolkien Cut', it nevertheless feels much more faithful to the spirit of the book than Jackson's bloated epics. I can't list the number of things which were cut that I ended up not missing in this edit. However I did keep a list of things I thought could be improved, mostly nitpicks but some more substantive suggestions:
Fading to black between shots at the beginning is a bit off-putting. Perhaps crossfades would work better.
Bilbo isn't properly annoyed at Gandalf when he sees him at the party.
Bilbo teleports at the discussion of Smaug at the party.
There's still a bit too much discussion of strategy at the dinner table.
Would have been nice to see 'I'm going on an adventure!'
Bilbo is oddly brave when deciding to free the ponies.
The Dwarves are very suddenly captured by the Trolls.
There's an odd transition from the Troll hideout to the crevice leading to Rivendell.
A mention of the Dragon Sickness would be good in Rivendell.
The transition from the march to the Misty Mountains to the interior of the cave is strange, since everyone is out of breath and dripping wet despite not seeing the rain. Keeping a bit of the rainy scene beforehand would have helped with Bilbo's decision to turn back to Rivendell.
Bilbo's scene with Gollum is wonderful but a few riddles could have been cut for time. The scene goes on for 15 minutes straight, so I'd suggest cutting up to 5 minutes from this.
Beorn is necessary in my opinion since he's the only way they get the ponies to get to Mirkwood.
Thranduil has little introduction. A few more shots before the Dwarves are imprisoned would help, or if Thorin's meeting comes before they are locked up.
A bit more of the barrel ride would be pleasant. Good choice in removing the battle though.
I didn't miss Laketown at all. It's a it sudden to see them walking to the mountain so quickly, but another establishing shot is all that would be needed here.
A bit of color correction and brightening of the shots of Thorin opening the mountain door would help mask the scene transition.
Focusing on the Arkenstone after the destruction of Laketown is a good choice. However, Beorn's absence is felt in the acorn scene.
There remains some confusion about why the orcs are attacking at this moment. Granted it's not well established in either the book or the original films, but it would be nice for this point to be more clear. It almost feels as if Gandalf's explanation confuses what could be a simple matter of revenge on the part of Azog.
Thorin must discover Bilbo's treachery.
It feels against character for Bilbo to put on the ring and head into danger without good reason. After all, he's no warrior.
The battle with Azog is rather superfluous, since we don't have enough knowledge of the two parties to care. It would be far more effective to have the fight be from Bilbo's perspective, where he sees only the aftermath. This cuts a good 5 minutes from the end.
2.5 hours is a good length for this movie. With the 10 minutes of additional cuts and the addition of some small moments and the Beorn scene this edit would be just about perfect.