Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Edits, The

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9.8
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9.9(74)
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9.8(74)
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9.8(74)
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(Updated: January 21, 2023)
Overall rating
 
8.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Stromboli Bones is bearing the weight of a truly oversized crown here. May he never faulter in his duty as King Unto the Middlearthers. Let no dragons, traitorous kinslayers, elvish lords, nor Followers of Morgoth be victorious against him. For to rest our heads in peace this Battle of Five Edits must be won!!

I'm basing this review on the single film all-in-one file I've just watched. One star is knocked off for a stuttery panning shot across Dale after Thorin's death scene. And others for cutting issues seen in Beorn's house from the pouring of the milk and up to Mirkwood with the Eye of Sauron on the tree. If I rated the individual episodes it might be harder to knock off some stars but who needs all these stars anyway..... I was thinking of starting to do ratings based on a five point scale but then narrative rating here might be seen as insulting..... I guess we should just be thankful for the lack of issues with out fan-edits here, but we must try to offer constructive criticism when we can......

On to the narrative quibbles I'll just say I put quite a few down in a review on Don Kamillo's 'Anti-Cringe' version. Some of these transfer to this version. One though, needs a mention as it is certainly a stumbling block. Its the transition to the final episode. It all gets pretty hectic at this point and with only one lingering shot to pick for the title bloom (completely absent from the all-in-one file - paradoxically) it conflicts with an appropriate ending, and beginning (I'm speaking here with respect to the standard - set in the first four episodes - of an opening few minutes playing out as an intro segmented off by the title bloom leading into the main feature). It is my humble suggestion to circumvent this issues requires the elongation of the shot panning across the host outside Erebor to effect a lingering moment long enough for the TABA title to bloom. This is just after the final departure of Bilbo down the rope. Fitting I'd say. With the previous ending being on the look on Thorin's face with an army of archers all aiming at him - quite a classic expression there - and thusly begining the final episode with Bard's glancing over at Thranduil. Ten stars of enjoyment just for getting the chance to even put this suggestion down....

Much appreciation to all the Reel Bearers!!

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Yes
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Digital
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(Updated: November 29, 2021)
Overall rating
 
8.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
When I saw The Hobbit movies in the theater, I couldn't help but think that there was a great version of the story inside Peter Jackson's movies, but just that it had been buried among a terminal amount of Flotsam and Jetsam. I've watched a few of the more well-regarded 3-in-1 edits (Maple Films, Bread & Butter, Dwarfed Edition), but there are points in each with awkward or jarring edits and some continuity errors. Battle of the Five Edits is far and away the best for it's attention to detail, in my opinion.

When Amazon announced their new Lord of the Rings prequel show, it got me thinking that the Hobbit would've been great as a limited-run miniseries, due to the episodic nature of the story. The trolls, the stone giants, Riddles in the Dark, Beorn's house, Mirkwood, etc. - these are all essentially stand-alone scenes that would work as episodes in a TV show and not suffer from needing to cut way too much cool stuff from the book in order to make it a single movie, or else making a single butt-numbing 4+ hour long movie.

It didn't occur to me that one could split Jackson's movies into episodes, but it is a stroke of genius that works incredibly well. I also love how excising most the cartoonish and videogamey action scenes that Jackson added to pad it out to a trilogy has the side effect of making the movies more appropriate for the same age range as the book, seeing as how most of the gratuitous violence was in the various Azog/Orc attack scenes that have been almost completely cut here. I have two kids, who are now about the age I was when I fell in love with the book - I wouldn't be comfortable showing them the theatrical or extended editions, with all their beheadings and squirting gore, but this version scales that back to an acceptable level, while splitting it into episodes makes it digestible for kids in the high single-digit age range, who would never have sat through a single 3.5+ hour movie in one sitting (let alone three).

In my dream version, the Ian Holm/Frodo prologue would've been excised, but I get why it was kept (in abbreviated form), since otherwise the movie starts very jarringly with no real introduction for Bilbo and Gandalf showing up in basically the first shot, as in a few of the other edits I've watched. Which speaks to the great job this edit does of threading that needle between following the book more closely and making the "best possible version of these movies" (as Stromboli Bones states as his thesis for this edit). One could expect that if this was the version of the prologue we got in the theatrical version, it would've felt a lot less egregious and felt less out-of-sync with the rest of the movies. The only other thing I would say is that the climactic battle could stand to be shorter still, with some of the more ridiculous CGI troll antics cut (peg leg trolls, battering ram trolls, etc).

The attention to detail that has been paid to not creating continuity errors or jarring cuts is far and away better than any of the others I have watched. A few nice nods to the further LoTR films have been kept (the shards of Narsil being glimpsed in Rivendell, etc.) while removing the egregious prequel-ish easter-eggs and heavy-handed foreshadowing that Jackson larded it up with.

The episodic structure allows keeping a lot of iconic stuff I love from the book (the songs, the eagles, Beorn, etc.) while not making everything feel either ploddingly overlong or way too rushed and confusing, like a lot of the 3-in-1 edits.

I love that Stromboli actually rented out a local theater to screen it for his friends and then incorporated feedback to fix any continuity errors or editing issues, which speaks to the amount of effort and attention to detail that went into making this the best edit available of these movies. This will be the canonical version for my family from now on!

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Yes
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Digital
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(Updated: October 26, 2023)
Overall rating
 
8.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Here we have a HOBBIT FANEDIT - MASH-up of HOBBIT FANEDITS!

I am actually surprised it has not happened before, so here we are with Stromboli Bones (SB) first time edit. And it is a doozy folks!

BUT FIRST...
DISCLAIMER: I approved this First Time Editor Edit as an Approving Faneditor.
Does that conflict me...NOPE!
If it met all the srequirement standards and was bad...I would certainly be telling you all for sure HOWEVER, I am please to report this is a very well put together piece of work (light years better than my first submission).

Watching, let alone reviewing any HOBBIT edit is not easy for me having spent 4 years crafting mine, but over the past few months I have plucked up th e resolve, and dipped my hairy toe (they are hairy), into this pool of creativity, again.

It is a brave person who openly announced on the IN-THE-WORKS threads that he intends to mine over half a dozen other fanedits to create a "greatest hits" of Hobbit Edits.

"THIEF", I hear some cry....
##Get a life, I say to the naysayers. This site is build on repurposing, re-imaging and applying in many case extremely creative and complex new elements to existing filmakers material.

Ahh, but the naysayers might persist..."he just bolted bits together that he did not make"

HORSE FEATHERS! (look it up)

What is an EXTENDED EDITION, if not just bolting on some more bits...(and some are actually very hard to pull off if you are going to complete the deleted scenes etc)....BUT BACK to this MIDDLE EARTH Smorgasbord.

What SB has done here is spent COUNTLESS hours watching variations upon variations of scene after scene of material, over, and over. Judging what suits his vision, merits inclusion, is the best option, most agreeable (and some MUST GO regardless moments) to create a pot-pourri "one-stop-shop" HOBBIT!

So does it work?

I'm please to say it does, and drawing from such diverse visions, it works very well indeed.
And that betrays an important point; SB has also made many many changes to this from his own tastes and preferences. Sometimes switching mid-scene to another source edit, sometimes making his own changes from scratch. That, in my opinion, starts to really make this, another fanedit (albeit, others have put in their effort before...but that's the same as using The Theatrical Versions vs. The Extended Versions).

I go into all this so that I can reason that the score that follow are based on this edit as a whole, no differently than if a new version of Blade Runner had been created from 5 versions of Blade Runner (Theatrical, International, Director's Cut, WorkPrint & Final Cut)....

Philosophically, my view is we are in the same camp.

Audio/Video Quality - 10
I did not detect any issues viewing this on a 55 Inch TV on either.

Visual Editing - 10
Flawless execution throughout, paying particular attention to SB's de novo work

Audio Editing - 10
Although earlier verions of this had some VERY minor issues, they would not have changed this score since in % terms they were "stylistic" in nature and not flaws or errors (and a tad subjective in some instances)

Narrative - 9
It is EXTRAORDINARILY hard to pretend that one has not seen these when viewing them, and to that extent when minor narrative assumptions have to be made the real question has to be, what would someone who has not seen these (but is watching with a person that DOES own the source and who obtained the edit)...what will that newbie viewer make of it?

SB goes to great lengths in his write-up to explain certain choices. A couple that come to mind is the reveal that Bilbo did not hand over The Arkenstone, The Flash of Sauron's eye when Bilbo removes the ring in his encounter with Smaug, the absence of Gandalf's parley with The Elves, and a couple more. These changes are very well reasoned, but for me their presence (or not) do create questions and could be a distraction or confusion for some. That alone would drop a half point, and I believe in rounding up; the other half point drop comes from "Blunt the Knieves". My dislike of this scene notwithsatnding, is that it's presence creates an unnecessary delay to propel the narrative forward at a crucial time. This is especially true in a structure which is episodic. Further, if you are someone who dislikes these songs, you might think there are more to come, but thankfully there are no more. I believe that a disciplined approach, given that all other musicality is removed, would conclude removing this as well. in regards to Sauron's eye; I believe it would have worked better with Gandalf in Mirkwood so it's relocation is a gamble. It will for sure get newbies wondering.

Having said that, this narrative, at 9 / 10 is TOP NOTCH, and skillfully and crtitically judges very well the components to use, modify, removed and add...and SB adds MANY flourishes of his own throughout.

Enjoyment
Now we are in subjective territory; I did enjoy this, tremendously so. Given that I also scored Don Kamillo's (DK's)Anti-Cringe edit a 9 here as well, I feel compelled to allocate the same score for the same reasons, and NOT because DK's forms an important scaffolding for this edit. The reason is MY enjoyment...The only things that detracted from it were a hadfull of Cringe movements and modern idiom which REALLY pulls me out of the movie. This, coupled with a few minor such things mean's, at least 9/10.


But please be assured, this is a HUGELY enjoyable romp:

OVERALL:
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
I wish my first submission was half as good, and I would encourage you to view this with an open mind and embrace it for SBs superb work and the homage that he has paid to the editors whose material inspired him, no, COMPELLED HIM to go where few editors have gone before. I for one am flattered that a few moments from mine, crept in.

Thank you for your trust, engagement and hard work.

BRAVO!
Owner's reply November 14, 2021

Wraith, I can't thank you enough man. You were integral to this process, and I'm flattered that you enjoyed my edit, especially considering you have your own!

I'll defend Blunt the Knives until the day I die because I love it! But I understand your critique of it haha.

As for the ring foreshadowing, I see what you mean, and I do think putting it in for Gandalf at Mirkwood instead of Bilbo with Smaug. The only reason I didn't was that it was a jarring transition to have the scene with Bilbo without it. Maybe I'll tinker with it some more in the future so I can earn that full 10 from ya ;)

You're right about it being hard to pretend we haven't seen them, too. I'll find some more Guinea pigs and see how they feel about the absence of those scenes. Maybe my parents will watch it.......

Anyway, thanks again homie. You're the MVP!

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