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9.8 2 10
(Updated: November 29, 2021)
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I watched TM2YC’s edit of An Unexpected Journey (AUJ) last night, and tonight I watched the Desolation of Smaug! (DOS)

If you enjoyed the original DOS but want a version that cuts out the biggest offenders as far as SILLINESS goes, with a slight restructuring of the Dol Guldur sequence to pace it out better (all of that is moved to the start of BofA), then you should definitely check this edit out!
Below is a slightly critical-sounding section but I assure you, TM2YC did an excellent job here and achieved his goal of removing most of the silliness. It has just become difficult to watch certain scenes in these films due to preference and the absurd number of times I have seen them.

Know that I have given my scoring a great deal of thought, and my little rant below is not directed towards TM2YC as an editor. I think the work they did here was excellent. My gripes are with the original films and those gripes don't extend beyond the "Enjoyment" category.

I have a rather difficult time docking points in my reviews just because I didn’t enjoy certain parts of the originals, but I have done so in the past (Wraith’s edit: Split Unbreakable Glass, for example) because….that’s the entire point of the “Enjoyment” section as a whole, right? I was reading a thread just today about the potential of removing (or reducing?) the weight on this section, and personally I think it’s a good idea.
I mention this here because I feel AUJ was pretty objectively the best film. Some people will argue that DOS was better; just know that I strongly disagree, despite how great Bilbo v Smaug is (I’ll save you the rant) Now, TM2YC set out to make this film “Entirely Respectable” and while I feel that he has definitely done so (in another seamless and flawless fashion, mind you), TM2YC was fairly light with the macro-cutting (a heavier hand here than in AUJ) and that means there were a lot of sequences left in that may indeed be Entirely Respectable, but I have a very hard time watching due to my own personal preferences (Bard vs Alfrid and the Master isn’t the worst thing in the world, but I don’t like it at all really. Tauriel/Legolas/Kili’s plot however, IS the worst thing in the world lol)

Anyway, I’ll move on to my more organic play-by-play review style that I have come to prefer doing, with a small wrap-up afterwards:
(this one is slightly less involved than my review of AUJ, I didn't check the cut list as frequently this time and I just wasn't as active with the keyboard mashing)

You cut out PJ’s cameo how dare you!

7:45 you zoomed in and panned up to remove the caption “2 weeks later” or whatever. Genius. Couldn’t get this to work out and look natural myself. Well done brother.

Cutting Bombur from bouncing off the door, seamless!

God I just hate Tauriel Kili and Legolas’s side plot so much. I’ll spare you any further monologues

(big time jump here)

1:03:38 I noticed a music transition but it was pretty minor, and I didn’t notice any of the other MANY cuts you made to this sequence (Barrels out of bond). So, not really an issue.

I personally didn’t mind the go-pro bits but I’m not upset at all to see them gone lol

I’ll never get tired of hearing “One of NINE” despite not really liking the High Fells plot, cutting out this plot and putting it in BotFA from this point on was a solid move

The entire side-plot of Bard vs Alfrid and the Master is still here, and I don’t actually think it detracts from the narrative TOO much. It takes us away from Thorin & Co., but it prevents Bard from being a Deus Ex Machina like he was in the book. I think it could have stood for some more trimming, but I’m not sure it detracts from the “Entirely Respectable” bit either, as you cut out the worst of all the scenes: the goat balls! (like, seriously PJ? I know this one was actually on you, I watched the appendices. WHY?)

Loved the rescore with Misty Mountains at 1:43ish!!

2:02:00 WELL DONE. That Smaug dialogue cut was *chef’s kiss*

2:02:40 music change was a little wonky

The whole side plot with Fili, Kili, Bard and his kids isn’t my favorite either but it’s not bad, nor silly per se. So, carry on.

I can respect what you did with using Smaug’s fire breath as a way to get away from Bilbo at the opportune moment!

2:16:08 the “REVENGE” bit was kinda weird, but I appreciated your color re-grade, followed by the transition to BotFA by laying the intro music over the top of “I am fire I am death”

Interesting rearrangement of Smaug’s death sequence, and then MAJOR props for ending with a really cool and original final shot!

In closing, this edit was done very well, and there wasn't anything that jumped out at me or any cuts that I thought detracted from the overall quality of the edit. There were a few very minor hiccups but I only really noticed them because I've seen the Hobbit movies *checks notes* a lot of times and it's beyond second nature to notice that kind of thing at this point. And even then it's usually more like a "Oh nice I see that cut you made here! I hadn't thought of that!" rather than a complaint. Anyway, great stuff here TM2YC, I'll definitely be checking out your rendition of The Battle of the Five Armies and letting you know my thoughts! Keep up the good work.

- Stromboli

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