M4's The Hobbit Book Edit

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(Updated: September 06, 2022)
Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Had been looking for a 3-in-1 edit of The Hobbit first. For 2 main reasons, 1. it's not a story that requires 3 3hr movies. The 77 animated film (which i grew up with and love) told basically the full story in 90 mins. All i need is the story that is told in the book. 2. Peter Jackson seems to like to make stuff up that he thinks will be cool or funny, or maybe it's studio involvement doing that, but when something that comes in in both LoTR or The Hobbit that isn't out of the books, things get pretty eye rolly. This was less prevalent for the LoTR seriese, but for The Hobbit, this happened so much i had to tap out after the 2nd movie. Tried watching the 3rd at some point, but couldn't wrap my mind around how they decided to put what should have been the climax for the last movie into the beginning of the 3rd.

All that said, from what i had seen of the films, i had to believe there is 1 good movie between them. It's acted well, and most scenes are accurate enough. There isn't stuff missing, just too much added, and a lot of subplots that kill the pacing, and kind of screw up character development in cases.

Anyway. This edit corrects all those issues. The cuts are seemless. Even when i know where a terrible scene should have been, it was cut out so cleanly it just made it more apparent that there was no reason for it. The biggest example is the transition from part 2 to part 3 that blends together and corrects a major flow problem with the original. Watching this with someone who had never seen the films, and they did not know when it actually transitioned into the 3rd film. The transition from 1 to 2 is not so smooth, but that is a problem of the source, since part 2 does not pickup cleanly where the first left off. This is worked around by using an "Intermission" screen. Which while i tend to dislike this even when part of the original movie, and this did take me out of the feeling that i was just watching a single movie, it did end up being a good pause point for us to stop and grab some food, so i guess it does actually end up working out, lol. For the most part i could just forget i was even watching an edited version of the films, and just enjoy it as single story and just one big epic journey.

The only things that threw me were:
- the previously mentioned intermission, which was actually a good thing, and i don't think there would have been a good way to transition otherwise
- A mention of radagast who doesn't appear (maybe this matches the book, but just stood out since i realized he was cut). Though to the edits credit it wasn't till way later that i realize that he never showed up.
- and a single shot of Evangeline Lilly that stands out. her plotline was thankfully removed, but a quick flash of her stands out knowing she was originally in it. Might have also stood out less if she was a less recognizable actress. It seem like that quick shot could have maybe have been edit omit the shot of here.

All in all this is a great edit. I'm sure anyone not being aware that this was originally 3 movies, would not have know it wasn't just one movie. Everyone who watched this version with me thoroughly enjoyed it. Those that had seen the originals, had the same feelings about it that i did (that they were not worth watching mostly, but found this version to be solid)

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Overall rating
 
9.8
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
This is the first fanedit I've ever watched and it was a great experience. I watched it with two friends and they also enjoyed it. We all agreed it felt much more true to the book and it was amazing how much superfluous stuff was able to be taken out without harming the movies at all.

We also appreciated the high quality of the encoding. Even though we were watching it with a projector, we didn't notice any low quality compression.

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(Updated: February 04, 2023)
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Out of all The Hobbit edits, this one is the best. Makes you realize what a great film is inside the trilogy.

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Top 500 Reviewer 17 reviews
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Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
The best Hobbit edit so far (I've watched Maple FIlms, The Bilbo Edition, The Spence Edit, and The Tolkien Edit) and my only remaining wishes are things the editors don't have material to work from. (Thrush telling Bard, how close everything is together, the Beorn meeting, Bilbo not being invisible when knocked out [it made the point that the ring isn't all powerful get out of jail card], many of Tolkien's songs, how Bilbo rescues the dwarfs from the spiders in Mirkwood [the lack of the parties showing the callousness of the elves and the desperation of the dwarfs vs Mirkwood's enchantment doing it all])

I do wish there was a way to bring a more book like entrance to Rivendell to establish that these elves are different than the remote and ethereal elves of Lorien, or the provincial and woodsy elves of Mirkwood. Rivendell should have more cheer and connection to the outside world in it. (knowing who they are, teasing them, etc) Although I acknowledge this wouldn't match how LOTR established them but perhaps the change would be explained by the realization of the return of Sauron.

One thing that I really liked about this edit is Thorin and Bilbo's progression and how this edit refocus the emotional arc around it and how Bilbo's love of home helps him come to understand the dwarfs.

The edit strikes a good balance between keeping the fantastical that is in the book but lining up with the limits that the LOTR setup on the use of magic. Although I think I point could be made that with this being set farther from the ending of the Third Age that perhaps more magic could be allowed (talking animals, elvish parties, etc).

Without someone with great VFX skills donating time to create some of the missing bits (especially the thrush scenes) I think this will be the last word in Hobbit edits for me.

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Overall rating
 
9.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Finally had the chance to sit down and watch this edit. I can now honestly say that it truly lives up to it's hype. I was afraid that some of the VFX (namely the wood replacement of Bard's son) would be noticeable or distracting, however I can now say that those worries have been put to rest. Watching the edit in it's entirety flows so incredibly well that at no time did it ever feel like a 3-in-1 edit.

M4's editing instinct to cut down scenes for the sake of the overall narrative is masterful. The evolution Bilbo and Thorin's relationship is my overall favorite part of this edit. Removing the flip-floppy nature of their relationship that was present in the original 3 films resulted in a very emotionally impactful conclusion that originally felt largely resolved by the end of the first film.

My main criticism stems from some audio editing that was noticed, mainly in the music. Musical key's shift and clash a few times when the score is faded, levels seemed a bit off (mainly in the goblin tunnels), the bass track seemed to be missing in some scenes that largely needed it (Smaug's fall in Laketown, the bell breaking through the barricade of the lonely mountain, etc.). I also found it a bit odd including two references to Radagast the Brown without him showing up. Usually if a character is mentioned more than once, it is seen as a narrative setup for the character's reveal. I think cutting him mentions entirely would have been fine, with only a reference to the 5 wizards and Saruman's namedrop. Overall, these criticisms are extreme nitpicks that did not take away from my enjoyment of the edit at all.

Overall, the narrative that M4 bleeds from the source material has led to my personal favorite cinematic interpretation of The Hobbit. This version will be the one I return to for each of my yearly Lord of the Ring's rewatches. Thanks for the great work, M4!

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