M4's The Hobbit Book Edit

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9.8 (55)
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10.0
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9.0
The edit is as close to the book you can get. This is probably the reason this edit really shines in the narrative. The pacing is so good the four hours really fly by when watching this edit. It also includes some impressive VFX edits that haven’t been done before in Hobbit edits, to make certain scenes work better.

Unfortunately going by the book while being limited to the source material leads to some compromises during the last stages of the battle of five armies, which reduce the enjoyment for me. The way it is structured is not too bad. However, when most of the edit is so well made that it could be an official ”The Hobbit Extended Edition”, certain parts of the end battle just made me feel too much like watching a fan edit in comparison.

That being said, this edit has earned its place for me whenever I want to watch the Hobbit in a single 4+ hour marathon session. My favorite way of doing it would be watching this for the first 3:23.55 leading right up to the battle of five armies, and then finishing with Episode 5 of Stromboli Bones’ Edit for a version of the battle that fits my tastes better.

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Yes
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Digital
J
2 reviews
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Overall rating
 
9.4
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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8.0
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8.0
The M4 Book edit takes the extended Hobbit trilogy and only cuts what wasn't present in the book. Whist this does remove bad elements such as Legolas being forced into the movie and the love triangle which everyone despised, it also cuts parts that were enjoyable such as shortening the "Blunt the Knives" song (Which is one of my favorites alongside misty mountains) in favor of minimizing the fantastical elements. The new VFX are seamless but I feel this edit, although true to its goal, cuts too much of what I enjoyed on top of what I didn't. If you're looking for a truly faithful adaptation of the book, here it is. But if you enjoyed the Hobbit movies for what they were, you may find certain elements lacking.

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Yes
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Digital
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10.0
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10.0
Top notch. I just finished the whole movie (and have watched most of the commentary audio too).

I have to say.. wow, bravo. I doubt that I'll have anything to say that hasn't already been said by others, but I still feel like I want to state them anyway, and to pay respects to the creator.

I've pretty much always hated The Hobbit movies ever since first seeing them in theaters. The gross overuse of CGI, the over-the-top buffoonery of the dwarves, unnecessary slapstick humor like the trolls and potty humor, etc. All the unnecessary fluff, added characters, etc. that not only were not in the book but also totally broke the pacing of the movie and turned them into snorefests.

What M4 has done with this edit is jaw-dropping. The sheer attention to detail, the near flawless transitions (I couldn't think of a single time I noticed a cut was made- this is seriously impressive.

Cutting out Azog and all the orc chasing of the party was one of the best decisions I could imagine. One of my biggest gripes about the original movies was how little room for any meaningful character development between the party. One of the main reasons? The constant peril they are in, non-stop, to the point where it becomes exhausting to watch. Good pacing requires a balancing of action, threat of danger, and quiet moments dedicated to exposition and character development and relationships. I applaud the creator for managing this with the existing footage. By cutting out Azog and him constantly popping up to hinder the company, we're able to focus more on their bonding as a group. Not to mention, it much better fits the less serious tone of the Hobbit when compared to it's more serious and darker counterpart (Lord of the Rings).

Watching this cut, I also barely noticed the CGI. As I said before, watching the uncut movies, I couldn't get past that and it totally broke the immersion. Very impressively done.

Long story short- I found myself actually enjoying watching this movie, whereas before, I only enjoyed one-off scenes (like the great riddles in the dark scene). I especially appreciate all the attention to detail- not making the hobbits these amazing warriors, cutting out the part of Bilbo watching Gollum drop the ring before his finding it, all the audio and soundtrack touches, etc. Way too many to mention.

Thanks so much M4 for putting this together! With this cut of The Hobbit, I can finally add it alongside my watch-throughs of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Can't wait to share this with my friends and family!

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Yes
Format Watched?
Blu-Ray
J
1 reviews
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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
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9.0
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10.0
Really enjoyed this! Seamless cuts, nice flow, and some very impressive VFX. Probably my new favorite way to watch The Hobbit!!

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Yes
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E
1 reviews
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Overall rating
 
9.4
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
First of all, I would like to say my brief thoughts on the original Hobbit Trilogy and other edits that I've seen, plus my relationship with LotR in general. I have read The Hobbit and the LotR trilogy many years ago, although I did that after seing LotR in cinema. I enjoyed all of them, it is an amazing work that changed and shaped the fantasy theme forever. I also loved the LotR movies, seen them many times both in theatrical and extended versions. The Hobbit films on the other hand, not so much, with the exception of the first. I also did watch them several times, both theatrical and extended versions. The first one I really liked, I don't care that it alleviated from the book. I didn't like every minute of it, nor did I enjoy having as a new main villain a cgi monster, but whatever. Let's just say that from the overall three hours extended version, I could easily cut 20-30 minutes and be completely happy. The second Hobbit, was just a drag. It wasn't bad per se, I was just bored out of my mind, felt like a filler. Finally, the third one I really disliked. At first I thought, ok we went through the filler the last time, now it will be the good stuff. Nope, that was a bad movie alright. But I should have known, when they decided to make a trilogy out of a 300 pages book and some extra notes.

Before this I watched "The Hobbit, There and Back Again" version, by L8wrtr. Unfortunately, he saved only the second film for me. To be more specific, I was fine with everything up until the death of Smaug. So, overall, the third film remained to be saved. I needed a more aggressive edit. When I remembered to search about it, there where actually quite a few of them, but I saw lots of people mentioning this and Maple's edit, so I went with this. I checked to see the runnitme here after the death of Smaug, and I realised that M4 had cut an extra 20 minutes compared to L8wrtr's version. So I thought, maybe this will do it. Yeap, it did!

FIrst of all, even thought I was ok with the folllowing in the original, I realised I didn't mind at all or even liked:
- that Galadriel was gone
- Radagast too
- the fight with "Sauron", Gandalf, Galadriel etc bye bye
- Azog was only at the end as an unknown leader
- Legolas was as a cameo
- and the most important change of all, the removal of Arkenstone's effect on Thorin. Now, the overall problem was greed, one of the oldest reasons in history of "man".

Be that as it may, although I understand that the editor was going for a "book edit", I couldn't get over the following two cuts (the third one I just went with it):
- Firstly, the flashback of the war with the dwarves and Azog, was a much needed scene in order to establish Thorin as a character and make the audience understand where he comes from and why he is a little bit of a jerk. After all, besides Bilbo, he is the main character, so the background was important aaand it didn't contradicted the fact that we see him again at the end of this edit.
- My second issue has to do with the second and third film. Removing everything about Bard, first of all created a missing part with the destruction of the town, where everyone suddenly is safe and sound in a camp, after the onslaught of Smaug at Laketown. I mean, at one moment Smaug destroys everything and Bard kills him and then "everyone" is ok outside the city. Secondly, it wasn't a bad plot having Bard playing a role as a leader to these people, it actually enriched the character.
- Lastly, by removing everything that actually involved Gandalf offscreen, it made him look as if he is always missing for no reason! It makes the viewer wonder, why isn't Gandalf, yet again, with the company? What on earth is he doing?

So, for anyone who is a purist or didn't like all of the films, I most definitely recommend this version! I mean, how much more to cut out without it becoming a mess? And a huge plus, it has subtitles!!! For me, it will be my go-to version for the last two films. I checked if I can watch this after I watch L8wrtr's version up until the death of Smaug, but it's not possible, they contradict each other a lot. So I will either watch L8wrtr's edit of the first one or even the original movie and for the last two films, M4's will be my go-to version!

Thank you M4_ and thanks to anyone who read my review!

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Owner's reply February 20, 2022

Thank you for the review! I really appreciate all the kind words. I think what you wrote is very fair, I am glad it has become your go-to version :)

Though just to comment, with the Azog flashback I can see why you think it would be a positive, but it goes against the essence of the edit. At the least, I do have it on the special features. But in the main cut, it was basically my goal to entirely remove that sideplot and center the story around Bilbo, while leaving Thorin's arc/motivations centered around the Mountain, which we see introduced heavily in Bag End, that's truly why he is a jerk.

As for removing everything with Bard, I agree that he is a good character and deserves to be fleshed out, which is why I didn't feel I removed too much of him. It was mostly elements that had to do with weird sideplots (like Alfrid). Such as, with the transition from killing Smaug to suddenly being outside of the city, that was essentially how it played out in the original with the exception of Tauriel's inclusion. I do wish I could improve that shore scene a little more and get Alfrid out entirely, but ah only so much you can do. Anyways, thanks again man for watching and leaving a review!

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