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9.7 14 10
FanFix September 07, 2014 3732
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This fan edit does everything right: it cuts out a ton of padding and unwanted subplots, it's got excellent audio and video quality throughout, and it tells a coherent, well-paced story. Yet, despite that, I still found myself as bored and frustrated as I had been with the theatrical cut.

The problem is not with the editor, it's with Peter Jackson. And having seen this edit - that cuts out nearly an hour from the original movie - I've concluded that Desolation of Smaug is beyond saving. There is one very simple reason for this: Jackson misguidedly sought to replicate the tone of his Lord of the Rings trilogy instead of replicating the tone of the book.

Whereas the Lord of the Rings novels had end-of-the-world stakes upon which an increasingly dire, dramatic tone was appropriate, in the case of The Hobbit it's completely inappropriate. The Hobbit story just isn't grand enough and the stakes aren't high enough, and so it all becomes a total drag. Worse, the whimsical and funny charm of the book has been almost entirely abandoned, when it should have been front and centre.

The Hobbit should have been a short, fun adventure starring Bilbo Baggins. What we've got instead has been a deathly long melodrama starring Thorin Oakenshield, with Bilbo as one of his sidekicks.

That said, if you liked the original cut of DOS but considered it a bit on the long side you'll love this edit. It's as good as this film is ever likely to get.

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