What is ‘The Hobbit: An Expected Edit’?

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This time last year I spent over three thousand words moaning about what Peter Jackson did to ‘The Hobbit‘ this year I decided to do something about it. Well I say do something about it, I mean of course sit and wait for someone to do something about it for me. This is someone else’s take on…………………..

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Before I go any further I have to say that I like how even they can’t pretend for long enough to follow the obvious pun through with the title of ‘unexpected edit’. For those who don’t know, people were talking about their intended cuts, edits and reworks before they had left the cinema after seeing the first one roughly four years ago. There are now already a couple knocking around with names such as ‘book cut’ and ‘Tolkien edition’. Now I haven’t seen any other ‘Hobbit’ fan edits  so I can’t compare it to anything other than the, roughly eight hour, cut put out by Peter Jackson.

For those wondering this comes in at three and a half hours so point one to the internet.

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Or two if you go off Martin’s scorekeeping

Now this isn’t called the book edition and there is a reason for this. Albino Orcs hunting them down; still there, wizards with poo on their head; still there and that was what was perhaps most interesting to me while watching this. That being that you can only roll a turd so much. We need the wizard with poo on his head because rather than just leaving the party with the excuse that he is a wizard and has better things to do than play nursemaid to a low level party after some gp, we have to have a “more dramatic” scene where Gandalf sees an orc sign in the middle of nowhere covered by weeds and flashes back to Sylvester McCoy.

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Likewise we need the albino Orc because you can only edit down the final fight so far and that’s what this movie feels like. Trimming down as much fat as possible and telling you to just eat around the rest. In some cases this means cutting bits of the book out with the logic that it is better to loose the Eagles entirely rather than sit through Bilbo jumping down to face the Orcs one on one. Something I completely agree with.

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As for the editing itself, it’s decent as they work to get rid as much of the gumf as possible while keeping it a movie you can follow without having read the book. I’m not sure how much had to do be done to stuff like the music to avoid it cutting out mid beat as we cut away from pointless scenes like the Dwarfs food fighting to better scenes like Bilbo mouthing off to Elves but it’s hard to spot the cuts if you don’t know where you are looking and generally the movie is now decent enough that you shouldn’t be.

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Personally I think the movie could do with loosing another half hour or so but it would be interesting to know how much the movie would still work. Personally the fact that the weird Orc is manning the signal tower is enough to warrant Thorin going after him without twisting a part of the appendices to make it feel more dramatic but then there is the dialogue to consider and of course one thing leads to another and before you know it we have a love triangle between Orlando Bloom a damsel in distress and a Hobbit she probably doesn’t know the last name of. A plot, that is yes, thankfully cut in this version.

Yet we shouldn’t pat ourselves too hard on the back, after all someone managed to get the Hobbit down to under an hour and half all the while including some better songs; but what do I know I struggle to edit my reviews.

In truth this is a pretty good movie made of a not very good trilogy and most of the lingering problems probably couldn’t be solved outside of recasts and re-shoots. In short next time I try a ‘Middle-Earth’ marathon this is the version I shall be going with and I suggest you do too.

Watch it over at ‘The Expected Edit

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4 thoughts on “What is ‘The Hobbit: An Expected Edit’?

  1. Just wanted to pop by and say thanks for this write up! You’re exactly right about the title – I walked out of An Unexpected Journey in December 2012 already thinking about what could be cut, so ‘an unexpected edit’ felt like it would be disingenuous!

    I was desperately trying to get down to the three-hour mark, but as you suggest, it was reaching the point where the slightest trim would pull threads from elsewhere and before I knew it it would make no sense at all. (I tested it out on my Tolkien-phobe Dad, who gamefully struggled through and proclaimed that he could just about follow what was going on!) Having Azog be no more important than the signal operator is an interesting idea though. I did have his screentime reduced at one point, but it felt like he came out of nowhere with rather too much prominence without a couple of reference earlier on.

    I agree that certain elements still don’t really work all that well – the eagles come out of nowhere, but it was that or leave in the finale of An Unexpected Journey, and there’s nothing that could be done about the CGI characters. Overall though I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and I learned a lot about editing from it, which was the main point. I’ve been surprised by the number of views its had over the past few months though, so clearly there are other people who were keen to see something like that! Thanks again for the post, I was wondering why there’d been a little spike in my views!

    • Not sure how many I can claim to have sent your way but any I did is the least I could do for a decent version of the Hobbit to sit between ‘Born of Hope’ and ‘Hunt for Gollum’ in my mega marathon. Something I didn’t mention and probably should have done is tidying up some of the cartoony aspects such as getting rid of the slightly slap stick bridge fall during the mines. Thank you for your time and effort and of course the movie.

      If I may ask, is there any plans for another movie after this? A decent version of the prequel trilogy perhaps?

      • You’re welcome! I’m just glad other people seem to be watching and enjoying it! One of my biggest problems with the trilogy was that the tone seemed all over the place – the cartoony bits you mention don’t seem to sit right with the Goblin King being quite graphically disemboweled…

        Hadn’t really thought about doing any others, it’s a long time since I’ve seen the prequels so that could be interesting, although I know there are a few fanedits around already that are supposed to be great (as well as the apparently amazing Topher Grace cut, but we’re likely never going to get to see that).

        Funny you should mention Hunt for Gollum too – I know the director. Nice chap.

      • Oh well please pass along my best, I really enjoyed that movie.
        Lol maybe now that you have got the Hobbit down to a decent length you could go the other way and start building it up into a trilogy using some of the fan films around. Not sure how that would even work but *shrug*. Well if you do decide to do something else please put it on ‘expected edit’ so we can appreciate it.

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