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…………………..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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‘