The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition
a fan edit by Roccondil Rínon
So I’m back to editing. I hadn’t touched my 3-in-1 Hobbit edit in quite a while, but I’ve been inspired to get back and finish the damn thing.
I liked eldusto84’s edit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, very much, but there are a number of things I want to do differently, many of which involve shortening the film even further, but some of which involve reinstating scenes. Mamman’s The Little Hobbit managed to make the film coherent, if rushed at some points, in under 3 hours, which is also the length I’m aiming for. If I can’t get it that short and be happy with it, I’ll be content with under 208 minutes, the length of the shortest Lord of the Rings Extended Edition.
In my first passes, I managed to get the first two movies down to 100 minutes each, and since watching Mamman’s edit I’ve confirmed that I can get rid of plenty more of both of them, probably down to 80 if not 60 minutes each. (My first passes kept Azog, Radagast, Tauriel and Kili’s subplots mostly intact, as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep things coherent without them; the third movie hadn’t come out yet by that point. They’re now definitely all for the chop.)
It won’t be a strict attempt at a book cut, but so long as it’s no less faithful than the LOTR movies, and a suitable prelude to them, I’ll be content. I want to keep it light-hearted and whimsical, without being childish or silly. I find that a lot of edits (not just of this movie, either) go too far in removing whimsy, while leaving in action scenes that could safely be excised. So I’ll be keeping “Blunt the Knives” and some of the dwarvish trolling in Rivendell, as well as Gandalf’s trolling of Beorn from the Extended Edition, while completely eliminating the interminable chase scenes (all three of them) and reducing the Battle of Five Armies itself to maybe five or ten minutes. In fact, I’ll be adding in a few gags that are in neither the book nor the trilogy, such as a smash cut from the dwarves charging the trolls to the trolls cooking the dwarves, and adding some narration from the book (about Rivendell being a perfect place for eating, singing, or just sitting and thinking) over scenes of the dwarves testing the elves’ patience.
For three reasons, I’m going with a roadshow format for this edit.
- Any movie this long needs an intermission. I did once sit through a LOTR Extended Edition marathon at the Astor Theatre (Melbourne’s premier cinema), which was a fantastic experience, not least because (in addition to breaks between the movies themselves) they added proper intermissions at appropriate points.
- I want to be able to release it on single-layer Blu Ray and DVD with maximum quality, which will almost certainly require making a 2-disc set. This also necessitates an intermission. I do have a drive capable of burning BD-50s (got it especially to make my copy of NJVC’s Despecialized set), but I know a lot of people don’t, and the discs themselves are rare and expensive. It also means it will match the Extended Editions of the LOTR trilogy, which all come on two discs.
- Once that was decided, the idea of including an overture, entr’acte and full opening credits was too attractive to resist. I simply love old movies that were made in this format, like Ben-Hur, 2001 and so on (both of which, among others, I also saw in the format at the Astor). I’ve already found (or in one instance, composed) music I want to use for them. They’ll be easily skippable for party-poopers or those in a rush.
JEDIT: I was going to be doing this in 720p, but my equipment can handle 1080p after all, and I can upscale the handful of cropped shots just fine.
Below I’ll post a (more or less) sequence-by-sequence description of the planned project.
Vanity plates and opening titles are rendered and complete, including executive producer credits for Johnny Ringo and a friend from university who bugged me to get back into the project, as well as an “additional visual effects” credit for eldusto84. End titles are composed but not yet rendered (I expect I’ll want to include thanks to some more people on here). Act one (ie. An Unexpected Journey/The Desolation of Smaug) exists in rough draft form, but requires further cutting. Act two hasn’t been started yet.
This post has been edited.
The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition