Hal 9000 said:
Just glanced at it. It fails my litmus test, at about 2hr13m. Oh, well.
Well, m4 here, I think this is a pretty poor outlook to be honest for 2 reasons.
Number 1 I’ve never had a complaint about the river transition’s technical aspect until now, which you even admitted it worked better than other times. Seems more like a personal grudge, which is very ironic considering the general topic of editing lotr/hobbit is to follow the book, even in this post. Such an anti book moment surely should be removed. Anyways, the music is smoothed out as much as possible. I’ve actually redone it since then, but same idea: the action-y music fits with the initial excitement of them escaping, but as they drift off into the distance they are finally free and can relax, which is when the softer music fades in. I think it works quite well.
Number 2, thematically speaking/in terms of story, my edit (as heavily advertised) is a “book edit” so including anything from the river battle would be a complete failure. Maple edit is advertised as a book edit, so far in fact that he puts Tolkien’s name in the title, but fails to stick to that concept.
On top of that, as someone who has studied hobbit edits and worked on mine for over a year, you cite Maple as being the best edit, which contains more than just a few small problems. If you were to have a fair “litmus test for abrupt/silly moments” compared to the original movie/other edits it would certainly fail. Such as the company cutting from the outside the troll cave to literally instantly in Rivendell no hiking transition whatsoever, Smaug being covered in color adjusted “red gold” shaking it off, Dain headbutting 5 Orcs, Dwarves entering Erebor and fighting Smaug, Legolas being present in a river orc-battle in The Hobbit, Bard getting arrested and throwing a rope onto the Master’s head to escape from jail, the entire dragon sickness sideplot. But remember this is JRR Tolkien’s book version of the movie…? Are any of those things really less ridiculous than such a simple music transition…?
Judging an entire edit from one transition doesn’t seem very constructive. Seems more ignorant to do so when those other edits (which have cut the river, such as mine) actually have a lot of improved editing techniques to offer that build on top of the old edits back from 2015 such as Maple.
Your litmus test theory doesn’t make any sense to me. Movies that supposedly “pass” it in your book have blaring issues which certainly effect a first time viewers sense of belief and interest (in it being a book edited version) way more than having the one cut in question. Numerous test audiences not only were accepting of this transition, they actually complemented it and were relieved as we cut down the river. I would rather trust a test audience then a supposedly technical film-making pacing/tone critique of the score change. Although, I assume you would not make a book edit from your list it seems, just a good/short movie, so different goals in different edits at the end of the day, but that doesn’t mean having a certain transition causes it to “fail” as an edit, especially if you skipped the entire movie…