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The Hobbit: Back Once Again

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It is with some nervousness that I present another fanedit of what I think is the most fanedited franchise after Star Wars.

After years of watching all the single-movie Hobbit edits I could find, looking for the match to my personal taste, I eventually fell down the rabbithole of making my own. This edit has been an on-and-off, year-long journey of discovery for me. I have caught the fanediting bug and am casting about for a new project now that I have done everything to The Hobbit that I can think of. I thought the community might be interested in the result.

Now with demo clip: Durin’s Day, simplified: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWT1Y2yXII
Also 70% Troll Snot Reduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7gLn8p8jYo

Clocking in at just under 2:30 (2:28 in fact!) this is the second-shortest single-movie Hobbit edit that I’ve come across, second only to FekketCantenel’s 2-Hour Hobbit Edit, which was definitely an inspiration. My goal was to create a single movie within the runtime of a theater release that would tell a dang good story from Tolkien’s work.

To that end, my priories in order have been:

  1. Pacing, pacing, pacing
  2. Making sense for viewers without much Tolkien exposure, especially for secondary threads and relevant bits of lore.
  3. Natural visual and auditory flow between scenes (sound editing is hard!)
  4. Removing artificial tension and streamlining the story so that the actual tension can shine.
  5. Highlighting charming scenes, good performances, and gems from the book.
  6. Drawing out non-slapstick levity where possible.

Regarding secondary threads, I’ve tried to answer questions such as:
- What is Elvenking Thranduil’s problem anyway?
- What is Dale and why does it matter? Aren’t the Men living in Laketown?
- Bard is who again? A smuggler? Wait, now someone’s calling him ‘sire’? I tried to give Bard in particular a full character arc and a final sendoff.

Thematically, I consider The Hobbit to be an action-adventure buddy movie. The evolving relationship between Bilbo and Thorin is drawn to the forefront wherever possible.

One feature of this edit that I haven’t seen in other edits is a detailed “copy-editing” pass that targets pregnant pauses, meaningful glances, repeated lines, beating a point to death, excessive foreshadowing, and gags stepping on their own punchline. I think the bloat is particularly hard on comedic timing, though there are some places where tightening really helps dramatic timing as well.

Of note: I have usurped FekketCantenel’s brilliant musical flashback. Once I saw the backstory presented this way, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. That is her work and the work of Clamavi di Profundis (music and music video) except for the Elven lords verse, which I reworked.

I don’t actually know how to post a clip to YouTube. I’ll look into that. Scenes I am particularly proud of are:

The opening of the door into the mountain. I’ve removed all the artificial tension running around (i.e. confusion over moonlight vs. sunlight, despair, dropping and losing the key) and turned it into a triumphant moment where the sun sets, the thrush knocks, the keyhole is revealed, and the Dwarves line up in silent emotion. We don’t need tension and confusion here. We’re about to go visit a dragon. Audio on this scene gave me fits.

Bard vs. Smaug. This is cut as a solo man vs. monster moment. There is no special arrow, no son appearing, and no broken bow. It is just Bard against the dragon in a flaming town, and Bard is down to his last arrow. I think this is plenty nail-biting on its own.

The Unexpected Party got a lot of attention. I tried to keep it from dragging while milking as much lightheartedness from it as I could.

There is 70% snot reduction in the Troll scene.

Other bits that are not unique: All plots have been cut except the journey to and battle for the Lonely Mountain. Azog has been removed until the Battle of Five Armies, where he goes unnamed except for one spot I couldn’t figure out how to remove.

So, that’s the long description. I will send download link on request. That’s the official way this is done, right?

It’s a 5G 1080p mp4.

The Hobbit: Back Once Again

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Clip uploaded to YouTube! Here is the simplified Durin’s Day scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWT1Y2yXII

I have set the clip as “unlisted.” How do you folks usually handle permissions?

I have also discovered that I misspelled “FekketCantenel” in my credit screen at the end headdesk. So I’ll be doing a new version to fix that soon.

ETA: Hmm. The clip doesn’t watch as high-quality as it does on my desktop. I don’t know much about YouTube. I’ve seen some pretty high-quality clips there. At any rate, that’s a demo of the way it’s cut, not the quality of the end result 😕.

The Hobbit: Back Once Again

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Have pm’ed you asking for link please.

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Added a second demo clip with the troll scene involving less gross body humor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7gLn8p8jYo

Seriously, the dialogue is what makes that scene funny. Stretching strands of snot less so, at least to my taste 😃. And closeups on butt-scratching are right out. But I have to say, “Look what come out of me hooter!” does make me laugh, so the nose blowing isn’t all for naught.

The Hobbit: Back Once Again

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I don’t know what it is about the original troll scene but it’s a total black hole of humor for me, and I even laugh at the Goblin King and the barrel chase antics.

Maybe it’s my preconceptions of how trolls have been portrayed in the Lord of the Rings - could you imagine the cave troll in Fellowship making quippy smalltalk, or gushing about a soup’s boquet? I imagined that they would think and talk slowly, almost Entlike, which is why they were still arguing about dinner when the sun came up. As it is they are just embarrassingly stupid.

If only there was a way to cut the whole thing…

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
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Yeah, the trolls in The Hobbit are kind of jarring when compared to LotR, but I consider them their own thing. Though it isn’t identical, the dialogue is pretty close in spirit to what’s in the book, and I think the book scene is pretty funny. I found the scene as released in the film to be horrifying – the butt-scratching and egregious snot just made me cringe. Without it, and accepting that these are just not LotR trolls, I personally think some funny was recovered.

It seems like it might be possible to make a cut where our heroes stumble upon the trolls already turned to stone and still raid their stash to get the swords. More aggressively, one might be able to cut the scenes with Elrond analyzing the swords and the goblins freaking out at Orcrist. That leaves Sting, which is Sting – cuttable, but a great loss. One might be able to trim the scene of Gandalf giving it to Bilbo to make the context obscure. Maybe he just happened to have it lying around in his wizard stash.

That’s not this edit though.

The Hobbit: Back Once Again