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The Hobbit (M4 Book Edit)

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 (Edited)

Hey guys, about 4 months ago I finished this edit, which I worked on for about a year. I’ve been constantly updating it and working it with new feedback, but now I think I am very close to being done, if not done already.

Now you’re probably thinking what makes this edit special, why did I do this, there’s already so many edits, well, the simple answer is: There are actually very few one-movie book themed edits. The large majority of edits remove sillyness, but keep the entertaining made-up sideplots or aspects of the story, even if inaccurate. This usually results in cutting 3 movies into 2, usually around 5-6 hours total. Then there’s the opposite end, I have seen numerous edits that reduce the entire trilogy into just one regular length 2-3 hour film, often cutting out book material.

Instead, I really enjoy the middle ground, which is keeping it long enough to tell the full (mostly) accurate story of Bilbo, not too long, not too short. I have been able to turn the extended editions of the Hobbit trilogy into one long, accurate & enjoyable Middle Earth film that sits better with the LOTR Extended Editions. None of the previous edits I have seen quite did it for me. So with mine, the runtime is 4 hours including credits, for comparison:

The Hobbit – 242 Mins (If you’ve seen my edit it used to be 240, but I’ve done some updates recently)
Fellowship of the Ring – 228 Mins
Two Towers – 235 Mins
Return of the King – 263 Mins

Covert art (Unfinished): https://imgur.com/a/YaHjEE0

The major book edits I know of are the classic “Tolkien Edit,” (which is very old and put together quickly since it was the first edit, so it’s not the most professional, but was still a great proof of concept and piece of history) and then the famous “Maple Edit.” I had a few differing opinions from both of these edits, so why not just make my own? I picked up the book and started reading it again while I was editing, then over a year later here we are.

Before I get into a pretty long list of changes and unique techniques I used, I want to point out: While I do call it a “book edit,” I would say it is in the same ballpark of accuracy as the LOTR films, because of course there are going to be minor deviations for the sake of the film, but overall it sticks to the story written by Tolkien. I wanted to point this out so no one gets the wrong idea and thinks I have stripped everything from these movies to be overly purist, no, I recognize when a movie needs to be different, but for The Hobbit, this was extremely overdone.

Summary of Changes:

  • First off I want to address the “big transition” between AUJ into Dos. I decided to make my edit 2 parts, although, the digital version is combined into one movie file. That means the disc version is actually two separate files. It’s been split in half because 1) now the parts can fit on 2 discs perfectly 2) it recreates how each LOTR extended edition was split in half 3) most importantly, with an intermission I can cover up the mediocre transition by Peter Jackson that’s impossible to fix

  • I have also done some additional improvements to the flow of them running into Beorn’s house, showing them progress through the forest, establishing that the Wargs from the previous part are still a threat, without showing Azog, there’s no random shots of them running across a huge plain like in the original movie, overall it flows extremely well.

  • Note: Extended Editions were used as a base AND this is just a summary, I have done too many changes to list on this thread!

An Unexpected Party

  • The movie begins like the book with the hole in the ground dialogue, and we skip the huge prologue. This sequence is not needed, because leaving the audience in the shadow allows for them to learn and discover more about the story as we progress, it also makes it even more special when we finally see the lonely mountain/Erebor. The special features included on the disc version actually do include this flashback, along with 2 others, as three “history shorts” which you can read more about on my website.

  • Frodo cameo reduced to 30 seconds, no dialogue

  • After this quick intro of Old Bilbo, we move into the past and the main story. The whole Shire sequence is the same as the original except for a few minor trims.

  • Blunt the Knive song is kept because it was in the book! But I have removed one stanza and all of the ridiculous plate tricks, so we still get to enjoy Tolkien’s song, while watching Dwarves clean up and toss plates instead of doing a circus act

Roast Mutton

  • Removed Moria flashback, there is no Azog sideplot/overarching villain. Each sequence of the movie is its own threat and adventure, like the book. Azog shows up marching to the lonely Mountain at the same time as Gandalf warning the others about Orcs. It is explained that they just want to take over the mountain/the riches, like the other races. Azog is still their leader, but is unnamed (So we can assume he’s Bolg), similar to the role of Gothmog or Lurtz, like they don’t really have a huge beef with anyone, they are just the “bad guy” that our hero needs to kill to win. So until that final act, there are no references, hints, or mentions to Azog at all in my edit.

  • Removed Radagast, in fact, he’s gone from the entire movie along with Dol Guldur.

  • Toned down some of the Troll sillyness, without the Trolls slapping and abusing each other, all 3 seem a big stronger and scarier which works well. I also removed a few parts of the fight, including Ori using a slingshot. I might as well say, any future instance of Dwarves doing idiotic tricks or moves, dodging arrows with a sword, spinning tricks, hitting Orcs without seeing them, etc. are all removed throughout the entire edit, so now I won’t have to mention them every time.

  • Dwarves do not disagree with Bilbo saying they are infected, to delay the Trolls, so the company appears a little smarter now.

  • The Dwarves explore the Troll cave and then we naturally transition to a hiking montage of them entering Rivendell, without the made-up warg chase

A Short Rest

  • The Dwarves enter Rivendell, to Thorin’s surprise. It is assumed Gandalf led the company through one of the side entrances without telling them where it led.

  • Removed some excessive silliness, including the dancing on top of the table at dinner, and the Dwarves swimming in the fountain

  • Removed all of the White Council and references to them, instead, Elrond and Gandalf discuss the quest, Thorin overhears them and gets upset, so he takes the company out of Rivendell first thing in the morning.

Over Hill and Under Hill

  • No more rock giants, because these were overdone. Instead, the company faces a dangerous thunderstorm and avalanche, so they go inside the cave

  • Goblin caves color corrected to appear less bright & orange.

  • Kept the song, like the book, but removed all cringey footage of the Goblin King, so the song is also a tad bit shorter

  • I still have the Dwarf escape fight later, because the audience needs some more action by now, but as I have said earlier, I’ve removed all silly Dwarf fighting tricks that just made the audience want to facepalm, so they fight like normal Dwarves now, and overall the escape is much quicker, skipping the worst parts.

Riddles in the Dark

  • Scene is slightly darker, but no other changes

Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

  • Scene is slightly darker

  • Removed the LOTR music cue when Bilbo looks suspicious with the ring. Other than the moment he picks up the ring, and the moment we transition from Hobbit to FotR, there are no excessive LOTR music cues, hints, petting the ring, making him angrier because of the ring, killing the baby spiders, etc. In The Hobbit the ring didn’t really have it’s full power/effect so it wasn’t doing much to Bilbo. No one knows, not even Gandalf, that the ring is extremely dangerous. It is only in FotR when Gandalf/the audience discovers the true power of it, and it starts effecting Bilbo’s personality more.

  • Wargs and some Orcs come to chase them down, but Azog is not present, as I have described earlier, he only shows up in the final battle. This means no Thorin charge, no Bilbo saving the day, etc. They escape by Eagle, and have a rest on Carrock. Just like the book.

Intermission/insert next disc

Queer Lodgings

  • Time jump, it is now nighttime and they have progressed a little. But by now, the wargs have almost caught up to them, and Bilbo discovers Beorn. With no choice, Gandalf leads the company out of the forest into Beorn’s house. No random shots of the running across a plain.

  • Removed all of the Sauron/Azog related talk that starts with Beorn/Gandalf and continues throughout. We are still focused on the company & Bilbo.

  • Gandalf leaves to investigate the marking he found at the entrance of Mirkwood, and it is explained later that he discovers an Orc army marching towards the mountain. That means there is no more need for the huge Dol Guldur sideplot.

Flies and Spiders

  • Removed Bilbo going crazy on the baby spider

  • Removed the Legolas stunt, reduced his character to 60 second cameo. Tauriel has about 60 seconds of screentime as well.

  • Removed Gimli reference, too on the nose.

Barrels Out of Bond

  • Follows the book very close, they escape, and we cut the entire river battle with a nice transition

A Warm Welcome

  • Alfrid reduced to background character with only 1 line. Master removed, except for his part in the town square with Thorin

  • Removed Bard sideplot, instead, there is just a conflict between him and the master on whether or not the Dwarves should go. No crazy spies, no prophecy, no climbing through toilets, etc. Follows the book here.

  • All Dwarves leave together to the mountain, no one left behind

On the Doorstep

  • Dwarves do not give up instantly when it hits night, Bilbo (visually) discovers that there’s still a chance, and luckily, the company didn’t leave so they all gaze upon the key hole and enter together.

Inside Information/Not at Home

  • Dwarves never enter Erebor, until Smaug leaves

  • Restructured some of the dialogue with Bilbo/Smaug so it basically mirrors the book (This was really neat)

  • Smaug breaks out of Erebor, jump cut to the Dwarves hearing a loud crashing sound (That my friend, was a dragon), then we cut to the people of laketown starting to panic because they heard it too, then we cut back to Smaug flying, NO COVERED IN GOLD PART

Fire and Water

  • Bard doesn’t have to escape jail, he just grabs his bow and gets ready to kill the dragon

  • Bard kills the dragon without the help of his son

  • Removed the Master trying to sneak away with all the gold

The Gathering of the Clouds

  • So many minor cuts, but it flows really well, just like the book, in terms of Bard/Thorin’s dialogue, the aftermath of Laketown, etc. As always, still removing Alfrid/Dol Guldur/Azog

  • As the Elves, Men, and Dwarves are preparing for battle, we get a brief introduction to the Orcs also coming to attack, they have heard about Smaug’s death (Balin: Word will spread, soon everyone in Middle Earth will know, the dragon is dead - foreshadowing)

A Thief in the Night

  • Reverted some of the Extended scenes throughout the BOTFA that were not in the book, not just this chapter, but I thought I’d mention it at least

The Clouds Burst

  • The dialogue/scene outside the front gate is just like the book, or as close as possible, there’s no shoe horned references to selling the Arkenstone to Gondor, or Thorin crazily yelling he’ll kill everyone. Dragon sickness is removed in my edit, it’s just a metaphorical thing, relating to greed, mentioned a few times, but the problem with Thorin is his excessive greed and pride, which he overcomes later. By toning down his craziness/sickness, we don’t have to explain it as a literal “dragon sickness” that runs in his family or whatever.

  • Here we cut to the Theatrical version of Dain’s arrival, right before they start fighting, they hear a horn sound off, and suddenly Orcs are charging out of tunnels in the mountain and Azog announces his presence.

  • The BOTFA is extremely restructured, it would be way too much to write about here, in summary/off the top of my head: No goats, no legolas/alfrid/dragon sickness craze/troll catapults. They fight, start losing, Thorin charges out, Bilbo gets knocked out, Thorin/Fili/Kili try to kill the orc leader, but all end up dying, Bilbo wakes up, turns out Thorin did kill Azog, but turns out Thorin is dying too.

The Return Journey

  • Thorin’s funeral has the deleted Gandalf speech perfectly re-inserted

The Last Stage

  • Removed Bilbo lying to Gandalf about the ring, they part ways as good friends

  • Redid credits to reflect my edit, any characters reduced from starring list/removed entirely. New music that fits well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ymgFyzbDo Plus 2 pieces of soundtrack after this finishes

That was just a summary, as I said, I read while I edited and I have a full extremely long list on my website.

TLDR: In summary, yes, mine is similar to the Maple Edit for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing, but my major differences that I have: Less Azog, more like the book (No river battle, we spend more time in Mirkwood), subtle character changes (I don’t have dragon sickness/Bilbo lying to Gandalf/Bilbo’s personality changing from ring), I have a thunderstorm sequence in place of rock giants instead of skipping over, I have a different transition from movie 1-> movie 2, instead of cutting from Troll caves->Rivendell I now have a natural hiking montage in-between, I’ve reduced master/Alfid even more, I removed the black-arrow only rule, I removed the Dwarves actually entering Erebor and fighting Smaug which was really silly, I removed Bard’s son helping him kill Smaug, and probably many more small differences. While we all edit under the theme of being a “book edit,” it still leaves so much room for our unique vision, opinions, and techniques - which is great, meaning there probably will never an “be all & end all” to Hobbit book edits; mine is yet another to the list, with enough changes to justify standing on its own.

If anyone is interested, feel free to message me to see the website 😃

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I’d be very interested in checking out your edit. I’ve done several different versions of the Hobbit for my own use, but I always enjoy checking out other people’s work. I like how much attention to detail you have in regards to making it the truest book cut it can be.

Can’t wait to see it!