Presenting THE THIRD AGE, a Movie-to-TV edit of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings film trilogies.
Aaaaaand that’s all eight episodes of the Hobbit season complete, uploaded, and available. I’d love your feedback.
The project has two goals:
- GOAL ONE: To present the story of all six films in a TV format, with the Hobbit films forming the first season and the Lord of the Rings films forming the second, as if they had been produced as a high-budget TV series like Game of Thrones or the forthcoming Middle-Earth TV show set in the second age.
- GOAL TWO: To vastly improve the Hobbit ‘season’, and make it the worthy and enjoyable predecessor to the Lord of the Rings films that it always should have been.
The TV format has allowed me to make certain elegant changes which movie edits have struggled to work around given the source material. I won’t spoil them here, but both fans of the movies and haters of the Hobbit films should find themselves pleasantly suprised!
This entire project grew from the observation that there are good natural thematic breakpoints which pace the story well, but I’m also not just arbitrarily cutting around the 45 minute mark. The TV format allows me to reorder scenes slightly, into more cohesive thematic chunks, so you should be able to feel like you watched a complete end-to-end episode in a given viewing. (With an assumed week’s wait between episodes.) Again, I don’t want to spoil too much, but ‘Riddles in the Dark’ and ‘The Lonely Mountain’ take on a deeper meaning, and interesting sub-plots like the disappearance of Thrain are allowed to become the focus of a single episode, for example.
I achieve the goal of improving the Hobbit through using AdamDens’ masterful three-to-two movie duology, ‘The Gathering of The Clouds’/‘There and Back Again’, as my primary source, however there isn’t an episode produced that I haven’t further modified in some way. I’m really pleased with some of the cuts I’ve been able to make, and am proud to present this as the Hobbit I believe it always should have been.
SEASON ONE (THE HOBBIT) CHANGES
These episodes contain MAJOR CHANGES TO THE HOBBIT MOVIES with the intent of minimising poor humour, cartoonish physics, and unwelcome sub-plots, whilst focusing on the stories of Bilbo, Thorin, and Gandalf, and maximising the growing threat of Sauron and cohesiveness with the Lord of the Rings films.
- Restructured into eight ~45 minute episodes, with bold title cards to give the impression of book chapters.
- Introduced credits for each episode including episode-specific credits music to make it feel like a TV series.
- Restructured some scenes for pacing, such as introducing fewer plots at the beginning all at once, introducing Azog later (since we don’t need a new main villain like the first movie did), and making the investigation of the Necromancer more of a developing mystery.
- Used alternate subtitles for Black Speech, to simplify and better contextualise the villains’ motives, enhance the Necromancer subplot, and help contextualise the attack on the Dwarves and the Lonely Mountain as an early strategic move of Sauron’s in the war for Middle Earth.
- Removed as much silliness as possible, such as some of Radagast’s eccentricities, the Trolls’ snot jokes, and Dwarven antics (where they appear silly or abrasive, as opposed to merely uncouth)
- Removed as much cringe as possible, such as the Tauriel romance, most of Alfrid’s antics, the Dwarven forge and golden dragon, and Dain’s swearing and modern slang
- Removed as much cartoon physics as possible, or situations characters only survive through luck, such as with the storm giants, during the barrel riding scene, the goblin halls (including the major falls), and the final battles
- Removed as much obvious/bad CG as possible, such as the Goblin King’s wobbly singing, a lot of Legolas’ superpowers
- Tightened or removed scenes to keep up the pace and keep the focus on character drama and characters we’re emotionally invested in, such as removing the warg attack on the party, removing the warg attack on Lake-town, removing Legolas from the final fight on ravenhill, and trimming Thorin waiting patiently for Azog to jump out of the ice.
SPECIFIC SCENE CHANGES:
- OPENING: Far tighter and with less of the scenes in the shire which don’t move the plot forward, with some of Thorin’s flashbacks moved to later
- BILBO’S HOME: Dwarves are less goofy and only sing their ‘misty mountain’ song but not ‘smash the plates’.
- TROLLS: Far less snot jokes and other unfunny bits.
- RIVENDELL: Dwarves are less goofy and less awful dinner guests - they’re uncouth, not ‘hilariously’ abrasive. The tension between Dwarves and Elves is emphasised.
- MOUNTAIN PASS: Trimmed storm giants
- GOBLIN CAVES: No unbelievable physics, no Goblin King singing, tightened for pacing.
- ESCAPE FROM THE GOBLIN CAVES: No warg chase from the Goblin tunnels (though tension is retained), no initial showdown with Azog with forced emotional stakes for Thorin and Bilbo. Their relationship develops much more naturally.
- ARRIVAL AT MIRKWOOD: Split into two scenes between two episodes. Now, when they arrive, Bilbo immediately feels the pull of the ring and Gandalf notices immediately, before Bilbo lies about finding the ring; at the start of the next episode Gandalf explores Mirkwood and warns the party of its dangers, before they enter alone.
- THE WOODLAND REALM: No Tauriel romance. Heavy trims to barrel-riding scene to minimise cringe, bad physics, and Legolas superpowers.
- LAKETOWN: Minimised Alfrid and the Master. No Warg attack. No Tauriel romance.
- THE LONELY MOUNTAIN: No Smaug forge scene, no golden Dragon.
- SMAUG’S ATTACK ON LAKETOWN: Tightened for pacing and focus on characters we care about.
- BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES: Trimmed Dain’s dialogue, nearly no Alfrid, trimmed flow of the battle, trimmed the more ludicrous CG, no Tauriel romance, no Legolas superpowers on the fallen tower/bridge, tightened final battle between Thorin and Azog.
This won’t be a book purity cut - this will be a cut which aims to produce the best possible version of the movies we were given, in a way that makes them feel like a worthy lead-in to LotR.
I have to emphasize here my reliance on AdamDens’ incredible source. He put two years of work into his three-to-two movie project, creating all new scenes, performing colour grading and other visual edits, modifying audio and subtitles. My Hobbit season contains some changes on top of AdamDens, including a few edits I’d consider major (which you can see in this thread), but my edit is nevertheless massively indebted to his work.
SEASON TWO (LOTR) CHANGES
- Replaced scene of Bilbo finding the ring with the appropriate scene from the Hobbit
- Removed Gandalf saying “You haven’t aged a day”, since our Bilbo actors do look different ages. I know that in the book that was intended as literally true, but we do have two different faces here, and Bilbo clearly has aged more than a day.
I don’t expect to need to make other edits to the Lord of the Rings movies other than chopping them into episodes, though I may make very minor, extremely light-touch changes if it helps the episodic format work.
FULL SERIES CHANGES:
- Once I’ve completed all episodes for both seasons (Hobbit and LotR), I’m going to see if I can do anything nice with the first episodes of both seasons to make it a bit more chronological and accessible for the first-time viewer. I plan to move ‘Concerning Hobbits’ from LotR to part of the introduction for the Hobbit, and play around with the scenes set around the time of Bilbo’s 111th Birthday Party. But this will probably constitute a version 2.
Season One (The Hobbit) - ALL COMPLETE, running at 6h29m instead of 8h52m (2h23m cut)
The Hobbit (45:24) - COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring Old Bilbo’s bookend, the Erebor introduction, Bilbo joining the Dwarves, and Radagast investigating Mirkwood
An Unexpected Journey (45:37) - COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring trolls, Rivendell, the first meeting of the White Council, and the mountain pass
Riddles in the Dark (53:10) - COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring goblins, Gandalf investigating the nine’s graves, Gollum, and Beorn
The Return of the Shadow (54:33) - COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring the Gandalf-meets-Thorin flashback, Mirkwood, the Woodland Realm, barrel riding, and Gandalf confronting the Necromancer
The Lonely Mountain - (44:07) - COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring Bard, Laketown, the arrival at the Lonely Mountain, and the White Council coming to Gandalf’s aid
The Desolation of Smaug - (45:05) COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring Smaug the Magnificent, O Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities
The Battle of the Five Armies - (45:32) COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring the fallout of Smaug’s death, Thorin’s madness, and the initial clash of the five armies
There and Back Again - (54:01) COMPLETE AND AVAILABLE
Featuring more of the Battle of the Five Armies, the strike on Azog on ravenhill, the Erebor conclusions, and Bilbo’s return home
Season Two (The Lord of the Rings)
13-15 episodes depending on sensible cuts - NOT YET STARTED
This is my very first editing project so feedback is absolutely welcome, encouraged, and requested.
Many thanks for your interest!
PM for links to the folder.