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IFDB Review: Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Arkenstone Edition, The:
#1
Just chiming in to add that this edit got me to this site [and the world of fan-editing in general]. This is not a purist cut; it's a cut that exercises good judgement, across the board. There are maybe 4-5 minutes of footage I’d see additionally cut from Arkenstone AUJ, mostly material involving Azog (the warg chase, Amon Sul, and the Azog/Thorin duel in Out of the Frying Pan). Otherwise it’s perfect—it leaves in (compressed versions of) the useful additions to the book (White Council, Radagast) while losing the stupid parts (the stick bug, the hedgehog, Galadriel telepathy and teleporting, the Stone Giants, the Goblintown hamster wheel etc.) Other scenes are trimmed to make them work a lot better in the awkward tonal place PJ has put the movie in by adapting it as a LOTR prequel—Kerr carefully edits scenes like the trolls and Goblin King to retain some of the Hobbit’s levity but still in a world that feels recognizably like that in LOTR—no mean feat. The extended editions are lightly mined (specifically, the fantastic work with Bilbo in Rivendell), pulling only what’s necessary without rebloating the run time.I watched it with four diehard fans of LOTR, all of whom absolutely loathed AUJ's theatrical release, and I’ve recommended it to other friends. All have had a uniformly ecstatic reaction (although none go as far as me to say it approaches ROTK, which I consider the low end of the LOTR trilogy.)The only minor complaint, and I understand that it has to do with the available audio, is that some of the mixing in Hobbiton makes the dialogue a bit hard to follow. That’s it. That’s all I have to complain about, in an otherwise fantastic edit. I will never again watch the theatrical or extended cuts, and I refuse to allow members of my family to see them—Arkenstone only. This is the definitive Hobbit AUJ. I'd love to see you do a similar prudent, but not book purist edit, combining material from the DoS and BOFA extended editions, as a first pass before you release your 2015 purist one alluded to in the headnotes to this.

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