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Hobbit 3-film edits: Arkenstone vs. Chris Hartwell

octoroxx

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Hey, does anyone know what the key differences between these edits are? I’ve seen the first Arkenstone edition and loved it but haven’t seen the other two. I haven’t even been able to find cutlists for the Chris Hartwell versions but they seem to be pretty popular. Has anyone seen both of these? Are there any other 3-film edits that people would recommend?
 

stferguson78

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octoroxx said:
Hey, does anyone know what the key differences between these edits are? I’ve seen the first Arkenstone edition and loved it but haven’t seen the other two. I haven’t even been able to find cutlists for the Chris Hartwell versions but they seem to be pretty popular. Has anyone seen both of these? Are there any other 3-film edits that people would recommend?

Wraith released a couple of versions of a combined Hobbit edit recently, one for every preference & highly recommended. The maple edit is also very strong but it very much depends on what your looking for- book cut, LOTR tone/prequel or just the best version of the movie possible...
 

octoroxx

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Thanks for the input. I'm really looking for edits that keep each film separate though.
 

catferoze

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I'm with you on finding the best 3 film edits. I've found the 3-in-1 or 3-in-2 edits to have pretty major pacing and structural issues. I also want to enjoy as much of those films as I can.

My favourite edit I've seen is easily TM2YC's Entirely Respectable trilogy. Much lighter with the cutting, removing only the most over the top, absurd moments. Even though he didn't cut all the silly stuff, I found that those bits that were left in were much easier to excuse as a result. And being less aggressive with the scissors allows the films to maintain their identity and structure. My only disappointment was that the battle at the end still felt excessively long for me, so I think i'll check out the arkenstone edits too. this is the first i've heard of chris hartwell though.
 

octoroxx

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I just watched the arkenstone edits and I enjoyed them quite a bit. I definitely recommend them.
 

Masirimso17

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My AUJ edit is basically the Arkenstone Edition with key ideas from the Hartwell Cut added in. I didn’t change much from Kerr’s edit because it’s my favorite edit of the Hobbit, but what’s different (taken from the Hartwell Cut) makes a huge impact in my humble opinion. Fire & Water: Revisited Edition is basically me taking ideas from multiple edits (my first version, Kerr, TM2YC, Belgarath, Chris Hartwell, etc.) and making a perfect version for myself. I’m pretty proud of them. Meanwhile my favorite version of the third movie is Kerr’s Arkenstone Edition and it fits well with my edits, until I make my own... eventually... but besides including one deleted scene with Thranduil from the Appendices, I’m not sure what else I would do differently from the Arkenstone Edition.
 

M4_

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catferoze said:
I'm with you on finding the best 3 film edits. I've found the 3-in-1 or 3-in-2 edits to have pretty major pacing and structural issues. I also want to enjoy as much of those films as I can.

My favourite edit I've seen is easily TM2YC's Entirely Respectable trilogy. Much lighter with the cutting, removing only the most over the top, absurd moments. Even though he didn't cut all the silly stuff, I found that those bits that were left in were much easier to excuse as a result. And being less aggressive with the scissors allows the films to maintain their identity and structure. My only disappointment was that the battle at the end still felt excessively long for me, so I think i'll check out the arkenstone edits too. this is the first i've heard of chris hartwell though.

In the defense of 3 in 2 edits or 3 in 1 edits (as long as they're around 4-5 hours total), I personally don't exactly think they have structural issues. Compared to a generic hollywood film structure, possibly, but in the sense of just telling a story, The Hobbit is a very episodic story, with each chapter being a new challenge and mini-adventure combined into one huge adventure, and by replicating that on the screen in a 3 in 2/3 in 1 edit, it can really be successful & unique, which I don't think is inherently a major structural issue.

I'd also argue you have an uncountable amount of more pacing issues by stretching the quest to three movies, by making the movie too slow. And I will agree with you, any edit that goes too far below 4 hours, into 3, into 2, is ridiculously too fast paced. But I strongly believe there's a middle ground free of pacing issues, leaving it down to just preference if you enjoy a faster or slower paced story.

Anyways like you said, definitely check out those 2 edits because they do exactly what you say, keep the full 3 movie structure but just try to make it way better. Chris also has a great youtube channel with really good explanation videos if you're interested.
 

catferoze

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m4semperfi said:
In the defense of 3 in 2 edits or 3 in 1 edits (as long as they're around 4-5 hours total), I personally don't exactly think they have structural issues. Compared to a generic hollywood film structure, possibly, but in the sense of just telling a story, The Hobbit is a very episodic story, with each chapter being a new challenge and mini-adventure combined into one huge adventure, and by replicating that on the screen in a 3 in 2/3 in 1 edit, it can really be successful & unique, which I don't think is inherently a major structural issue.

I'd also argue you have an uncountable amount of more pacing issues by stretching the quest to three movies, by making the movie too slow. And I will agree with you, any edit that goes too far below 4 hours, into 3, into 2, is ridiculously too fast paced. But I strongly believe there's a middle ground free of pacing issues, leaving it down to just preference if you enjoy a faster or slower paced story.

Anyways like you said, definitely check out those 2 edits because they do exactly what you say, keep the full 3 movie structure but just try to make it way better. Chris also has a great youtube channel with really good explanation videos if you're interested.

good points. i should've said 'i have issues with the pacing and structure' as they didn't have what I was looking for.  And that's one of the great things about this community; there are so many talented editors here with different goals/opinions, so there are plenty of good options to choose from depending on personal preference.

I'll definitely check them out!
 

ArtisDead

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I think I've watched them all by now. Strictly speaking of 3 films edited:

You can't go wrong with any of these. Each one has a slightly different approach to why it was edited the way it was. In no order:

Q2, TM2YC, Kerr and The Hart Beat Edits. Masirimso17 edits are good but they forgot to do one...
 

Masirimso17

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I think I've watched them all by now. Strictly speaking of 3 films edited:

You can't go wrong with any of these. Each one has a slightly different approach to why it was edited the way it was. In no order:

Q2, TM2YC, Kerr and The Hart Beat Edits. Masirimso17 edits are good but they forgot to do one...

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Anyway, Kerr's last edit works fine with my first two.
 

Wraith

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Wraith released a couple of versions of a combined Hobbit edit recently, one for every preference & highly recommended. The maple edit is also very strong but it very much depends on what your looking for- book cut, LOTR tone/prequel or just the best version of the movie possible...
You are one of the few to see some of the other version (unreleased)...

They are as follows:
The Tolkien Edit (yes it's been used)...5h 10 min single version of my two released edits. This is a full prequel to LOTR.
The Book Edit (used as well), 4hr 30 min, with less foreshadowing of LOTR, but some
The Folio Edit 3.5hrs. As close to book as possible and no forshadowing.
The Movie Edit 2.5hrs ( really did it for fun to see if a decent movie could be crafted in one go...IT's A PACING TRAIN WRECK)

All have all Songs removed (except the The Lonley Mountain), no love story, removal of the Pine Cones, no Alfrid, etc...but uniquely, virtually all modern idiom is removed and many of Martin Freeman's facial ticks and double takes etc, are toned down too. Some reviewers think mine is too serious...I consider that a compliment after 4 years work...and I do re-watch them over and over...and even have a 4-way split screen version of all 4 edits synced up with text commentary to remind me of what I did, since I WILL NEVER WATCH THE ORIGINALS AGAIN...EVER!
 
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Cliffback

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You are one of the few to see some of the other version (unreleased)...

They are as follows:
The Tolkien Edit (yes it's been used)...5h 10 min single version of my two released edits. This is a full prequel to LOTR.
The Book Edit (used as well), 4hr 30 min, with less foreshadowing of LOTR, but some
The Folio Edit 3.5hrs. As close to book as possible and no forshadowing.
The Movie Edit 2.5hrs ( really did it for fun to see if a decent movie could be crafted in one go...IT's A PACING TRAIN WRECK)

All have all Songs removed (except the The Lonley Mountain), no love story, removal of the Pine Cones, no Alfrid, etc...but uniquely, virtually all modern idiom is removed and many of Martin Freeman's facial ticks and double takes etc, are toned down too. Some reviewers think mine is too serious...I consider that a compliment after 4 years work...and I do re-watch them over and over...and even have a 4-way split screen version of all 4 edits synced up with text commentary to remind me of what I did, since I WILL NEVER WATCH THE ORIGINALS AGAIN...EVER!
I'm new around here, but basically got introduced to this forum by searching for good fanedits of The Hobbit. The only one I've seen so far is the The Tolkien Edit, with The Book Edit as my next one. The Folio Edit sounds really interesting, and like a different take that I really would enjoy watching!
 

Dwight Fry

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Now allow me to think out loud a bit:

I've seen exactly one Hobbit edit (L8wrtr's), and that's actually all I've seen of Jackson's Hobbit at all (even though I bought the box set of the extended editions, which remains unwatched, in order to see the aforementioned edit), due to lack of interest and attachment to the source material. That is probably my most unpopular movie opinion of them all: I don't even care about Jackson's LOTR much, and I think his career peaked with the excellent Heavenly Creatures and has been downhill ever since.

As for L8's edit, I found it excellently executed as expected, but still way too overlong and overblown. Do we really need 5 hours (let alone 10) to tell this story? I mean, the animated Rankin/Bass version from the 70s, while abridged and certainly not without its own set of flaws, managed to tell the story in a way that felt complete in 80 minutes. Jackson? He wants everything BIIIIG and EEEEEPIC, while I think this particular story works best in a small scale. The tale of a small unlikely hero dragged into an adventure way bigger than him.

So, would an edit exist, or even be possible, that takes kind of a "Hidden Fortress" approach, keeping Bilbo as the POV character all through (except when strictly needed to advance the story, get the right pacing, and/or make us care enough,but only the bare minimum of that) instead of so much emphasis on Thorin (let alone all those other side characters)?
 

M4_

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So, would an edit exist, or even be possible, that takes kind of a "Hidden Fortress" approach, keeping Bilbo as the POV character all through (except when strictly needed to advance the story, get the right pacing, and/or make us care enough,but only the bare minimum of that) instead of so much emphasis on Thorin (let alone all those other side characters)?
I think pretty much all 3-in-1 edits do this including mine (which just got approved!).

The only times it strays from Bilbo are:
-When Bard fights Smaug, we have to step away from Bilbo
-During the lead up to the final battle (and during it), Bilbo starts to get overshadowed by these huge events: armies coming together, alliances being formed, Thorin's arc has to be wrapped up, fighting breaks out, and then he gets knocked out.
-When Bilbo gets separated from the company, we take a few looks at the rest of the Company (which makes sense, seeing them get imprisoned by Elves/seeing them captured by Goblins)

Over 4 hours of footage of sideplots and sidecharacters have been entirely removed, the White Council, Radagast, Sauron, Thrain, Tauriel, Legolas, Azog/Bolg, etc.

That said, my edit is still just about 4 hours, similar to Rotk runtime. Might feel too long still, but with all my editing goals that was definitely the right move. If you want something shorter, that's still possible but I really only think you could push it to 3.5 hours before you lose a lot of good moments for the sake of runtime.

You also mention the emphasis on Thorin, which I totally agree on. It was great to be able to reduce the dragon sickness plot, both by removing entire scenes of him going psycho, and also doing smaller characterization trims to tone down his arc (he's not lashing out threatening to kill people, he's not yelling crazily, not turning into Smaug's voice). These changes bring the story back to Bilbo by reducing the focus on Thorin, while also making sure that Thorin's arc in itself is not over the top and now feels more grounded, a prideful stubborn King, not a deranged sick King. Gives him more agency too, it wasn't a family sickness that he was subject to, it was his own flaws that led him to his lowest point.
 

Dwight Fry

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I think pretty much all 3-in-1 edits do this including mine (which just got approved!).

The only times it strays from Bilbo are:
-When Bard fights Smaug, we have to step away from Bilbo
-During the lead up to the final battle (and during it), Bilbo starts to get overshadowed by these huge events: armies coming together, alliances being formed, Thorin's arc has to be wrapped up, fighting breaks out, and then he gets knocked out.
-When Bilbo gets separated from the company, we take a few looks at the rest of the Company (which makes sense, seeing them get imprisoned by Elves/seeing them captured by Goblins)

Over 4 hours of footage of sideplots and sidecharacters have been entirely removed, the White Council, Radagast, Sauron, Thrain, Tauriel, Legolas, Azog/Bolg, etc.

That said, my edit is still just about 4 hours, similar to Rotk runtime. Might feel too long still, but with all my editing goals that was definitely the right move. If you want something shorter, that's still possible but I really only think you could push it to 3.5 hours before you lose a lot of good moments for the sake of runtime.

You also mention the emphasis on Thorin, which I totally agree on. It was great to be able to reduce the dragon sickness plot, both by removing entire scenes of him going psycho, and also doing smaller characterization trims to tone down his arc (he's not lashing out threatening to kill people, he's not yelling crazily, not turning into Smaug's voice). These changes bring the story back to Bilbo by reducing the focus on Thorin, while also making sure that Thorin's arc in itself is not over the top and now feels more grounded, a prideful stubborn King, not a deranged sick King. Gives him more agency too, it wasn't a family sickness that he was subject to, it was his own flaws that led him to his lowest point.
Your approach does sound very close to how I would envision it indeed, only I'm not sure if 4 hours would be what I'd aim for. In my head I can see this being about 3 hours long (without being certain if it's doable, of course), since for my tastes these movies, unlike LOTR, look visually awful (way, WAY too CGIed and green-screened, and with that flat TV movie look) so there are a lot of moments I would not miss. Hence my concept of a "Hidden Fortress" approach: it wouldn't be as much "the complete adventure, only staying focused on Bilbo" as it would be "pretty much just what Bilbo experiments, with the bare minimum of the rest needed in order for it to not feel choppy". But I'm unsure if, due to how it's filmed, it can be chopped down further than you did and still play right.
 
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