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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Arkenstone Edition

kerr

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Brief Synopsis:
The third and final installment of my “Arkenstone” edit trilogy. Like before, I’ve tried to keep the focus as much as possible on Bilbo, Thorin and Gandalf, while still giving the various side characters their moments to shine, without drawing attention away from the main story.

Intention:
In addition to keeping the focus on the main characters and storylines, my aim has been to improve the pacing and creating a more consistent tone. While the original cut featured several great character moments and dramatic scenes, there was unfortunately too much focus on battle scenes, action and silly comedy, which detracts from what is actually a good and effective drama – which I have tried to bring back to the forefront.

The first act has also been recut and reordered considerably to create a better and more logical flow. Many scenes in the original feel a bit disjointed and disconnected from the main story, so removing some scenes entirely and reordering the rest has hopefully resulting in a more exciting build-up to the battle. Unnecessary side plots, such as Tauriel’s banishment and the brief mentions of Angmar and Legolas’ mother, have been cut, keeping the focus on the plot threads that actually matter.

The battle itself has also been recut heavily to focus more on character moments than on over-the-top effects and action sequences. All in all this edit should provide a more satisfying conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy.

In addition, the film has been color corrected to match the more vivid colors used in AUJ and my DoS edit, creating a more coherent color palette for the three films. Several bits of Howard Shore’s unused music have also been restored, wherever possible.


Cutlist:

• Replaced opening credits music with a piece from “Over Hill” from the AUJ soundtrack, which wasn’t used in that film, and that I wasn’t able to restore in my AUJ edit either – but it finds a new home here.
• After the credits, we open on Gandalf imprisoned in Dol Guldur, and the White Council coming to rescue him.
• Cut Gandalf’s telepathic communication with Radagast.
• Changed the dungeon keeper’s subtitle to remove his mention of Gandalf casting spells.
• Restored music to Galadriel confronting the dungeon keeper. 
• Trimmed the dungeon keeper’s death.
• Restored music to Galadriel lifting Gandalf and carrying him.
• Sauron now recites more of the Ring Verse, lifted from a DoS scene that I didn’t include in my edit of that film.
• Elrond attacks the Ringwraiths immediately after saying “You should have stayed dead.”
• Used a mix of the theatrical and extended versions of the White Council battling the Ringwraiths.
• Cut Sauron claiming that “The kingdom of Angmar will rise again”, which has no real bearing on the plot and makes Sauron’s plan even more confusing than it already is.
• Recut Galadriel’s banishment of Sauron to make it a bit less psychedelic, using some footage from the appendices.
• Added some lines of exposition from Saruman (taken from the extended edition of AUJ): “Without the ruling ring of power, Sauron can never again hold dominion over Middle-Earth, and that ring was lost long, long ago.”
• After Gandalf’s “The battle for the mountain is about to begin”, we cut to an establishing shot of Erebor, overlaid with the title card.
• Used some footage of Erebor from DoS to improve the pacing of the change of scenery.
• From there we cut to the Dwarves searching for the Arkenstone and Bilbo sitting on the ramparts, showing us that the stone is in his possession.
• Restored music to Bilbo and the Arkenstone on the ramparts.
• Then we cut to the shores of the long lake and the survivors of Smaug’s rampage, with some color correction applied to match the time of day of the previous scene.
• Changed the order of the shots on the shore to establish Tauriel and the others before Alfrid.
• Trimmed Kili’s farewell to Tauriel so Legolas interrupts them before they have time to share any words, and changed the order of shots so her looking at the runestone comes at the end of the scene.
• Cut some Alfrid stuff after Bard returns.
• Restored music to the end of the long lake scene.
• Restored music to the four Dwarves entering Erebor.
• Cut Bilbo saying that Thorin “has been down there for days”, which doesn’t make sense continuity-wise.
• Restored music to the Dwarves entering the treasure room.
• Restored music to the end of the treasure room scene.
• Cut the reunion of the Dwarves to create a better transition to the next scene.
• Cut Legolas’ and Bard’s scene at the camp, cutting directly from Erebor to Azog and his army.
• Recreated and retimed Azog’s subtitles to better match what he’s saying.
• Restored music to Legolas and Tauriel talking about Bolg and the Gundabad army.
• Cut the Elf messenger who arrives to say that Tauriel has been banished – this whole subplot has been removed.
• Cut from the refugees heading for Dale to Thorin fretting about the Arkenstone in the throne room.
• Changed the order of scenes so we see the refugees entering Dale before the acorn scene with Thorin and Bilbo.
• Restored music to Gandalf riding towards Erebor.
• Cut the voiceover flashback about the gems of Lasgalen.
• Slight trims to Thorin and Bard’s parlay at the gate of Erebor.
• Cut straight from Thorin’s “We have reclaimed Erebor. Now we defend it” to the laketowners and Dwarves preparing for war. 
• Cut from the war preparation sequence to Gandalf arriving in Dale. The Mithril vest scene and Tauriel and Legolas arriving at Gundabad now come a bit later.
• Trimmed Alfrid’s berating of Gandalf.
• Cut Gandalf’s mention of Angmar.
• The were-worms have been removed, and Azog’s subtitles have been rewritten (along with some changed audio) to establish that they’re using existing mining tunnels to sneak up on the Dwarves – and I’ve inserted a mention of the Gundabad army in order to transition to the next scene.
• After the scene at the Orc tunnels, we cut to Tauriel and Legolas at Gundabad. The two Gundabad scenes have been shortened and merged into one, removing mentions of Angmar and Legolas’ mother.
• Restored music to the Orc army leaving Gundabad.
• We then cut to Thorin giving Bilbo the mithril vest.
• Included the EE scene between Bilbo and Bofur, but I’ve placed it after Thranduil’s “the Dwarves are out of time”, recreating the way the scenes were edited in the theatrical version.
• Cut the end of Gandalf’s and Bilbo’s scene after he has given away the Arkenstone, ending the scene on Gandalf’s “don’t underestimate the evil of gold.”
• Trimmed Thranduil and co riding up to Erebor.
• Included the EE scene of Thorin stalling for time and Thranduil suggesting that Bard should sell the Arkenstone.
• Used the EE version of Dain’s arrival and the ensuing battle between Dwarves and Elves.
• Trimmed the Dwarf/Elf battle so the Dwarves only fire the “twirly-whirlies” once.
• Re-edited the arrival of the Orcs to remove the Were-worms.
• Recut the beginning of the battle to remove the Elves refusing to fight and their weird jumping over the Dwarves. Instead the Elves immediately provide arrow cover, inspired by Adam Dens’ edit.
• Restored music to the Dwarves charging.
• Some trimming and reordering of battle scenes.
• All Alfrid scenes have been cut from the battle.
• Cut Bard riding the cart to save his children.
• Cut Thranduil’s moose skewering several Orcs at the same time.
• Trimmed some of Dain’s headbutting.
• Replaced Azog’s subtitle “The Dwarves are almost spent” with “The Dwarves are losing ground,” which I think fits better with the altered rhythm of the battle.
• Cut Thorin threatening to kill Dwalin to imply that Dwalin’s words are what finally break the dragon sickness.
• Inserted Bilbo’s acorn scene from the appendices, recut and with added backgrounds and effects to make it more seamless.
• Cut Thorin’s dragon sickness scene on the golden floor. Since I didn’t include the molten gold in my DoS edit, I couldn’t include this scene.
• Cut Azog ordering his army to wait before the final assault.
• Used some EE bits of the Dwarves fighting, with added music. We haven’t seen the minor Dwarves do much in this film so far, so I thought it would be nice to give them a few battle moments. These scenes also set up the weird, blind troll that comes into play later at Ravenhill.
• Used the EE chariot scene, but trimmed it considerably to remove the most over-the-top moments.
• Cut Tauriel’s confrontation with Thranduil.
• Cut Dwalin saying there are “no more than a hundred” goblin mercenaries on the way. Yes, the Dwarves are ridiculously over-powered, but there’s no need emphasize it by saying that Thorin and Dwalin have no trouble dispatching a hundred goblins by themselves.
• Added a sound effect to Azog stabbing Fili. I guess the stabbing sound wasn’t included in the original because of censorship issues, but I think the moment really needs an appropriate sound effect.
• Ravenhill has been recut to remove Legolas flying on a bat.
• Restored some music to Ravenhill.
• Trimmed Tauriel vs. Bolg, Kili’s death and Tauriel going over the cliff with Bolg.
• Changed the order of some shots of Thorin fighting and Legolas firing arrows.
• Restored original music to Legolas jumping off the tower and onto the blind troll.
• Legolas now kills Bolg immediately after returning Orcrist to Thorin, and his gravity-defying acrobatics have been cut.
• Used EE scene of the Gundabad army approaching.
• Some minor trims to the fight between Thorin and Azog.
• Used EE shots of Beorn in battle.
• Moved Tauriel mourning Kili before Thorin’s death scene. 
• Cut Thranduil’s scenes with Legolas and Tauriel.
• Used EE scene of Thorin’s funeral, adding Gandalf’s eulogy from the Appendices.
• Restored a small snippet of music to Bilbo and Balin outside Erebor.
• Recut the last scene between Gandalf and Bilbo to match the way it played out in the book (and the way it was originally shot), removing the discussion about the Ring.
• Restored small bit of music as Bilbo enters Bag End.
• Restored additional instruments to the music as Bilbo finds his handkerchief and hangs up the pictures of PJ and Fran Walsh.
• Restored music to old Bilbo sitting with the Ring.

Currently available as an 8 gb mkv file. Send me a PM if you want the link. :)
 

TM2YC

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Hurray! Hobbit dance party.

0f6ad53e93f2_Frodo%20Dancing.gif
 

kerr

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I hope everyone's enjoying the conclusion of the Arkenstone Trilogy! But in the words of everyone's favorite wizard...
Speak friend (mellon) and enter.
 

Belgarath

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kerr said:
I hope everyone's enjoying the conclusion of the Arkenstone Trilogy! But in the words of everyone's favorite wizard...
Speak friend (mellon) and enter.

[img=480x331]


Love the title  ;)
I sorta know what this is about since I've seen Hal9000's extended releases, but I'm excited to see what your edits will look like.
My only question, at the moment, is regarding the color correction: Are you planning to give these edits a more vibrant look like you did for your Hobbit edits?
And did you, by any chance, consider removing the heavy blue tint present in the night shots in The Two Towers like in this comparison I created?
 

emanswfan

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I'm certainly intrigued at the idea of new LOTR edits!  Will these be purist edits or something more like your Hobbit edits that keep many of PJ's expansions/changes?
 

kerr

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Belgarath said:
My only question, at the moment, is regarding the color correction: Are you planning to give these edits a more vibrant look like you did for your Hobbit edits?
And did you, by any chance, consider removing the heavy blue tint present in the night shots in The Two Towers like in this comparison I created?

I'm adjusting the colors of all three films, but not to the same extent as DoS and BotFA. I love the vibrant colors of AUJ (though I guess I'm in the minority here) and wanted to carry that vibrancy over to the next to Hobbit films, but it's not a look that would fit with the more grounded tone of LotR, in my opinion. So my color adjustments to LotR are mainly just to give all three films a more consistent look.

The blue night shots in TTT have never really bothered me, but now that you mention it, that might be worth looking into!

emanswfan said:
I'm certainly intrigued at the idea of new LOTR edits!  Will these be purist edits or something more like your Hobbit edits that keep many of PJ's expansions/changes?

These edits will basically be follow-ups to the Arkenstone Editions, so no, they're not strict purist edits. If anything, I would classify them as thematic purist edits. Most of PJ's altered and expanded story elements are still present, but have been heavily reworked to strengthen the Tolkien-ish themes of the films. I'll create a proper in-the-works thread for the project and share more detailed information and some samples soon, but basically, if you've watched and enjoyed the Arkenstone Trilogy, you'll have a good idea about what to expect. :)
 

gugliemo

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I don't really understand how to submit reviews anymore as the format of this website has changed since I was a regular member so I shall put my thought on this fanedit here. Admins feel free to move it or whatever.

In a word... Wonderful! I was extremely taken with L8WRTR's edit of The Hobbit trilogy and it's reduction to two movies as the pace and tone of the book was faithfully recreated and the films took on a completely new feel, ultimately however that project felt a little top heavy as the Bilbo-focused story gradually divided into multiple plotlines and the final battle went on for twice as long as any of the prior "chapters" leading up to it. Kerr's version of the trilogy is far closer to the original movies and comes across as an excellent "fanfix", the bloat is gone and the films are conservatively refined to be the best possible version of themselves. This is most apparent here, BotFA is where the trilogy falls apart yet Kerr has somehow taken that material and carved out a worthy final film! The idea to move Smaug's demise to the conclusion of DoS worked even better than I thought it would and allows for a totally lean and focused final movie in which we stay anchored to all the main characters, get a decent depiction of "dragon sickness" and a properly paced, complete feeling movie in which all of the silliness is gone and the hellish production which created such an unfocused mess is rendered invisible!

One aspect of The Hobbit that really frustrates me is the banishing of Sauron early in the plot as it renders the following battle completely pointless. The orcs are fighting for Sauron yet he is no longer in charge suggesting the whole thing takes place for no reason or due to a simple miscommunication, the most frustrating of all movie tropes! However it is a lot more forgivable here as Kerr manages to set up and simplify the extremely confusing battle of the "five armies" in a way that is so clear and cinematic that we completely understand what is happening, why it is happening and how it is happening. The reordering of scenes and rewriting of dialogue here is remarkable.

Kerr has managed to use Legolas and Tauriel in a way that keeps them relevant to the plot but no longer front and centre. I still don't like that Legolas taking on Bolg is given as much importance as Thorin and Azog but the edits to that fight are excellent, Legolas' super mario moment is removed in such a way that you would never know it was missing. The final battle is is edited to remain exciting and the dwarves still get moments to shine. I still have issues with the army of fishermen but it's minimal and those scenes at least service the overall narrative structure.

Ultimately I'm a little divided as to my preferred cut of The Hobbit. I thought what L8WRTR did to the Hobbit trilogy transformed the films into a completely different viewing experience (much the way Kerr once did with the Book cuts of LOTR which I am currently revisiting one film at a time as I make my way through the actual books), they were radical and harsh edits that produced something beautiful and unique, yet their falling just short of perfection (in my subjective opinion) left me frustrated. Kerr's edit on the other hand is far more faithful the the original films and this brings its own frustrations, though to be fair that may well be due to Hobbit fatigue: I have a great fondness for The Hobbit films and have watched so many edits of them recently that I wasn't as prepared as I thought to sit through all three movies one more time. After seeing The Hobbit presented in the way L8WRTR did you really can't unsee it, but were anybody thinking of sitting down to watch The Hobbit trilogy, knowledgeable about fanedits or not, the Arkenstone Edition is 100% what I would present them with! If you're happy with The Hobbit presented as a trilogy this is probably the best version that could possibly be made. :)
 

hbenthow

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kerr said:
I'm adjusting the colors of all three films, but not to the same extent as DoS and BotFA. I love the vibrant colors of AUJ (though I guess I'm in the minority here) and wanted to carry that vibrancy over to the next to Hobbit films, but it's not a look that would fit with the more grounded tone of LotR, in my opinion. So my color adjustments to LotR are mainly just to give all three films a more consistent look.

I also like the rich color of "An Unexpected Journey" (although it also had an annoying green tint that I don't like - it's been years since I watched your Arkenstone Edition, but I seem to recall that you removed said tint). It reminds me a lot of three-strip Technicolor, which is my all-time favorite visual aesthetic.

Regarding an ideal color grade for the Lord of the Rings movies, a fan-regrader known as KK650 made some excellent regrades in which he removed the blanket tints applied to the special edition Blu-rays ("The Fellowship of the Ring" was the most badly-effected by a horrible green tint, but the other two had blanket tints as well). I think that some screenshot comparisons may be useful to you as references for an ideal way to regrade the trilogy.

For "The Fellowship of the Ring", he created two slightly different regrades, one of which he called the "more colourful edition", which, in my opinion, is the best color grade that I've ever known "The Fellowship of the Ring" to have (although both of his versions are miles better than the official Blu-ray grade). Here are some screenshot comparisons for his version of "The Fellowship of the Ring" (top is the Blu-ray, middle is the standard regrade, and the third is the more colorful edition):

 

Masirimso17

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It seems to me like the green tint adds a look that makes it more modern, more epic, and more cinematic. Am I wrong?
 

hbenthow

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Masirimso17 said:
It seems to me like the green tint adds a look that makes it more modern, more epic, and more cinematic. Am I wrong?

"Wrong" is pretty subjective when it comes to this particular matter, but suffice it to say that I strongly disagree. The tint does make it more modern, I suppose (as many modern movies have such tints), but I don't see how such a tint can make it more epic or cinematic. To my eyes, the tint drains the life out of the image.
 

Masirimso17

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hbenthow said:
Masirimso17 said:
It seems to me like the green tint adds a look that makes it more modern, more epic, and more cinematic. Am I wrong?

"Wrong" is pretty subjective when it comes to this particular matter, but suffice it to say that I strongly disagree. The tint does make it more modern, I suppose (as many modern movies have such tints), but I don't see how such a tint can make it more epic or cinematic. To my eyes, the tint drains the life out of the image.

Hmm interesting to think about. Not sure which look I prefer.
 

addiesin

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I gotta say in the comparison I find the original tinted grade to be more magical and fantastical. The more realistic colors remind me I'm looking at real people in makeup.

But the look is consistent across the film. The difference in this case is so minor, I would personally never notice which I'm watching. I only have a preference seeing them side by side.
 

djelo

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Trying to get hold of this and the other two Arkenstone edits :) Managed to find a blueray of the first one and converted to h265/1080p myself, but originals would be great. The little I did check of the blueray looked great thought! can't wait to watch in it's whole
 
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