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How it starts:
When I watched The Hobbit movies when I was a kid and thought they were great! Then I read the book, one book, not three, and I loved it. I thought it was strange they added so much to the movie, and I always wondered what it would be like if it was one movie. And so began my journey to become an editor so I could (for fun) edit The Hobbit trilogy into one movie. I finished the edit, and it sucked. It looked awful, it was choppy, and it was far too long for my taste, a lousy 3 hours and 37 minutes simply wouldn't do for me. And so for two years, I cut it up many many times, redoing it, showing it to my family, and doing it again. In these two years I found out I wasn't the only one with this idea, and all of a sudden my idea seemed a lot less of my own, and so I went on to make tons more fan edits.
But... inside me, I still wasn't satisfied with my baby, my child, my passion project that was and is The Faithful Edit. So I went back to it, and boy-oh-boy had my editing skills improved, still not the best, but improved. I actually managed to make a cut in under three hours. Then I left it. My family to this day still teases me on how many remasters and re-edits I'd done to the trilogy. And so, I did it again of course; it was only tradition! And so I titled it "The Faithful Edit," got it to be roughly 3 hours, and I was perfectly satisfied. All these years of my own ideas, inspiration from others like the Cardinal Cut, The Maple Edit, JRR Tolkien's: The Hobbit, and the M4 Book edit, I had completed my edit... then I remastered it and now it's here. I am finally ready to show anyone that will: The Hobbit: The Faithful Edit.
My goal with this edit was to make sure it was Faithful to the novel, had a watchable run time, worked/pleased audiences who had never seen the original trilogy, cut all the dumb and dull stuff, and felt like a prequel to the LOTR trilogy (minus the tone.)
It is faithful to the novel in every way that makes sense. I debated cutting Beorn, but he was in the novel, so I kept him but made his appearance brief.
Next, it does have a watchable runtime of just over three hours, and this goes hand in hand with working with the LOTR trilogy. This movie is about as long as the theatrical release of The Two Towers and has an extended edition that goes with it.
Next, I had a few friends who surprisingly hadn't seen the LOTR or Hobbit movies. So I sat them down individually and had them watch this edit, and they said it was both a good movie, and they couldn't tell where the cuts were. They said they didn't know what was missing, and that it just felt like watching a movie.
And finally, I cut all the dumb action sequences that made no sense, cut Azog (save his brief appearance as an army leader), cut the love triangle, cut Gandalf's side quest, and cut the dumb goofy stuff the dwarves do. No cartoon survivals, and no farting or burping.
I believe I have achieved my goal.
Example of the little changes throughout:
- Condensed and cut most of the original trilogy.
- Quickened the pace.
- Cut most of what you would expect: Gandalf's side quest, Azog's side quest, Radagast's side quest, and all the "He's Back" crap.
- Pretty much every scene has a bit trimmed off of it. This is a ton of little things, like cutting down the 2 1/2 minutes to show Bilbo going to Kili and Fili, finding out ponies are gone, and then seeing a light to 20 seconds. More "Show don't tell," and "less is more." 20 seconds of Bilbo walking isn't needed.
- Cut the prologue.
- An Unexpected Party sequence is heavily trimmed, and the adventure begins at about the 20-minute mark.
- Added a few extended scenes like the "It feels like magic" scene before they enter Rivendell, and the scene where Bofur thinks Bilbo is leaving from The Battle of the Five Armies.
- Cut a significant amount of the action to keep it more faithful to the children's side of the "children's novel." Basically, I tried to keep it as PG as I could.
- Made most long scenes and sequences to be more "get to the point" and fewer burps and farts in the middle. Not that extra fun bits aren't in there, they are, like any movie.
- Cut the battle part of Battle of the Five Armies to a few minutes, making Bilbo get knocked out right after Thorin turns good again and starts battling. Bilbo wakes up, the eagles are there, Kili and Fili are dead, and Thorin is dying. No fight scene for Thorin... sorry.
- Tried to keep the whole edit more light-hearted, with less pointless action, but enough to get the idea across.
- Of course, Tauriel, Legolas, and the whole love triangle is cut.
- Kept the movie as faithful to the novel as possible, and let a few things slide because it's an adaptation, not the book, and so I treated it as such.
- Changed the coloring. In the movies it always looks like a sheet of green was added, I did my best to remove that. I also made the gold in the Smaug scene look more like the actual gold color.
More specific changes
- No Prologue or flashbacks. Entirely (save Fire and Water and some BOTFA) from Bilbo's point of view..
- The songs in Bilbo's house are still there.
- The troll battle is heavily trimmed, the focus is more on the outsmarting of the troll and quieter parts of the sequence.
- No Radagast rabbit chase scene and those orcs.
- No white council or any Sauron is back stuff.
- The orcs on the wargs are never shown, save maybe the background sometimes.
- I know it's in the books, but the extended introduction of the dwarves to Beorn is cut.
- The spider action scene is there, but the elves don't fight in it, and Bilbo fighting a bug is cut.
- In the barrel sequence, I cut the orc action scene, but I did keep the gate closing and Kili getting shot by an arrow. Only I made it look like Legolas shot Kili.
- The dwarves in Laketown is heavily trimmed. Keeping only three scenes in Laketwon. In fact, Laketown is only there for the dwarves to go in, and is never shown again until Smaug attacks it.
- Alfred is cut, with only two appearances and two lines in the movie.
- The dwarves never give up at Erabor. The very long scene is trimmed slightly, but the dwarves never leave. Even in the book they stay the night.
- Unlike most edits, I did keep a little Dwarf and Smaug action because some of it is pretty dang awesome. The quiet scenes before Smaug attacks and when you don't know where he is seems to be taken right out of the chapter "Not at Home," only this time Smaug is actually still in the mountain. The dwarves don't do anything goofy, and Smaug doesn't get doused in gold. It only lasts a few minutes and I'll link it below.
- Bard's son doesn't show up to help kill Smaug.
- Thorin's dragon sickness does stay. It's hard to keep it, but it only makes sense to keep it and go all in.
- The battle part of BOTFA is very heavily trimmed. Kili, Fili, and Thorin aren't shown their death battles. Thorin gets into battle, Bilbo gets knocked out, Bilbo wakes up and finds Thorin dying, Thorin dies. The funeral scene shows Fili and Kili dead.
- The ending is like the rest of the movie, little things are trimmed out, but the meat is there.