A Fan Has Created Their Own 4-Hour Re-Edit of 'The Hobbit' Trilogy
"May the hair on your toes never fall out." Hurry – before the angry legal goons in Hollywood put their foot down and stamp out this fire! In all truth and honesty, I fully expected this (someone would re-cut it into one movie) to happen sooner or later, and I'm glad it was sooner. A J.R.R. Tolkien super-fan who goes by "tolkieneditor" has published a 4-hour re-edit (or "fan cut") of The Hobbit trilogy, with the conclusion still playing in theaters now. His new version has condensed the excess footage from Jackson's trilogy into one extended 4-hour presentation. It's not exactly "one" movie, and I'm sure we'll see someone make that eventually, but it is the first attempt at redoing The Hobbit as a single story–the way it should've been done.
Similar to the way Topher Grace re-cut the Star Wars prequels into one 90-minute movie, and similar to Steven Soderbergh's recut of 2001: A Space Odyssey, this new Hobbit recut has been dubbed "The Hobbit: The Tolkien Edit" and condenses the footage into a focused storyline dedicated to Bilbo Baggins. He's the real hero of the story, and we all want to follow him anyway. The last Hobbit movie barely focused on Bilbo at all, and fans were noticeably upset at a wasted movie about the "Hobbit" that wasn't actually about the Hobbit. As explained in his blog on the re-edit, "tolkieneditor" explains the origins behind his version:
"Back in 2012, I had high hopes of adding The Hobbit to my annual Lord of the Rings marathon, but in its current bloated format, I simply cannot see that happening."
"So, over the weekend, I decided to condense all three installments (An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies) into a single 4-hour feature that more closely resembled Tolkien’s original novel."
Note: the three theatrical versions combined run 474 minutes, almost 8 hours, so this cuts the time in half. Click on the image below to head to his blog post - where you can find details on the differences in his cut.
Included in his post is a detailed list of the scenes he worked on and re-cut, and some info on how to view his 4-hour ("well, okay, it’s closer to 4.5 hours, but those are some long-ass credits") new version. It's likely this downloadable version won't last long, but perhaps he can use the "Fair Use" argument here in creating a new work for educational purposes. If only I had the time to sit back and watch this from start to finish, alas it still involves setting aside a huge chunk of time. That said, I just think it's impressive that a fan did this on their own time, with their own tools, all because they wanted to stay true to the story Tolkien first gave us.
The original inspiration behind this is spot on: "My main goals in undertaking this edit were to re-centre the story on Bilbo, and to have the narrative move at a much brisker pace (though not so fast that the audience lost grasp of what was going on). Creating smooth transitions between scenes was of particular importance in this regard. I even reordered a few moments in the film to make it flow better. The toughest parts to edit were the barrel-ride and the fight on Ravenhill (since Legolas and Tauriel kept bursting in with their gymnastics routine)." Sounds like a lot of work. We don't condone piracy, however we believe this re-edit is interesting enough to report as movie news. Does it work better? Can a re-edit make that a big difference?