(Updated: 4k version for those of you with 4K TVs (and 1080p, 720p) at hobbit4k.wordpress.com)The old links below will remain here - at least through the end of October, though if you are reading this note and want to watch this awesome version of The Hobbit then you should probably grab a superior version from here: Hobbit4k.wordpress.com.
NOTE: Everything from here on down is old news and more of less depreciated. If you're still looking for The Hobbit trilogy as a single watchable movie, click the Hobbit 4k link above. This stuff (below) will likely just stay here for Google fodder. The one referenced above is a better cut. The links to files below have been deactivated. Go to the other site to grab a better copy.
It turns out that a lot of the angst that I and others feel about these movies is the fault of Warner Brothers and not so much the director and producers. True or not, judge for yourself here (opens a new browser window.) [Hat tip to Nathanael Miranda for the link and heads-up]
I have combined and recut the entire Hobbit Trilogy into a single movie. Twice, into two alternate stories, two very different movies: As they should have been.
The Bilbo and Dwarves (Erebor) story at 3.5 hours, and
Gandalf and Azog (Dol Guldur) 'Lord of the Rings Prequel' story at 2 hours.
Want to watch these? Then read this blog post.
Final Update: Both movies contain "Extended Edition" materials. I've finally received my copy of the Five Armies, Extended Edition. They also are optimized for Apple TV version 2 or newer.
These are a single watchable movie, not an artificially-stuffed Hollywood studio cash-grab spread over three bloated overlong movies. The problems with the theatrical versions are many. Above all else: too many scenes are overlong and some pacing is too slow. There is also too much story to keep track of: Erebor quest, Necromancer, Orc armies... Have you felt as mentally exhausted as I have?
I've trimmed literally almost every scene in all three films so they fit into a single epic movie. Twice: Bilbo's Erebor quest and a separate companion movie featuring the Gandalf Necromancer quest. It is much easier and a lot more fun to follow each respective story this way.
As for my thoughts on other fan-edited versions: There are many. I believe mine are better simply based on my experience in professional editing. It's not just about technical stuff, it's about great story-telling.
I tried to strike a better balance.
Two Hobbit movies:
One for the primary Hobbit story and
A companion as a Prequel to Lord of the Rings.
“The Hobbit: The Dwarves of Erebor”.
Bilbo Story runtime: 3 Hours, 30 Minutes
(After opening and before closing titles)
Bilbo Movie Runtime: 3 Hours, 45 Minutes
(With opening and closing titles)
Filetype: MPEG 4, 1280x540 (HD Widescreen), H.264, level 3.0
Dwarves of Erebor Trailer
"The Hobbit: The Orc of Gundabad" (Or "Hobbit 1.5" sequel)
Orc Story runtime: 2 Hours
(After opening and before closing titles)
Orc Movie Runtime: 2 Hours, 15 Minutes
(With opening and closing titles)
Filetype: MPEG 4, 1280x540 (HD Widescreen), H.264, Level 3.0
NOTE: "Orc of Gundabad" is not designed or intended to be a stand-alone movie. Some have commented that on its own it is somewhat incomplete or 'confusing' at times. This should be thought of as a companion movie, not a stand-alone movie. Think of it as a "Part II" of the Erebor movie. Watch Dwarves of Erebor tonight, then watch Orc of Gundabad tomorrow or the next night or whatever. This is how the cut is intended to work: Orc compliments Dwarves. Get it?
Orc of Gundabad Trailer
All Files include fully-named Chapter Markers and Cover Image.
- No stupidly unecesssay Frodo in the prologue.
- No creepy shiver-inducing Dwarf/Elf love triangle.
- Scenes irrelevant to the respective story are removed. (Hence: two movies)
- Faster cuts, shorter scenes. (Yet the full scene is still intact)
- Much of the redundant material is removed, full story remains intact.
- You won't feel mentally exhausted after watching these.
I most certainly encourage you to support the very hard work of countless people by purchasing the Discs or Digital (iTunes, Amazon) versions of all three of these movies if you haven't already. If you own them, then there's nothing wrong with having a fan-edit version of them; you've 'paid your dues'.
Simplified summary of changes made:
There are sweeping cuts here, too many to list them all. Suffice it to say that entire swaths of movie have been cut out from each respective story. Hence: two separate movies, though there is overlap in the telling of each story. The largest single edit is the removal of up to 10 minutes in a single cut and as little as three (yes: 3) frames in a scene-trim. In short: Almost every scene, start-to-finish, has had an edit pass to improve story forward-movement and pacing.
The Hobbit: The Dwarves of Erebor notes:
Note: in this version the entire trilogy has been recut into a single movie. The current iteration of The Hobbit trilogy is a sloppy mess. So I've dumped all the slop and trimmed all the fat with the hope of creating an epic production style presentation in the tradition of Laurence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Ben Hur, the Ten Commandments and many other epic productions, including nan intermission at precisely 2.5 hours with entr'acte into the final act. Because it was about the movie-going experience. I've tried to turn an obvious Hollywood cash-grab into rerecreating that experience.
Intention: The story is all The Hobbit because Bilbo, the Hobbit, is supposed to be the main character. I've tried to refocus the story on his experiences with the dwarves. This means I've had to chop-off a lot of movie lard. Before I summarize that
I’ll describe what I kept in:
Prologue, with Frodo references removed, most of Rivendell and "Riddles in the Dark" with Gollum. Mirkwood, Esgaroth and the rest are there, albeit heavily trimmed for better pacing and timing, etc.
Synopsis: “Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit enjoying his quiet life, is swept into an epic quest by Gandalf the Grey and thirteen dwarves who seek to reclaim their mountain home from Smaug, the fire drake of the north.”
Absolutely no Tauriel or any creepy dwarf/elf love triangles. Legolas is relinquished to cameo status. Heavy truncations to move the story forward in Bag End, Trolls, Goblin Town, Beorn, Mirkwood, Esgaroth and so on.
White Council scenes and almost all orc scenes are removed. First overnight camp scene is removed, Radagast is removed as is Galadriel and Sarumon scenes; Mordor story is removed entirely. Dwarves never enter the Erebor, etc. Though not too closely-cut to the book this is a far better representation of the original story that was published by Tolkein.
This is my final cut unless the Five Armies extended edition released later in the year can add to the story (I doubt it) - so you may want to grab a copy now while you can. See above.
The Hobbit: The Orc of Gundabad notes:
Note: in this version the entire trilogy has been recut and rearranged to create an almost entirely new story, completely separate from the Hobbit story proper This is an Orc movie. The intention is that this is a simultaneous time-line alternate story. This not intended to be a stand-alone movie, but rather you are supposed to watch The Hobbit first, then this one, perhaps the following evening. Think of it as "The Hobbit 1.5 sequel"; the movie that bridges The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and ties them together.
Intention: Azog the Defiler is the main protagonist in this movie and Gandalf is the main antagonist (or vice-versa): Thorin is the main “supporting” character and the rest, including Bilbo, are minor characters. Gandalf doesn’t even reach the Erebor battle scene until all the fighting is done. Rather than a full cut-list it’s just a lot easier to describe what I cut out. Before I do that I’ll describe what I put in:
Orcs, more Orcs, and everything Orc. And Galdalf. Every scene I could find with Orcs in it is in there that doesn’t include unwanted elements such as Legolas and Tauriel, barrel riding, etc. All of it.
Synopsis: “Gundabad Orcs allied with Sauron invade Dol Guldor. Their goal of destroying the Dwarvish House of Durin is redirected, however, toward the conquest Erebor and the destruction of man, dwarves and Elves, culminating into an epic battle to rule Middle Earth.”
Primary changes from the original Hobbit story:
- Legolas, Tauriel, Thranduil, Bard and other major characters are removed entirely, including Smaug (!) (Bard and Thranduil and others have very brief non-speaking cameos.)
- There is no Smaug sequence, Mirkwood forest sequence, Woodland Elves sequence, Barrel Ride sequence, Laketown sequence, or even Erebor sequence (we never see the inside of Erebor - even once. A.K.A.: no gold!)
- Gandalf becomes separated from the Thorin party at the entrance to Mirkwood, he remains separated until after the Battle of Five Armies - we follow Gandalf during this time.
- The “Erebor/Arkenstone/Smaug” quest is a red herring side-story described in dialog; it doesn’t exist otherwise. This movie is about the Orcs and Sauron and their conquest.
- The company exists for the first half of the movie, after which we rarely (if ever) really see them - up to this point the story is all about being hunted by Orcs (and White Council story exposition). The second half is all about eliminating man, dwarves and elves from the face of the earth.
- There’s just enough Goblin Town to highlight Azog’s hunt for Thorin.
- There’s just enough Golem to highlight the One Ring. ~cough~
- Eagles. Lots of eagles. If you don’t like the eagles you’ll not like this movie because EAGLES! All the eagles are in there. So is Radagast obviously enough.
- From the moment Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur the entire story-line focusses almost entirely on conquering Erebor/Battle of Five Armies.
- Only 2 Hours, 15 minutes, including full end titles! (End titles are also edited to not show Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly and other actors who were excommunicated from this version of the movie).
- This movie is so NOT “The Hobbit” I’ve even changed the opening title completely.
*NOTE: All differences listed above are present in the “Erebor” version with opposite cuts from this version.
This version of The Hobbit focuses squarely on Azog the Defiler as the protagonist with Gandalf as the antagonist and follows thier encounters at Dol Guldur and with Sauron (the Necromancer). All aspects of Bilbo and Dwarves (generally) have been reduced to interstitials. The entire trilogy has been hacked-and-whacked and rearranged to create a Lord of the Rings Prequel. This also makes it far easier to follow the “Necromancer” story and not be distracted by the “Erebor Quest” story.
Immersion SpoilersYou may not want to read this section because it could spoil whatever enjoyment you do get from watching Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” as you may or may not have noticed these glaring screw-ups. This is not a comprehensive list of all things wrong with The Hobbit movies, but rather some of my own biggest gripes.
Peter Jackson has publicly stated on several occasions that he never wanted to direct The Hobbit. Either the money was just too good or something else twisted his arm to do it because one can clearly see he just didn’t have his “heart in it” when he did finally direct these movies. It’s really sloppy work as compared to The Lord of the Rings.
Other than the ridiculously slow and sloppy editing with the specific intention to increase the running time for no reason other than to create three movies for a Hollywood “cash-grab” (selling three movie tickets instead of just one or two), these are the actual problems in the movie itself that really bother me. So fasten your seat-belt because this isn't going to be pretty.
Frodo is all kinds of wrong.
Why did Jackson bring Frodo into it at all? Since he did he could have at least tried just a little harder. Frodo is not in costume; he looks like a full-sized adult and a really skinny one, too. As a Hobbit Frodo appears to be emaciated; way too tall-looking because of how skinny he is. He doesn’t look like a Hobbit at all. He’s the same height as Bilbo, and Bilbo is the same height as the Dwarves. This ruins immersion from the very beginning of the nine-hour train wreck.
Bilbo doesn’t feel like a Hobbit.
Either all the dwarves are ridiculously short or Bilbo is ridiculously tall. Some of the dwarves are even shorter than Bilbo. Whatever happened to Dwarves being a head shorter than humans and Hobbits being a head shorter than Dwarves? The only way to tell the difference is that Bilbo doesn’t have a beard.
Character size scaling is woefully inconsistent.
Size scaling is inconsistent at best. An annoying example of scale problems happens while the company are on ponies and Bilbo sneezes. A dwarf rips a cloth from his costume that appears to be about six inches long and tosses it to Bilbo for use as a handkerchief. When Bilbo catches it it is now about 12 inches long. This is supposed to indicate how much smaller Bilbo is compared to the dwarf. But it’s the only time even an effort to shows such size difference ever happens in the movie, making it appear as though the handkerchief actually changes size. This kind of inconsistency occurs throughout the entire trilogy.
Dwarf adolescent antics are groan-inducing.
All but three or four of the 13 dwarves act too much like children, literally. Some of it is okay, but there's just too much too often as it is. These are supposed to be the battle-hardened warriors Thorin calls into his company? The antics are so childish it’s painful to watch. It’s painful because a scene with childish antics can be quickly followed by a scene with dire seriousness. It just doesn’t mesh well. Jackson doesn’t seem to make up his mind who his audience is; is he going for children? Is he going for adults? The movies can be rather violent for child-fare, and too stupidly silly for adult tastes. Make up our minds, will you?
Dwarves, and especially Bilbo are treated like children.
Gandalf must think little of the dwarves and especially Bilbo. Too many dialog scenes have Gandalf’s facial expression formed as though he is talking to a five year-old when he addresses Bilbo. In most cases this is okay, but an example where it irks me is just before the company enters Mirkwood forest and Bilbo proclaims he “found something” in the Goblin caves. Gandalf is at his most condescending in this scene. “There, there, little boy, that’s a good little boy.” Sheesh.
Fantastical physics abound.
Elvish super-feats notwithstanding, many of the physics in the movie are just too far-fetched. Bilbo’s fall into the caverns in the Goblin caves, and the crazy fall of the company at the end of the ridiculously long goblin fight and escape. Or the way the trees during the Orc Fight (fire on the mountain) suddenly uproot themselves to tip over and especially the last tree that tips to almost 90 degrees horizontal then suddenly just stops and stays put until it arbitrarily decides to give way again. How about the stone-brick tower that Legolas knocks horizontally over to create a 'bridge' over a crevasse in Five Armies: how again do those bricks hold all that weight together strongly enough to prevent crumbling like gravel the moment it’s caught between both cliffs? Need I go on?
Everyone knows this one: the creepy dwarf-elvish love triangle.
Much of what is in this trilogy is not in the Hobbit book proper, but still canon because it comes from Silmarillion and Appendices. But the Elf Tauriel is none of these. She is 100% a Jackson invention. For what reason? The only possible explanation is for the creation of this love triangle. And who is this love triangle for? Female audience? Kids? Seriously, I have yet to see or hear of anyone who enjoys this aspect of the movies.
The presence of Legolas.
Why did the Legolas character have to be Legolas at all? It could have been some other elf, any other elf, and it would have worked better that way. Orlando Bloom is much older now than when Lord of the Rings was filmed and it’s obvious, no matter how hard they try with makeup and effects to make him look young again. His face almost looks… creepy.
Visual continuity is all over the place and even immersion-breaking. It’s obvious Jackson just arbitrarily plucked scenes from a library of stuff he had laying around. Example: at the beginning of Smaug (movie two) the company is running from the Orcs and the Giant Bear (Beorn) and making their way to Beorn’s home: They start out in the mountains, then they're suddenly on a huge flat scruffy plain (which appears to be the same flat plain on the approach to Mirkwood) then they are in the wooded hills again, then running down into a large valley meadow where the home is. All this time they are running like it’s for their lives. For miles and miles. Down from a mountain, through almost-desert, through hilly woods, into a plush meadowland. Without stopping. Or being out of breath when they get there.
Gandalf thinks you’re too stupid to run away from danger.
RUN! GO! MOVE! RUN! NOW! HURRY! GO! RUN! It seems every time the company is in danger Gandalf feels the need to shout at the top of his lungs to RUN! NOW! KEEP MOVING! Ummm, if there’s something deadly on my heels do you really feel you need to tell me to run and keep running? Especially if I’m already running at full speed? I am even considering another fine-tune edit on my version of this movie and actually cutting these ridiculous call-outs out of the movie. After the first one they become really annoying and condescending.
Painfully long scenes with unnecessary content.
Too many scenes contain too much unnecessary content. One example: the troll fight scene - there is no reason the troll fight itself should last five whole minutes when two or three minutes will suffice. Then at the end of that sequence when the trolls tell the dwarves to drop their weapons - there is no need to see each dwarf throw down his weapon, one at a time, in order. Really? This is forward movement in story-telling? This is sloppy work at best, stretching runtime to create three movies when two will suffice at worst. Hollywood. Cash-grab. Plain and simple.
Radagast is disgusting.
Never mind that Saruman has to be really, really insulting by talking about how Radagst stinks, needs to take a bath, has nasty teeth and whatnot during the White Council scene in Rivendell (I cut that crap out of my version) - but Radagast actually is pretty disgusting: mostly by keeping a bird nest under his hat (wouldn’t the heat kill the birds? And how do they breath?) - but the most disgusting part of Radagast is the bird shit dripping down the right side of his face that he and everyone else is apparently oblivious to. The virtual stink makes me almost want to puke every time I see him. Need I say more?
Saruman is amazingly redundant.
It’s obvious that Saruman is in cahoots with Sauron from the beginning as he constantly tries to debunk everyone else’s concerns about his return. Okay, we get it: Saruman is actually a bad guy. But must he repeat the same thing over and over and over again? We get it: “Without the ONE ring…” and “Only the ONE ring…” and everything is about the ONE ring…" Pah-leese already. We got it the first time.
Galadriel’s apparent love affair with Gandalf.
It wasn’t as blatant as the Dwarf/Elf Romeo-and-Juliet creepiness, but there was just enough insinuation to proclaim Galadriel has a real thing for Gandalf. Seriously, I get the impression he makes her wet or something. I half expected to see some tongue action when she revived him at Dol Guldur. And if this is the case why wasn’t she a lot more emotional in LOTR when she learned of Galndalf’s apparent death? What a cold-hearted bitch.
In Lord of the Rings Legolas was able to walk on top of the snow, he was able to acrobatically mount a running horse and even acrobatically deal with a giant elephant, etc. Tough many of these super-feats were pushing the plausibility envelope in LOTR, his super feats in The Hobbit go well beyond the impossible. Not as much with some of his acrobatics, but rather when his super-feats include super-physics, like the aforementioned stone-brick tower knocked over to create a bridge over a crevasse. And running up falling bricks as it finally collapsed was far beyond stupid in terms of immersion, super-elf or not.
Shot paradigms being all screwed-up.
Hollywood has been a hundred years perfecting what works. Jackson seems to want none of it. For example: when to use a long-shot, medium-shot, head-shot, close-up and so on. In a western when a man pulls a gun from its holster we get a close-up of the gun coming out of the holster. Here are two examples of horrible shot-choices on Jackson’s part: Gandalf climbs the High Fells, trips and stumbles, almost falls to his death. Except the part where he’s actually in danger: cut to a swinging camera that crabs so fast that all you see is a blur of mountainside zooming by and can’t see Gandalf at all. Cut back to Galdalf as he rights himself (Uh, WTF just happened?) The second example: Thorin coming to his sense and removing, then throwing his (really cool-looking) kingly crown to the floor. Jackson cuts to a long shot when the crown is removed and thrown - I didn’t realize it was his crown being thrown to the floor until I saw it for the ninth time!
Trying to tell way too much story.
Why did it take me nine times seeing the same scene to realize it was Thorin’s crown being tossed to the floor? Mental-fatigue. Because Jackson is trying to cram too much story into the story: Hobbit and Dwarves, Orcs, Sauron, Dol Guldur, Azog's vengeance quest, Everything Radagast, Legolas/Taurial creepiness, Saruman's deflection efforts and so on. Jeezuzkeriste. The Dol Guldur Sauron sequence concludes at the 20-minute mark of the Five Armies movie with more than 2.5 hours to go - it's totally forgotten five minutes later. What a waste of audience time! How can the the audience even hope to keep track of it all? This is why I have recut the trilogy into two movies: one that focuses on the Erebor quest and only the Erebor quest - you can actually follow along and keep up with this story. The companion movie follows only the Sauron sequence, and you can actually keep up and enjoy this story. But mashing them together is what creates the train wreck that the trilogy is.
There is a lot more wrong with these movies content-wise, but this blog post is getting a bit long. I was able to fix some of what is listed above but other items I cannot. Anyway, the download links to my versions of the movies are above. Go download them while you can and enjoy.
I am unable to reply or create posts in the comment section, so I'll reply here:
Tri_Red Army: No intention to do 1080p or 4K or anything else. I've already purchased the legal copies so there's no reason to create higher resolution versions. This isn't about that and this should not be your "main copy". The commercial Blue-Ray or Digital trilogy is already in very high resolution. Go buy those for your 1080p.
Elistariel: *Read* the blog post.
Anonymous asking about EE: Done.
Dutchhobbit: Kind words, not negative. As stated above; this should NOT be your main copy. BUY these movies, then get my fan-edit. For this reason I have intentionally left particular "quirks" intact such as retiming artifacts like double-frame pauses (this video is retimed to 24p for international compatibility) and varying scene quality. Yes I could have and thought about correcting all these and doing better, except I do NOT want people to consider this their main or only copy of The Hobbit, so I have left it in an "imperfect" state on purpose. If you have purchased the commercial versions then it's okay to have this one and since those are perfect copies it's okay that this one is not, the way I see it. Though most of your points will likely be unnoticeable to most people. :)
With that said: do whatever you want with it. As for different quality on different scenes: that's because I started cutting this the moment I received my copy of Unexpected Journey. I may have used slightly different encoding settings a year later when I got Smaug and so on. So this is technically a four-year edit.
Yes, these are final. I've no intention to do anything further with them as there is no compelling reason to.
Chris Vargas: if you can't read instructions then I can't help you.