I have recut Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy into a single 4-hour film

TolkienEdit_IconLet me start by saying that I enjoy many aspects of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. Overall, however, I felt that the story was spoiled by an interminable running time, unengaging plot tangents and constant narrative filibustering. What especially saddened me was how Bilbo (the supposed protagonist of the story) was rendered absent for large portions of the final two films. 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. Well, okay, it’s closer to 4.5 hours, but those are some long-ass credits! This new version was achieved through a series of major and minor cuts, detailed below:

  • The investigation of Dol Guldor has been completely excised, including the appearances of Radagast, Saruman and Galadriel. This was the most obvious cut, and the easiest to carry out (a testament to its irrelevance to the main narrative). Like the novel, Gandalf abruptly disappears on the borders of Mirkwood, and then reappears at the siege of the Lonely Mountain with tidings of an orc army.
  • The Tauriel-Legolas-Kili love triangle has also been removed. Indeed, Tauriel is no longer a character in the film, and Legolas only gets a brief cameo during the Mirkwood arrest. This was the next clear candidate for elimination, given how little plot value and personality these two woodland sprites added to the story. Dwarves are way more fun to hang out with anyway. 😛
  • The Pale Orc subplot is vastly trimmed down. Azog is obviously still leading the attack on the Lonely Mountain at the end, but he does not appear in the film until after the company escapes the goblin tunnels (suggesting that the slaying of the Great Goblin is a factor in their vendetta, as it was in the novel).
  • Several of the Laketown scenes have been cut, such as Bard’s imprisonment and the superfluous orc raid. However, I’ve still left quite a bit of this story-thread intact, since I felt it succeeded in getting the audience to care about the down-beaten fisherfolk and the struggles of Bard to protect them.
  • The prelude with old Bilbo is gone. As with the novel, I find the film works better if the scope starts out small (in a cosy hobbit hole), and then grows organically as Bilbo ventures out into the big, scary world. It is far more elegant to first learn about Smaug from the dwarves’ haunting ballad (rather than a bombastic CGI sequence). The prelude also undermines the real-and-present stakes of the story by framing it as one big flashback.
  • Several of the orc skirmishes have been cut. I felt that the Battle of the Five Armies provided more than enough orc mayhem. If you pack in too much before then, they just become monotonous, and it lessons their menace in the audience’s mind. I was tempted to leave in the very first Azog confrontation (since it resembles a chapter from the novel), but decided to cut it for a variety of reasons. Specifically, I found it tonally jarring to jump from the emotional crescendo of Thorin being saved by Bilbo (and the sense of safety the company feels after being rescued by the eagles), straight back into another chase sequence. Plus, I think the film works better if Bilbo is still trying to earn Thorin’s respect the entire journey, as he was in the novel. Not to mention the absurdity of Bilbo suddenly turning into John McClane with a sword!
  • Several of the action scenes have been tightened up, such as the barrel-ride, the fight between Smaug and the dwarves (no molten gold in this version), and the Battle of the Five Armies. Though, it should be noted that Bilbo’s key scenes—the encounter with Gollum, the battle against the Mirkwood spiders, and the conversation with Smaug—have not been tampered with, since they proved to be excellent adaptions (in no small part due to Freeman’s performance), and serve to refocus the film on Bilbo’s arc.
  • A lot of filler scenes have been cut as well. These are usually harder to spot (and I’ve probably missed a couple), but once they’re gone, you’ll completely forget that they ever existed. For example, the 4-minute scene where Bard buys some fish and the dwarves gather up his pay.

I used 720×576 MP4s for the recut. The resolution is slightly reduced after a few exports, but it’s still comparable to DVD quality. Here are some time-stamped screenshots, if anyone wants a better impression:

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). If you have any further questions over what was taken out and what was left in, please post them in the comment’s section.

If you would like to download the movie, then simply add this torrent to your BitTorrent client. This is the final version of the fanedit, and is 6GB. However, if you would prefer a smaller file-size, you can also download the lower-resolution 2GB version, by using this torrent. If you do not have a BitTorent client, I would recommend installing μTorrent.

This was a labour of love, so please share and seed. And feel free to reupload the video and post your own links wherever you want (including the comments section).

“May the hair on your toes never fall out.”

TolkienEditor 🙂

Update (22 Jan): Apologies for the delay, but I have uploaded the 6GB version of the fanedit. This version also has a few alterations, based on people’s requests, including trimming down the chase sequence through the goblin tunnels; colour correcting the transition from the Misty Mountains to Beorn’s house; taking out the Bombur “barrel bounce” (which is apparently the bane of some people’s existence); and tidying up the final fight on Ravenhill. I have no idea how to remove the gold-coating from Smaug, though. I tried a few variations, but none of them work very well. So, this is the final version, for good or ill. 😛

Now, I do want to temper people’s expectations for the 6GB version. Considering the difference in size, the quality isn’t dramatically better. Rather, it is somewhere between a DVD and Blu-ray. The screenshots above are a good indication. That said, the image is sharper, and the colours are a little more vibrant, so it’s probably preferable for people who would like to watch the fanedit on a big-screen TV. Either way, you can click the links above to access it. Thanks!!

Update (23 Jan): Check out this DVD cover that was created by George from the comments section. I am equal parts delighted and amazed. Thanks George! 😀

TolkienEditCover(click to enlarge)

Update (25 Jan): A big thanks to Vedder for putting together the first set of subtitles for The Tolkien Edit. If anyone else is gracious enough to create subtitles in their native language, please post them to the comments section, and I will add them to the site. Here is the list so far, along with the usernames of those responsible:

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I have recut Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy into a single 4-hour film

923 thoughts on “I have recut Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy into a single 4-hour film

  1. LC says:

    Hi, I noticed that there is bad stutter once the film gets to the material from the 3rd movie. The video quality also seems a bit lower. Is there a later download that addresses this?

    Creatively it is great! My one gripe is the cutting of the eagles from the end of Act 1 as this was such a dramatic rescue from the novel.

    Like

  2. There will be the extended version of the Battle of the Five Armies. In this extended version probably we will be able to see Thorin`s Funeral. Is there any chance to make a second version of your edit to include such scenes that might be included in this extended version?

    Like

  3. Would you consider editing out more scenes with Azog? To be true to the book, He died in the battle of Azanulbizar. Another note, edit out the trolls and “ware-worms” in the battle of five armies because there wasn’t actually trolls there and if there were, they would turn to stone. Also PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD REMOVE THAT STAIN OF A SEQUENCE WITH BOMBUR WHEN HE BOUNCES OUT OF THE BARREL AND DOES A SPINNING AXE ATTACK!? its honestly an atrocity. Other than that, you should be good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. david says:

    Greetings from Spain. Great job but I hope you can get a better picture quality in a new review with the dwarves singing in Bilbo’s kitchen.

    Like

  5. Yavar Moradi says:

    Hi tolkieneditor,

    I am looking forward to seeing your cut of “Gandalf’s story”, sort of an a Hobbit Appendix. While it hasn’t been released on Blu-ray yet, people have viewed the extended cut of Battle of the Five Armies and most seem to agree the added scenes improve the film a lot. I was wondering if you might consider making a new edit of the main storyline so that you can incorporate extra character moments (particularly for Bilbo) which are only included on the new Extended Cut.

    Like

  6. Michael-John Bristow says:

    Now that the extended version of Battle of the Five Armies has been released (digitally, anyway), do you plan to update your recut? There are some wonderful added scenes that I think would bring value to your version (like the short funeral scene for our fallen dwarves heroes). Thanks for an awesome edit!

    Like

  7. zomish says:

    Any chance of adding the funeral of Thorin, Kili and Fili? I know it would probably be a lot of work. Im so angry that we had to endure so much of Peter Jackson’s monstrous creation of Alfried in the theatrical version and the funeral scene was cut out. I am convinced that PJ left it out of the theatrical version just so he would have something besides more gratuitous fight scenes and violence.

    Like

  8. On reflection, especially after looking at the expanded battle scenes, a couple of things occurred to me: a) Even with the slagging-off of Jackson’s efforts, your ‘edited’ version still clocks in at 4 hours. Far too long for a single movie. (Even having an intermission wouldn’t help, because cinemas would be forced to have less viewings.) I understand that this was a fan’s exercise, motivated by love for the novel, but the effort’s success has its own limitations. Which leads to b) Here’s another exercise for you: Rather than being handcuffed by Jackson’s films as source material, why not go a step further and ante-up and come up with an outline of what YOU feel the film should have contained? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate fully what you’ve accomplished, but it seems to me that if you and your readers want to REALLY put things to right, you should put a little more money where your mouths are.

    Like

  9. Cyrus says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has suggested this, but can you please put it the funeral/coronation scene from the extended edition? It fits pretty well with the book and isn’t very long!

    Like

  10. Eric Knops says:

    I am extremely grateful that someone has done exactly the sort of edit you’ve done, but I have a couple issues/questions about it:

    1) I want to show this to my kids prior to showing them my LotR Blu-rays, and I would like to get a 1080p @ 23.976 FPS version for them to watch on our big TV in all its cinematic glory. I am a bit perplexed by the odd 5:4 aspect ratio @ 25 FPS version I found online.

    2) I have not reviewed the differences between the theatrical and extended 5 Armies (which came out only recently), and I am curious if there is anything in the extended 5 Armies that you think might be good to include in the Tolkien Edit, now that all the extended material is available?

    3) What about the idea of trying to split the Tolkien Edit into two 2-hour movies? I thought the end of An Unexpected Journey (fighting Azog and escaping, looking at Lonely Mountain in the distance, and Smaug waking up) was a good place to break the story into two parts.

    4) I really like the idea of recutting the Dol Guldor subplot as as separate story. Jackson should have just made two Hobbit movies and then released a third movie centered on Dol Guldor.

    Like

  11. Habitbol says:

    Hello, i’m french.
    I really like your work. I’ve made a french version of the tolkien edit in HD. Is not exactly the same version but the duration is almost the same.
    Excuse my bad English.
    Join me if your are interessted by the movie.
    Thanks.

    Like

  12. psg says:

    The Hobbit.PSG Cut.Part1.720p.5.1AC3

    Inspired by the work of “Tolkien Editor”, and taking his cut as a base, I made my own cut of “The Hobbit” of Peter Jackson into two films. I made some changes that I believe give more coherence to the story, and also added new scenes that appeared in the extended version of “The Battle of Five Armies.”

    For more info check this link: http://torrentz.eu/a00f5968ec7b891f18447dab83667d39854618b8

    Like

  13. Gil-galad says:

    Great Cut! Although I liked the Dol Guldur subplot, because it’s (in a different time frame) from Tolkien’s writings (it’s told in the LotR appendices and Fellowship of the Ring), you’re right that it distracts from the main plot and Bilbo’s and the Dwarves story arc, and it’s not in the book “The Hobbit”. While watching An Unexpected Journey for the first time I really enjoyed it, loved how Peter Jackson and his team adapted the perfect scenes that Tolkien wrote (Bag End scenes, the Troll scene, Rivendell, the Riddles in the Dark scene) and also liked the additions that were made (Radagast and Azog). I was really looking forward to the next two movies. But when I watched Desolation of Smaug and than the horrible Battle of the Five Armies I realized Jackson had done a big mistake by making the Hobbit a trilogy. When I first heard that Legolas was going to be in the Hobbit films I liked the idea because I thought it was going to be a cameo in Mirkwood. But I hated the decision to give him this big role. I especially hated the Tauriel/Kili love story. The only scenes I ended up liking very much in Hobbit 2 and 3 were the scenes that came (more or less) directly from Tolkien. The scenes with Beorn, the wandering through Mirkwood and the Spider scene, the conversation with Smaug, Smaug’s attack on Lake Town, many of the scenes before the Battle (Bilbo giving the Arkenstone to Thranduil and Bard, the negotiations with Thorin), the funeral and the Return Journey. So it’s really nice to see that somebody did the work to cut all this beautiful scenes together to make one long movie that gives justice to Tolkien’s book. But i have to ask one thing: could you please add the beautiful funeral scene from the new Extended Edition of BotFA?

    Like

  14. Just watched it and overall it’s a very well done fan edit and the length of the movie is about what I think we were all hoping for with the Hobbit. One long film, or two shorter ones, NOT a trilogy.

    That being said there were two scenes you removed that I think should’ve been left in:
    The dwarves cleaning up Bilbo’s house with the song. I just read the book with my 6 year old son and he noticed this was missing as well.
    The fight with the orcs where they climb into the trees and the Eagles save them. Instead you cut directly to them getting into Beorn’s house. I know you were trying to cut down on Azog but I feel like you could’ve left some of this scene intact.

    Also the golden smaug definitely took you out of the movie and made you aware that this was a fan edit. Cutting a few more seconds out to just see Smaug flying towards Laketown would fix this.

    Like

  15. PSG says:

    Sharing with torrent.

    Inspired by the work of “Tolkien Editor”, and taking his cut as a base, I made my own cut of “The Hobbit” of Peter Jackson into two films. I made some changes that I believe give more coherence to the story, and also added new scenes that appeared in the extended version of “The Battle of Five Armies.”

    Changes (additions to the Tolkien Edit version):

    – New openings and the end of the first film. The first film begins as the original, with Bilbo writing his story to Frodo (without the flashback of Erebor and Smaug), because I thought it made more sense with the end of the story (the old Bilbo on his birthday 111). The ending is when the company finally enters Erebor and is revealed to Bilbo the reason for their quest: recover the Arkenstone.
    The opening of the second film is the scene of the encounter between Gandalf and Thorin in Bree, it results to me a perfect way to link the end of the first one, going deep with the need of the Arkenstone, and the story between Thorin and Azog.

    – The sequence between the escape of the Goblins and the arrival at Beorn´s house has been changed to avoid a cut too sharp. Azog makes its appearance tracking them and then chasing them through the mountains while Bilbo spy behind a rock, and then saw Beorn as a big bear.

    – I included the scene in Dol Guldur in which Azog receives orders from Sauron (as a shadow) and then he orders Bolg to pursue the dwarves. In my opinion it is necessary for understanding the presence of Bolg when the dwarves escape of the realm of Thranduil, and also goes deep in the subplot of the return of Sauron.

    – The scene where Kili get wounded with an arrow shot.

    – The entire sequence in which the dwarves fight with Smaug in Erebor, because it allows to understand why Smaug went out covered with gold.

    – The deaths of Fili and Kili are included.

    Scenes of the BOTFA Extended Version:

    – More of the confrontation between Bard and Smaug in Esgaroth.

    – Bilbo escapes of Erebor with the Arkenstone while Bofur stands guard.

    – Negotiations between Bard, Thranduil and Thorin.

    – The appearance of Dain and the start of the battle.

    – Counterattack of the dwarfs with Thorin ahead.

    – Sequence of the chariot.

    – More of Beorn in battle.

    – Funeral of Thorin, Fili and Kili. Dain coronation.

    Media Info

    The Hobbit.PSG Cut.Part1.720p.5.1AC3

    Formato : Matroska
    Modo de tasa de bits : Variable
    Tasa de bits total : 3 869Kbps

    Video
    Formato : AVC
    Tipo de tasa de bits : Variable
    Tasa de bits : 3 344Kbps
    Ancho : 1 280pixeles
    Alto : 720pixeles
    Relación de aspecto : 16:9
    Velocidad de cuadro : 23,976fps

    Audio
    Formato : AC-3
    Tipo de tasa de bits : Constante
    Tasa de bits : 448Kbps
    Canal(es) : 6canales
    Posiciones del canal : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
    Velocidad de muestreo : 48,0KHz
    Idioma (Language) : English

    The Hobbit.PSG Cut.Part2.720p.5.1AC3.mkv

    Formato : Matroska
    Tamaño del archivo : 4,25GIB
    Duración : 2h 36min.
    Modo de tasa de bits : Variable
    Tasa de bits total : 3 902Kbps

    Video
    Formato : AVC
    Tipo de tasa de bits : Variable
    Tasa de bits : 3 376Kbps
    Ancho : 1 280pixeles
    Alto : 720pixeles
    Relación de aspecto : 16:9
    Velocidad de cuadro : 23,976fps

    Audio
    Formato : AC-3
    Tipo de tasa de bits : Constante
    Tasa de bits : 448Kbps
    Canal(es) : 6canales
    Posiciones del canal : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
    Velocidad de muestreo : 48,0KHz
    Idioma (Language) : English

    Like

  16. Amazing work. Just great. However, when Thorin kills Azog, you can see an arrow coming from nowhere. Kinds of makes no sense. I think first half is perfect, but completely erasing Tauriel from the movie leaves a few holes in the second half.

    Like

  17. I have not yet watched this as I have literally only just discovered its existence about 5 minutes ago. This makes me happy. I have been talking about doing this since the first Hobbit movie came out and I was sitting in the cinema thinking ‘well I’ll cut this for a start…’ but sadly I have neither the skills nor the software to make my own edit. Very much looking forward to watching this when it has downloaded. Even if it is not the exact version I would have made, I totally applaud this. Am now just annoyed it’s taken me this long to find this!

    Like

  18. Kat Mulberry says:

    Sadly, everything edited out in this version is everything that was disappointing about the original Hobbit movies. I was extremely disappointed to fast forward through most of PJ’s final Hobbit movie. There was, however, enough of Tolkien’s world to make it watchable. This doesn’t reflect on PJ, but the Hollywood money machine. The Lord of the Rings was perfection. If ever there is an opportunity for a remake exactly how he wished the film to be, I can’t wait to see that. It is a tricky book to begin with, but the Hobbit script was completely lacking in Tolkien’s subtlety. To add a female character and romance that that didn’t exist in the book was bizarre. Having first read the books when I was ten and many times after, I never once thought, oh wouldn’t a romance be smashing, oh pity Tolkien didn’t have more battle, pity Tolkien didn’t … Hm.Tolkien fans, love TOLKIEN’s world. Cheerio.

    Like

  19. Dave Nielsen says:

    Much more needed to be cut. You talk about the acrobatics of Legolas and Tauriel, but leave in the equally ridiculous acrobatics – as seen in the trailer – of the dwarves and Bilbo (but especially the dwarves) when tangling with Smaug. Also, as others have pointed out – that scene where the dwarves sing as they wash dishes was in the book and really shouldn’t have been cut. Try to get this whole things down to 2.5 hours.

    Like

  20. Jim King says:

    I would have preferred a shorter cut – maybe half that. Cut out some more of the gymnastics routines and things like fireballs chasing people down hallways.

    Like

  21. I found your edit in December, along with a few other people’s. They inspired me to do my own, and since I took some cues from you (and because you are the only people who really understand the six months I’ve been obsessing over it), I’d like to share it with you.

    Please send me a mailing address if you’re interested, no big deal if you aren’t.

    You can see the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNUVeSYjilI

    Like

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