Watch a fan’s 4 hour re-edit of ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy

Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy has been one of the most frustrating franchises in movie history. Many fans still love it, but Jackson’s need to overload the films with invented love triangles, back stories, needlessly long and laughable fight sequences, unnecessary winks to the original Lord of the Rings franchise, and countess acts of dwarves walking in straight lines have for this writer made all three films a boring, meandering mess.

And yet three films always felt like a lot for one book, and Jackson is a strong enough filmmaker that you can see a great movie in The Hobbit. Our own review of The Battle of the Five Armies said that “for those willing to overlook the sour for the sweet, there are great treasures to be found, as Jackson brings his trilogy to a suitably-epic conclusion.”

So perhaps mercifully, a fan by the name “tolkieneditor” has finally taken a dwarf’s axe to Jackson’s films and condensed The Hobbit into a single movie just over four hours in length. Here’s the editor’s thoughts on the project:

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… 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).

The author also talked about what’s missing from this new version, including all of the Legolas-Tauriel-Kili love triangle, many scenes of backstory and exposition and lengthy battle sequences.

Take a look at the editor’s blog to get a full sense of the edits, as well as instructions to watch the film or download it on BitTorrent. But below, watch a sample of the edit, in which The Desolation of Smaug‘s barrel sequence has been reduced to remove Legolas and Tauriel from it entirely.

Surely this will not be the last of the edits to this film. Perhaps Steven Soderbergh will take a stab at it next.

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Brian Welk is the Features Editor for PopOptiq, a journalist and film critic currently studying Journalism at the University of Southern California. Brian is originally based out of Chicago and is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Journalism. His articles have appeared in Consequence of Sound, the Indiana Daily Student, the IDS WEEKEND, ReelChicago, Metromix Chicago, Redeye, The Artifice, Moviepilot and SVELTO Magazine. He maintains his own film blog The Sanity Clause at Follow him on Twitter, @brianwelk, on The Sanity Clause Tumblr and on Letterboxd. When he's not watching movies and managing embarrassing spreadsheets of films he still has to catch up on, he listens to a lot of indie rock and frequently attends concerts and bars with plenty of craft beer on tap.