The inevitable has occurred only a month after The Hobbit finale hit theaters. Someone took all three films and condensed them into one.
A person who only wishes to identify himself as TolkienEditor is hosting their 4 1/2-hour cut of The Hobbit, dubbed the “Tokien Edit,” on Archive.org and through torrents. On the anonymous person’s site you’ll find a list of major changes that were made in order to cut the 9-hour running time in half. The person says that the recut is in DVD quality.
The motive for recutting the film appears to stem from the fact that Bilbo Baggins was placed on the back burner for big parts of the final two Hobbit films, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies. “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,” the editor writes.
One difference in the condensed version is notable as soon as you begin watching: No longer does the film start with the older aged Bilbo. “As with the novel, I find the film works better if the scope starts out small (in a cosy hobbit hole),” says Tolkien Editor, “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).”
Other cuts include the Tauriel-Legolas-Kili love triangle – an aspect that is not in Tolkien’s book at all. In fact, Tauriel and Legolas have been essentially removed as characters in the recut movie. “This was the next clear candidate for elimination, given how little plot value and personality these two woodland sprites added to the story,” the editor says.
Tolkien Editor proves on his blog that he put a lot of effort into this condensed Hobbit film. This was clearly a passion project. “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.”
We may never receive an official recut of The Hobbit for those who wish to see the story resemble Tokien’s book. Thus, fan edits will have to do.