The first thing I thought after watching The Battle of Five Armies was "boy, that's a movie that didn't need to be made". Now, thanks to the power of fans and the internet, we can pretend around half of Peter Jackson's entire Hobbit trilogy never happened.
A guy by the name of tolkieneditor (via Daily Dot) has sat down with a copy of the book, decent versions of all three Hobbit films (the third has leaked already, because it's Oscars season) and a desire to make some deep and heavy cuts to Jackson's ponderous adaptation.
The result is The Hobbit: The Tolkien Edit, which whittles all those extra scenes and characters away into a single, (relatively) tight four-hour movie.
As per tolkieneditor's site, some of the biggest cuts (two of which you can see as vids in this post) include:
- The investigation of Dol Guldor has been completely excised
- The Tauriel-Legolas-Kili love triangle has also been removed.
- The Pale Orc subplot is vastly trimmed down.
- Several of the Laketown scenes have been cut, such as Bard's imprisonment and the superfluous orc raid.
- The prelude with old Bilbo is gone.
- Several of the orc skirmishes have been cut.
- 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.
- A lot of filler scenes have been cut as well.
As you can see, this isn't a direct attempt to adapt the book. Some of the scenes that have been left in are there at the editor's discretion, as have some of the cuts, so the next person who comes along and tries this may well have a slightly shorter, or at least different, take on things.
But I'd be surprised if these fan attempts don't all end up at roughly the same place in the end: a much shorter story that does a better job at bringing Tolkien's original tale to the big screen, because they don't have to worry about contracts or studio money or whatever else drove Jackson to stretch the story as thin as butter over too much bread.