Just in case a four-hour version of an eight-hour trilogy was still too long for you, professional video editor David Killstein has now gone and made an even more drastic cut of Peter Jackson's overblown Hobbit adaptation.

I sat down and watched the first fan cut from earlier in the week, and it was...OK. Still felt a bit off in places, and a bit long-in-the-tooth in others, so I'm more excited to watch this one, which isn't just more ruthless, but feels smarter with its decisions as well (the video quality from the first two films also appears to be much better).

"After about 312 new edits and cuts and almost 5 hours removed from the trilogy, this single film combines the three Peter Jackson movies into one immense epic that accurately tells the story of Bilbo", Killstein, aka FunnyPuzzle, writes, "while maintaining what new ideas and battles have been implanted in Jackson's retelling (such as the Battle of the Five Armies containing orcs instead of goblins)."

"Scenes aren't always simply removed, sometimes they are repositioned or sometimes specific elements are taken out or added in for coherency or pacing".

Below is an example of the work done, in which a 33-minute scene is trimmed to five:

In addition to "dozens" of other minor tweaks, here's a list of the major changes that have been made:

  • Removed all of Elf-Dwarf Love Triangle Plot
  • Removed all of Gandalf's necromancer adventures
  • Removed most of orc scenes/battles/mentions in first 2/3's of the film (including removing frames with orcs from the post-goblin escape scene at the end of "Unexpected Journey")
  • Removed Bilbo killing a wolf - the first thing he kills is the spider in Mirkwood forest, giving the sword the name "Sting"
  • Removed all of (elder) Bilbo's introduction to the lore
  • Removed all of the heavy foreshadowing for LOTR and the evil of the ring - kept to the spirit of the book, it was a playful invisibility ring!
  • Added a deleted scene of the Shire villagers as an intro to the film
  • Reduced much of the Dwarves' dinner at Bilbo's
  • Created faster transition to Bilbo getting out of the house
  • Reduced Rivendell
  • Reduced Stone Giant scene
  • Reduced goblin scene, re-ordered dialogue to mirror book interactions between Thorin & Goblin King
  • Kept Gollum scene entirely intact - no cutting between that and the goblin lair, although shortened as well as removed Gollum beating the corpse in the beginning
  • Created voice-over transition into Beorn scene at the beginning of "Desolation of Smaug"
  • Reduced Mirkwood forest & Woodland Realm capture scenes
  • Heavily reduced Laketown capture (all of Laketown is about 10 minutes total now)
  • Removed Smaug battle scene with dwarves in the mines (kept Bilbo's conversation with Smaug, the battle was outrageously cartoonish and long)
  • Removed Bard using his son as a bow, the shots dance around it and the scene is intact
  • Rearranged much of Battle of Five Armies for coherency of Bilbo concealing and giving away the Arkenstone without the need for so many silly slow-motion Thorin bits
  • Removed many elements of the Battle of Five Armies that contained too much CGI monsters or silly battle actions (like repeated head-butting)
  • Reduced and rearranged the battle to get to Thorin quicker
  • Removed elves from the final fight scene (Kili fights the orc in order to protect Bilbo instead of his elf love interest)
  • Removed final flash-forward scene, the film ends with Bilbo finally coming home

You can read more about it at David's site for the cut.

UPDATE - And here's another one, from a different editor. At this rate, we'll be down to a one-hour version by the end of the month.