There's a growing trend in Hollywood to take source material from one book and turn it into several films. In fact, the word "trilogy" has become so common that it's surprising a studio hasn't tried to copyright it yet.
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit is one such film. Originally a book by J.R.R. Tolkien with barely over 300 pages, Jackson turned the story of The Hobbit into three long movies by adding in a lot of new (and often unessential) characters, as well as adding in new scenes he'd picked from Hobbit-related materials.
One fan, though, decided to take matters into his own hands and edited all three The Hobbit films down until they fit together as one four-hour film. Of course, four hours is still a little long for a movie, but not entirely unheard of. This version of the film, although completely unofficial (and possibly frowned on by Jackson), is much closer to the source material of Tolkien's novel and even whittles down some action scenes that went on just a bit too long.
If you want to see the fan cut, you'll have to torrent it. However, it could be totally worth it, especially if you've sat through all three of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films and left those feeling totally unsatisfied.
One of the largest edits of the film removes the character of Tauriel, who Jackson made up so that he could have an elf-dwarf-elf love triangle. That story is so unimportant that you probably won't miss it in the fan film. The intro where Bilbo sets up the story as a flashback is also gone, which probably works better because it makes the film feel more relevant. Many action sequences also saw some editing, cutting them down to make them less stretched out and tighter.
"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)," writes the mysterious fan film creator tolkieneditor. "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."
Tolkieneditor admits that the infamous barrel scene of the second film was the hardest to work with, as well as the fight on Ravenhill (he removed both Legolas and Tauriel from those scenes).
You can get more details about edits on tolkieneditor's website.
[Photo Credit: New Line Cinema/MGM]