Lord of the Rings, The: Book I - The Return of the Shadow
- NTSC DVD-5
- “The Prancing Pony” Color Comparison: A side-by-side comparison showing the color change
- New title sequence. Just to give the edit a unique feel, really. Before the company credits and film title (which has been changed to “J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings”), Christopher Lee recites the Ring Verse.
- “Book I : The Return of the Shadow” title added over Frodo reading in the forest.
- Gandalf’s ride through Hobbiton has been reworked to remove Bilbo’s narration and include some shots from the theatrical version. Just because I preferred the theatrical version â€” it gives a better introduction to both Gandalf and Frodo, and Bilbo’s narration that replaced those scenes in the EE is really quite pointless. In order to make this work, a continuity issue arises: After they ride over the bridge, they are seen riding through the fields (which replaces a shot from the theatrical that was used in an earlier scene in the EE), then in the next shot they are riding through the marketplace seen to be on the other side of the bridge. I don’t consider it that big a deal, though, since the continuity of that sequence was rather murky to begin with.
- Bilbo is not seen panicking over having “lost” the ring. As in the book, the importance of the ring is not emphasized until after the party.
- As Gandalf reads Isildur’s account, the Battle of the Last Alliance from the prologue is seen, unnarrated. In order to remove the narration, the sequence has been shortened slightly.
- Removed the shot of the Black Rider on the hilltop after Frodo and Sam see the wood-elves. Frodo and Sam don’t know as of yet that they are being hunted. In order to follow the book, neither should the audience.
- Removed all the Isengard sequences. As in the book, that encounter is retold in Book II, and we have no idea of what’s happened to Gandalf until then.
- Merry doesn’t distract the Black Rider with the bag of vegetables. Both because it’s not in the book, and (mostly) because I find it silly.
- The Hobbits do not encounter a Black Rider on their way to the ferry. The Riders are heard, but not seen until one comes chasing after Frodo as he runs to the ferry. To make the Black Riders more frightening and less incompetent. Also, not in the book.
- Shots of “scary” inhabitants of Bree have been cut. Peter Jackson seems to think that Bree should be a frightening place, but it wasn’t in the book, so I’ve tried to make it a bit less ominous.
- The Inn of the Prancing Pony has been recolored. Originally, it was tinted with a sickly yellow. I’ve made it a bit warmer to make the inn seem more pleasant.
- Shots of “scary” people at the inn have been cut. Again, to make Bree a little less ominous.
- Cut Sauron’s line “I see you!”. Not in the book. In fact, in the book, the Eye is not even aware of Frodo until Amon Hen, and doesn’t “see” him until he claims the ring at the Cracks of Doom. In PJ’s movies, it seems that Sauron discovers Frodo all the time, which undermines his role as a villain. So in this edit, he just says to Frodo that he “cannot hide”, but without discovering his exact location.
- Removed shots of sleeping Hobbits that were intercut with the Black Riders. A cheap and unnecessary way to heighten tension.
- Arwen doesn’t catch Aragorn off his guard. To lessen Arwen’s importance and make her seem lees like Xena the Warrior Princess and more like the elf maiden she’s supposed to be.
- Added subtitles for “Frodo fir” (“Frodo is dying.”) and “Be iest lin” (“As you wish”).
- Cut Sam’s lines “What are you doing!? Those wraiths are still out there!”. To quote faneditforum-member spelledaren, “Why is Sam so stupid?”
- Cut the Witch-King’s “Give up the Halfling, she-elf!” and Arwen’s “If you want him, come and claim him!”. Again, I feel it makes Arwen too much of an action-heroine.
- Arwen doesn’t summon the flood at the ford. Both to lessen Arwen’s importance, and because it’s not in the book where it was Elrond and Gandalf who summoned the flood.
- Cut Arwen’s line “What grace is given me, let it pass to him”. Both to lessen her importance, and because I haven’t the slightest clue what it’s supposed to mean.
- As Arwen cradles the unconscious Frodo in her arms, we fade to “End of Book I”. Like the book, this edit ends with Frodo falling unconscious at the fords of Bruinen.
The new version of Book I is finished and uploaded. The following changes have been made from the first DVD release:
- The title sequence has been changed to match the style used for Books V and VI
- Gandalf’s line about the “long-expected party” has been cut to allow for a smoother audio transition
- Cut some of Bilbo’s speech, going directly from “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and like less than half of you half as well as you deserve” (or however that line goes…) to “I regret to announce this is the end”, without the mumbling in-between
- The Last Alliance flashback has been extended to include the establishing shot of the marching armies and a shot of Elendil wielding Narsil
- Shots of the Wood Elves have been flipped to fix a continuity error
- Cut Pippin’s “Oh, that was close” and Merry’s bit with the carrot after their stumble down the cliff
- Cut Frodo seeing the Eye at the inn
- Cut Aragorn throwing his torch at a Ringwraith
- Cut Sam’s line “Look Frodo, it’s Mr. Bilbo’s trolls!”
- The flight to the ford has been shortened somewhat
- Also, this release has a higher video bitrate than the first one, and the audio work has been improved throughout
As good as the LOTR books are, I was worried going into this edit that such a radical book edit would go too far. As weird and unnecessary as many of PJ's additions are, I liked a lot of them and felt that not only do they help many parts of Tolkein's story to exist in a movie setting, but also just straight up improve many elements of the original work. I won't get into everything here, but nevertheless I was a little skeptical.
While my opinion could change when I watch the subsequent parts, based on this first installment alone this edit is such a massive improvement. It just flows so well and is just a joy to watch. The original, in comparison, just seems to waste your time with countless unnecessary scenes and bits of dialogue, and while the extended editions include lots of good scenes, they just become even more bloated for their trouble. This edit deftly weaves between the best qualities of both theatrical and extended editions to create an edit which is ten times more pleasant to watch and sacrifices very little to achieve it. Like I said, as the movies go on and the edits become more radical my opinion may change, but at least for now this edit is a lovely alternative for both book and movie fans.
I can only give this fanedit a perfect review since I just truly loove this version of LOTR so much more than the original cut / edit (both theatrical and EE). To me all of Kerr's 6 books are a masterpeace. Only thing distracting is that, as far as I know, there is no HD-version of it available, so when watching the Hobbit fanedit beforehand, the quality difference is noticable. Let's hope an HD version comes out someday. This will be the version I will watch from now on if I watch the LOTR. Thank you Kerr for the work you put in!
Not much more to add to the previous reviews. The editing is superbly done, and apart from what might be a half-a-second too quick audio cross-fade, I didn't notice any cuts. Thanks for doing these book edits; reading the books along with watching these made me realize what Jackson has done well and not so well.
It takes a minute for the eyes to adjust to the SD quality, but after that it's unnoticeable. If nothing else, it helps focusing on the story and not to be blindsided by the stupendously beautiful CG-trickery.
I've always enjoyed the Lord of the Rings films. The first time I noticed something was wrong with them was when I watched the first Hobbit movie. Even though I read the books, I admired the "old" movies Peter Jackson gave us. Now that my disappointment in this moviefranchise has grown, I'm really thankful there are people like kerr that take something they love and transform it into something even better.
This edit is not perfect but it's as true to Tolkien's vision as it gets. The pacing is much better than in the original trilogy, conversations aren't as redundant as they used to be and one can feel the love that was put in this project every minute. Especially movies 2 and 3 are a large improvement over PJ's version - there's less goofyness, more focus and stronger characters overall (especially gimli and theoden).
Since I'm used to blurays I have to say that the imagequality isn't that great, but overall I highly recommend this edit to every Tolkienfan and will watch it from now on, everytime I'm in the mood for Lord of the Rings. This is easily the best fanedit I've seen so far.
Finally something closer to Tolkien's epic. Kerr finally found a way for die hard Tolkien fans to tolerate Jackson's take on LotR. Finally a leaner version of Jackson's epic, which sometimes proves to be dull or slow (or both), and doesn't need 11h plus to tell (the fragments it takes from) the tale. Finally Pippin and Merry and Gimli aren't that stupid, and other characters such as Frodo, Aragorn and Frodo really know what they're doing, instead of going on just because the script says so.
Strong storytelling, especially because of the right lines from the novel (which Jackson randomly quotes throughout the movies) and of the suspense Jackson tried to create with his poor tricks.
Kerr, we want you for the Hobbit too: there's even more need of you, if it's going to be what it seemed in part 1. Please, save us!!!
PS. This is about the whole series, not just part 1 - the Retun of the Shadow.
PPS. Nice touch, to use Tolkien's suggested book-titles (i.e.: the six book of which LotR is made up) for the movie parts (excepted part 4, which Tolkien named "the Ring goes East").