Lord of the Rings, The: Book I - The Return of the Shadow

Hot
Updated
 
9.4 (44)
8622 0 1 0 11
Lord of the Rings, The: Book I - The Return of the Shadow
Faneditor Name:
Genre:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2001
Original Running Time:
208
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
65
Time Cut:
144
Time Added:
4
Brief Synopsis:
The first of a six-part edit made to bring Peter Jackson’s adaptations of “The Lord of the Rings” as close as possible to the original book by J.R.R. Tolkien, this covers the first half of “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
Intention:
To separate Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy into six parts that adhere as closely as possible to the six books of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. This is done by both restructuring the films to match the narrative structure found in Tolkien’s book, and by removing as much as possible of the material that has no basis in Tolkien’s vision of Middle-Earth. For Book I, that chiefly involved removing the prologue and the Saruman subplot, as well as to end the edit at the fords of Bruinen.
Additional Notes:
This fanedit primarily intended for fans of Tolkien’s work. Its intention is not to improve the films in and of themselves, and viewers unfamiliar with the book will probably be left confused and unsatisfied, and would be better off watching the originals.
Release Information:
  • DVD
  • Digital
Special Features
- “The Finding of the Ring”: A 7-minute short that retells the events of “The Hobbit”, featuring footage from the animated “The Hobbit” (1977) and narration from the LotR audio books by Robert Inglis
- “The Prancing Pony” Color Comparison: A side-by-side comparison showing the color change
Cuts and Additions:
- There is no prologue. Like in the book, this edit begins on a less serious note (Bilbo’s party etc.), and only later do we learn the importance of the Ring. Parts of the prologue have been inserted elsewhere, which I’ll point out when we get there.
- 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 — 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
Cover art by Kerr (label by AvP) (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

double disc cover art by Kerr (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

cover art by boon23 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

cover art by AvP (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

cover art by AvP (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

cover art by AvP (DOWNLOAD HERE)
image

User reviews

44 reviews
 
73%
 
23%
 
5%
3-5 stars
 
0%
1-3 stars
 
0%
Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0(10)
Visual Editing
 
9.9(10)
Audio Editing
 
9.7(10)
Narrative
 
9.6(10)
Enjoyment
 
9.1(44)
View all user reviews View most helpful
Overall rating
 
9.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
5.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
--This review is about all six books, not only about this one--
So, I finally got to see Kerr's vision here. In total, it's about 7 1/2 hours long and therefore around 1/3 shorter than the extended editions.
That said, I don't think the pacing of this "Red Book" series is too fast, but the events told sometimes (really only sometimes, like the fellowship's voyage from Rivendell to Moriah, Frodo's encounter with Faramir or Aragorn's meeting in the path of the dead) feel a bit rushed - but that might also be just because I knew what's been cut out...
What I like about Kerr's approach is that his Middle-Earth landscapes feel bigger, more epic and more fitting to the story - yes, even though Jackson always gos for bigger, I really always thought the movies felt small regarding the landscapes! So wonderfully, Kerr achieves to let LOTR happen in more adequate geographic surroundings. This and his use of alternative music (besides of course the well-known various themes of LOTR) give his edit a more mythical and awestruck quality.
What I do not like is (and yes, I know it's this edit's trademark) - or put better, what didn't work too well for me was Kerr's approach to tell the several story lines each by itself and without switching from one to the other.
I mean, it's okay and one might like it, but imo it's one of the original book's strenghts and tricks to achieve a certain grandeur that gets lost when ignored.
Now for the cutting itself, I think it's rather flawless - Kerr is successfull in keeping in all significant highlights in all their glory and removing much of what could be considered lenghty, inadequately blown-up or simply unnecessary. He also changes the placement of backstories (or puts them back in the original book's order) in convincing style, meaning Peter's changes for the better of the movies themselves are all "corrected", and still Kerr's cut is not suffering from that, which is quite an achievement!
All in all, his LOTR feels more serious, more mature - but then again, I must admit I haven't seen the original Extended Editions for years, maybe these are not as overloaded as I remember them?
I also want to add that I saw Kerr's edit in compressed DVD resolution which just looks not too good on today's HD TVs.
I definitely can recommend this edit, and it was a joy to watch, but it won't be my go-to-version.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Not much to add at this point. The edit is technically flawless. I could not detect video or audio editing anywhere and just enjoyed watching.

This does just what is advertised, gives you a version faithful to the book. All the extras added by Peter Jackson are pretty much gone, and it's just the story as you read. Not that I dislike all the extra stuff, but it is nice to have this "purist" version to watch. I also like that the movies have been broken up into more bite-size pieces so it doesn't feel quite as much of a marathon viewing commitment.

My only minor wish is that of other reviewers: 5.1 audio, and HD video.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Couldn't find it in a higher quality but, other than that, this series is a perfect example of an edit as the original product should have been.

Superior.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
(Updated: February 24, 2020)
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
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.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 1 0
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
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!

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
DVD
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
View all user reviews