--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.
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.
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!