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.