--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.
Review by GeneralNerd — September 3, 2010 @ 1:19 am
I’ve watched all 6 parts now and I really liked a lot of what you did to change it. Here’s a simple list of what I liked and didn’t like.
The improved pacing. Watching my extended edition, I usually find myself bored, distracted, or falling asleep by the time Arwen is trying to escape the Black Riders on horseback. With your version, I was riveted.
The Black Riders seemed more threatening. It was mostly the small cuts you made that achieved this; they came across as more mysterious and harder to beat. It really made the whole thing feel more tense.
I was worried about how Arwen would come across when you’ve downplayed her more action filled moments, but it actually worked out fairly well.
The length. This isn’t really long enough to be its own movie. Not really your fault, though. You didn’t have much to work with in that regard.
The climax felt a bit too understated to me.
There’s a bit too much humor cut out. I know you were going for increased tension, but this really was one of the more lighthearted parts of the book, especially Pippin.