--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.
As with Book I, this edit accomplishes its goals. It follows the books much more closely than the original release, or EE.
I especially appreciate the alterations with the Elves, both Rivendell and Lothlorien. The Aragorn/Arwen love story felt forced in, and there is a reason Tolkien put that as an appendix. Removing it helps move the main plot along. Removing almost all of Galadriel's creepy telepathy worked very well. It always felt overdone to me and Kerr brought it down to just enough.
The cuts for Moria work well. Gimli's anguish at finding Balin's tomb really hits now. Cutting overlong battle sequences with improbable physics and the spider-orcs helped a lot.
The one place it felt a bit rough was the end. The edits were a little disjointed, but Kerr had to work with the material at hand. I had to check the book to refresh my memory on the first book's telling of the breaking of the fellowship. Sure enough, Kerr rearranged it to much more closely follow the book.
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!
Great, great editing! I really enjoy these book cuts and feel that Kerr has managed to trim the originals to closer mimic the books. Difficult to do at times, I'm sure, what with the limited material to work with. Sometimes it's just too hard to cut around one of Jackson's alterations. But all the changes and re-arrangements done by Kerr feels right. Well done!