--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.
I've watched and deeply enjoyed all of Kerr's Red Book edits, but this one was, I felt, the most improved. Rather than splitting the audience's attention between the two halves of the divided Fellowship, sticking with one plot at a time worked wonders for the film, and I didn't find it dragged at all, which I absolutely cannot say for the original theatrical cuts.
I absolutely loved these edits, and it felt like watching a riveting miniseries rather than a poorly paced film trilogy. Very highly recommended to fans who want to see a fresh, more Tolkien-accurate take on the Peter Jackson films.
This one is more heavily edited than the two Fellowship of the Ring edits, but then I think there's a lot more material added here that needed to be trimmed for a book cut. On the whole I quite enjoyed it and was surprised that it's still 1hr 45min.
The changes to scene sequences works, especially for the chase of the Isengard orcs. Focusing first on the hunters and tracking the hobbits, then switching to what Merry and Pippin's experiences were--as deduced by Aragon was great. Lots of silly stuff is gone and I didn't miss anything here.
The sequence with the Ents felt a bit disjointed and abrupt. While there was extra stuff gone that helped, Treebeard's walk with the hobbits felt a bit shortchanged. The battle of Isengard worked, feeling about right.
Losing the extra stuff in Rohan worked. We focus on the main plot, and no extra superfluous side-plots are introduced, much as I enoyed the life of a Rohirrim bits. I did notice the small continuity issue with Gandalf's cloak--but that may be as much my awareness of what was cut as anything else. The story gets to the point and gets us to Helm's Deep. Which...
Overall the cuts were good. Again, being familiar with the source movie the cut felt almost like it shortchanged the battle. But, it reverted to the significance as in the original book, and wasn't forced as the climax to the second blockbuster movie.
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!
Wow, I'm so glad I found these edits. As a fan of the books since childhood, I always though that Jackson's movies made some... questionable decisions beyond simply translating books to screen. "The Fellowship of the Ring" was, I thought, a pretty good adaptation overall. "The Two Towers," however... I was actually angry leaving the theater and that was the only time I watched it, even though I eventually bought the EE DVDs!
I'm thrilled to say that, with these book edits, TTT is FIXED!!!! The Battle of the Hornburg is maybe a half-dozen pages in the book; this edit dials it back from being the main part of the movie to a reasonable position story/emphasis-wise. Theoden's character is fixed. So many unnecessary movie additions have been trimmed back (stupid Wargs); I actually enjoyed this.
The section with the Ents, sadly, zipped by (so uncharacteristic of them!), but you can only work with the source material you have. I'd guess this was handled about as well as could be.
I realize that I'm writing as someone very familiar with the books and I'm happy to finally see something close to them on the screen. It's hard to say whether someone who hasn't read them would be able to follow or not - but I rate this one superb and have been recommending it to the LOTR book lovers I know.