The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended EditionsWarner Bros./New Line Cinema
"Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring" - With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies, Frodo embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary One Ring. "Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers" - In the middle chapter of this historic movie trilogy, the Fellowship is broken but its quest to destroy the One Ring continues. "Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King" - The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring.
And the drama continues. When the theatrical cuts of this trilogy was released there was a wide spread flurry of disappointment over the weak HD presentation that The Fellowship of the Ring delivered. Sourced from an aging HD master it was crippled with obvious compression issues and a soft image. This new release features an updated HD master that is an improvement in every way. Definition is a big step forward and gone are the compression issues. But this new transfer features a new color timing that has been garnishing some pretty harsh criticism on the net and polarizing fans of the film in a rather nasty online debate. Yes, the film has a different look with some scenes showing a lean toward green or blue. But I honestly think this is a change for the better. Compared to the original, this new transfer has a more epic look that doesn’t look quite as washed out as the previous version. The differences really only pertain to a few shots that people will notice, but I found them anything but offensive. The latter two films are very similar to the previous theatrical releases and maintain and great sense of detail and definition. I’ve always felt these films got better and better looking as the trilogy progressed and this new set confirms that feeling once again. Even with the improvements to the first film, the Two Towers looks slightly more refined, especially with regard to the special effects, and The Return of the King is nearly flawless. I’m sure the drama will continue for months if not years as to what the first film should or shouldn’t look like, but I love what I saw from all three of these films in this set.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything to fault when it comes to the reference level soundtracks attached to all three of these films. From the score to the sound design, The Lord of the Rings is nearly the de facto standard on how to do an epic soundtrack right. From subtle ambiance to the raging battle sequences, this 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is breathtaking in range, definition and imaging. There are so many sequences that are demo worthy through each film and yet even the quieter moments are balanced perfectly. The gold standard of home theater mixes.
Extras are identical to the previously released extended editions and are a film fan’s dream come true. Every aspect of the film’s production is covered in extensive detail with documentaries, short production featurettes and extensive on set footage and interviews. Each film is covered from head to toe giving you insight into every facet of the production. I was a bit disappointed that the supplements were literally identical to the previous DVD releases, Warner could have at least combined the features into a single disc Blur-ray for each title rather than 3 DVD discs. The only new thing here are codes for the digital copies of all three extended editions for your portable device.
As great as these films were to behold in the theater, the extended editions take everything up a notch. They are by far the definitive editions of the film and take one of the most epic trilogies ever made to new heights. This new Blu-ray set is by far the best presentation I’ve seen of the film, drama or not, and delivers the experience every fan of the films should see. A must own!!