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DVD Shopping Bag: Lord of the Rings Extended Blu-rays

My Precious!

By Robert T. Trate     June 28, 2011

The Lord of the Rings Extended Blu-rays arrive today
© New Line, Warner Bros.


Cue Howard Shore’s “Concerning Hobbits” track and we are now ready to talk Lord of the Rings. Back in April of 2010 Warner Brothers and New Line released The Lord of the Rings theatrical cuts on Blu-ray (see column). Why, we haven’t ever really been sure. Was it double dipping a la George Lucas? Perhaps they were feeling out the waters on a Blu-ray release? By Gollum those Blu-rays were terrible. The transfer was sub par and better yet it made you appreciate the extended versions all the more. This release, in my humble opinion, is the definitive one.
Fathom Events have been screening the extended versions in theaters all this month. A great night out to be sure but nothing you couldn’t have seen at home. A great promotion but why not have a one day event with all three films screened back to back to back? I held off knowing full well that a day like this will come to pass. I’ve already been to such a screening that had all extended cuts except The Return of the King. Sorry Fathom, but it isn’t enough to show just one of these classic films at a time.
The Lord of the Rings is the new holy trilogy or at least it will be until next year. That title will revert back to The Back to the Future trilogy. I was eager to dive into this box set and see what Warner Brothers and New Line would do with the box, the number of discs, and above all the transfer. Sadly, it isn’t all precious.
The box for the extended editions is beautiful. Wrapped in gold and covered with intricate designs it looks as if it came right out of the Weta Workshop. Opening it reveals a small map of Middle Earth and the 15 discs which fit perfectly into their three different jackets. Wait, 15 discs? I was under the understanding that a Blu-ray disc could hold more content and give us better picture quality? Now three commentaries tracks are a lot but does that take up that much space? I guess what really gets me is that I still have to get up and change the discs to watch a single film. It’s an epic I know, but it seems as if they wanted to charge more by the Blu-ray then placing the film on one disc. Which leads to me question why the Appendices are on three separate DVDs. Yes, that’s right DVDs. These could have all easily been placed on one Blu-ray.
That’s all on my two cents about the price gauging of this box set. Lets us get down to more important things, the transfer. In the prologue of the Fellowship of the Ring an awesome sight was our first look at Mount Doom. On Blu-ray, in 1080p, it leaves you breathless. Mordor itself looks even more menacing than before and in contradiction the Shire looks quainter. Light is the key difference in this Blu-ray release and it cuts through scenes like never before. While watching this you’re seeing shadows pop and sunlight that glistens. It was as if I was watching the film for the first time.
Half way through the Fellowship of the Ring I had a terrible thought. To make matters worse Entertainment Weekly had just released three different images from the prequel, The Hobbit (seen here). So my question to you and more importantly Peter Jackson, will there be an insertion of Martin Freeman into a Special Edition of Lord of the Rings? Obviously, Freeman would not appear in the older Bilbo scenes but perhaps into the prologue? Many of us were up in arms about Manakin Skywalker, Hayden Christensen, inserted into the end of the Return of the Jedi. It wasn’t so much the changing of the actor but that Christensen was terrible. He soils our film by being there and reminds us of the prequel’s follies. If Freeman and Jackson deliver a grand slam of a prequel will we even care? Or are the original films something that should remain untouched?
For now The Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray is the breath taking masterpiece we remember it to be. You’ll marvel at the intricacies and length of Saruman’s (Christopher Lee) eye brows. Then you’ll be grossed out on how gritty Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) really was. The true treat is seeing how marvelous Middle Earth really is all over again.
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
2. The Last Starfighter [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy]
3. Darkman [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy]
4. Barney's Version (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
5. Black Moon: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
Alpha Dog (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Starring Justin Timberlake and Bruce Willis
Alien Thunder Starring Donald Sutherland, Kevin McCarthy and Chief Dan George
American Gangster [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Josh Brolin
Backdraft [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Kurt Russell, William Baldwin and Robert De Niro
Camille 2000 (Extended Version) (Blu-ray) Starring Daniel Gaubert, Nino Castelnuovo and Eleonora Rossi Drago
Camille 2000 [Blu-ray]
Camille 2000 (Extended Version)
Camille 2000
Carlito's Way [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Al Pacino and Sean Penn
Hot Fuzz [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy
In Bruges [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds
Inside Man [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher and Nick Moran
Public Enemies [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring James Russo, David Wenham and Christian Stolte
Sleeping with the Enemy [Blu-ray]
Smokin' Aces [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta and Joseph Ruskin
Spy Game [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt
State of Play [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck
Unleashed [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Jet Li, Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins
Wanted [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman
Warrior's Way Starring Dong-Gun Jang and Kate Bosworth
Warrior's Way [Blu-ray]
Adieu Galaxy Express 999 Starring Eastern Star
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie [Blu-ray] Starring Steve Blum and Beau Billingslea
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Five [Blu-ray] Starring Colleen Clinkenbeard, Sean Schemmel and Monica Rial
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Five
High School of the Dead Complete Collection [Blu-Ray]
High School of the Dead Complete Collection
Magical Witch Punie-Chan (Special Edition)
Orphen Complete Collection
Rideback: The Complete Series (Limited Edition) DVD/Blu-ray Combo Starring Alexis Tipton, Bryan Massey and Chris Burnett
Rideback: Complete Series DVD/Blu-ray Combo
Challenge of the Gobots: The Original Miniseries Starring Lou Richards, Arthur Burghardt, Frank Welker (see column)
Daughters Courageous Starring John Garfield and Claude Rains
Four Daughters Movie Series Collection Starring Claude Rains
Four Mothers Starring Claude Rains and Jeffrey Lynn
Four Wives Starring Claude Rains and Jeffrey Lynn
Prize Starring Paul Newman, Gerard Oury and Sergio Fantoni
Rack Starring Paul Newman, Wendell Corey, Walter Pidgeon
The 40-Year-Old Virgin [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd
Knocked Up [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd
Stuart Little (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Stuart Little 2 (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie
Uncle Buck [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring John Candy
Criterion Collection
Black Moon: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Cathryn Harrison, Therese Giehse, Alexandra Stewart
Black Moon: The Criterion Collection
People on Sunday: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Erwin Splettstober, Brigitte Borchert
People on Sunday: The Criterion Collection
Zazie dans le metro: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Catherine Demongeot, Philippe Noiret, Hubert Deschamps
Zazie dans le metro: The Criterion Collection
The Baby Starring Anjanette Comer and Marianna Hill
Bloody Birthday Starring Lori Lethin and Julie Brown
Caliber 9 Starring Gastone Moschin
Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer Starring Brian Krause, Danielle Harris and Lance Henriksen
Dawn of the Dead [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Ving Rhames and Jake Weber
Dawning Starring David Coral and Jonas Goslow
Dawning [Blu-Ray]
Italian Connection Starring Mario Adorf, Woody Strode and Henry Silva
The Jackal [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Bruce Willis, Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier
Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man Starring Ray Lovelock and Marc Porel
Max Manus: Man of War [Blu-ray] Starring Aksel Hennie and Agnes Kittelsen
Max Manus: Man of War
Melvin Starring Patrick O'Driscoll, Leif Fuller and Joey Stutz
The Nesting [Blu-ray] Starring Robin Groves, Christopher Loomis, Michael David Lally
The Nesting
Nightmares Starring Max Phipps and Jenny Neumann
Rammbock: Berlin Undead Starring Michael Fuith and Theo Trebs
U-571 [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton and Harvey Keitel
Van Helsing [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Hugh Jackman and Richard Roxburgh
Zombie Holocaust [Blu-ray] Starring Ian McCulloch
Apollo 13 [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon
Out of Africa [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer,
Traffic [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro
Darkman [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Liam Neeson and Colin Friels
The Eleventh Aggression Starring Lanny Rethaber, Steve Furedy and Patrick Adam
Jumanji (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Lambert Wilson
The Last Starfighter [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Lance Guest and Dan O'Herlihy (see column)
Season of the Witch Starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman
Season of the Witch [Blu-ray]
Serenity [Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] Starring Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk
Sucker Punch (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Starring Abbie Cornish and Emily Browning
Sucker Punch
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man Starring Eric Bossick and Akiko Mono
Zathura (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Jonah Bobo
Ancient Aliens: Season Two
The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant: The Complete 2 Part Miniseries [Blu-ray] Starring Tony Martin, Sam Neill, Jack Davenport and Romola Garai
Law & Order Criminal Intent: Season 6 Starring Kathryn Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan
ReBoot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition Starring Kathleen Barr, Michael Benyaer, Gary Chalk and Tony Jay
ReBoot: Season Three and Four Starring Kathleen Barr, Michael Benyaer and Gary Chalk
Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete First Season Starring Sasha Alexander, Angie Harmon and Lorraine Bracco
To the Ends of the Earth: Complete 3 Part Miniseries [Blu-ray] Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Harris, Sam Neill
Warehouse 13: Season 2 Starring Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly and Saul Rubinek
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] Starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and Ian McKellen
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
StarlightGuard 6/28/2011 7:42:38 AM

I remember reading on Amazon that this was going to have DVD's in addition to Blu discs. What a waste.

Oh, and Bob, I think you forgot to say that "Beastly" with Alex Prettyfer and Vanessa Topless Hudgens comes out today.

Yes, I'll be getting myself a copy. I finished reading "Breaking Dawn" a few weeks back, so I need something to tide me over until BD Pt. 1 comes out.

doublec 6/28/2011 11:17:09 AM

He didn't forget Beastly, he just realized most of us don't care.

You used this review to take some rather cheap shots. Seriously, how does your opinion of Fathom's progrmming decisions affect this bluray release in any way shape or form? And as to Hayden Christensen, besides the fact that he again has nothing to do with the issue at hand, he's no worse than Mark Hamill was in A New Hope. All the problems people have with the prequel trilogy were just as present  in the original trilogy. The prequels just don't have 35 years of worship masking their sins.

Hobbs 6/28/2011 12:27:43 PM

wow doublec, you couldn't be more wrong in my opinion.  The original trilogy is far superior to the prequels of star wars. That's why it will never be know as the saga in the fan world, it will be know as the prequels and the originals.  Christensen doesn't deserve all the blame but the guy can't act and even though Hammil is no Marlon Brando he was ten times better than Hayden.  Though to be fair there is a reason why neither one of them became Harrison Ford. 

I could make comparisons if you need me to as to why the original trilogy was a far better set of movies than the prequels that has nothing to do with 35 years of fan worship.  Though if we do I will pick on Jedi most out of the three...and we are talking originals not special editions where he prequeled them.

Speaking of the LOTR...this seems like a money grab to me.  15 discs, come on...if I ever see it for 30 bucks maybe I'll pick it up but just like the Star Wars blu ray, they should have put everything in one package deal....and I'm against taking out Ian holm in place of a young freeman.  Leave the movies alone...you want to update it with better film quality fine but don't change the movies.  You can see what a mess that was with the SW special editions.

decepticons2 6/28/2011 12:53:22 PM

I want a definitive 3 disc, no commentary extended edition. Really is it so hard to put 3 movies on 3 discs and put it in a case. Almost everyone I know never watches the comentaries on these. Only the hardcore fanatics feel the need, generally.

tacid 6/28/2011 4:47:10 PM

If Martin Freeman does a great job as ayoung Bilbo in the Hobbit then I have no problems with them redoing that one flashback scene where Bilbo finds the Ring. But they should have done it for this release. I hate having to rebuy it again just for that one scene.

Also I agree. 3 movies, 3 disks and no commentaries please!

Tashiro 6/28/2011 6:18:20 PM

 Honestly, they could have put each movie on one blu-ray, with all the extras.  This seems a waste of money, and I think I'll just keep with my dvd set.  As for commentary and such, I love these things.  :)  But I really don't think we need to have multiple blu-rays for a single movie.  :\



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