Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Limited Edition)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
10 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Elijah Wood as Frodo
Sean Astin as Sam
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Ian McKellen as Gandalf
Andy Serkis as Gollum/Smeagol
Billy Boyd as Pippin
Dominic Monaghan as Merry
Miranda Otto as Eowyn
David Wenham as Faramir
Orlando Bloom as Legolas
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
Liv Tyler as Arwen
Karl Urban as Eomer
Noel Appleby as Everard Proudfoot
Alexandra Astin as Elanor Gamgee
John Bach as Madril
Sean Bean as Boromir
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
Sadwyn Brophy as Eldarion
Alistair Browning as Damrod
Marton Csokas as Celeborn
Bernard Hill as Theoden
Ian Holm as Bilbo
Bruce Hopkins as Gamling
Ian Hughes as Irolas
Lawrence Makoare as Witch King/Gothmog
Bret McKenzie as Elf Escort
Sarah McLeod as Rosie Cotton
John Noble as Denethor
Paul Norell as King of the Dead
Thomas Robins as Deagol
Harry Sinclair as Isildur
Peter Tait as Shagrat
Stephen Ure as Gorbag
Hugo Weaving as Elrond

Special Features:
"The Return of the King Behind-the-Scenes" documentary (112 minutes)

The Theatrical and Special Extended Editions of the film

Animated menus

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time (Theatrical Version): 200 Minutes
Running Time (Extended Version): 250 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD description:

"For a limited time, experience a new look at Middle-earth with 'The Lord of the Rings' Limited Edition DVDs in three separate collectors editions. A must-have for every The Lord of the Rings enthusiast, each of the Academy AwardŽ-winning films will be presented in a two-disc set with a behind-the-scenes documentary exclusive to each limited edition. Disc one presents both the Special Extended Edition and the Theatrical Edition of the film through seamless branching, while disc two features an intimate, never-before-seen documentary created by Costa Botes, the all-access filmmaker commissioned by Peter Jackson. With more than five hours of captivating, never-before-released footage, 'The Fellowship of the Ring Limited Edition,' 'The Two Towers Limited Edition' and 'The Return of the King Limited Edition.'"

This film is rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and some scary images.

Mini-Review:
I'll use this review to focus on the new behind-the-scenes documentary included here for the first time. For my thoughts on the film itself, check out my other reviews.

Like the previous two documentaries, this is a real in-the-trenches look at the making of the movie. There is a ton of raw footage, interviews with cast and crew, and more. It's excellent stuff. Notable in this documentary is an ongoing gag by Peter Jackson about a snow machine that they started and just can't find a way to turn off. Another ongoing joke involves a 3-D camera that Jackson uses on the set, then loses the exposed film for. This documentary has a lot of jokes by the actors, too. One features Ian McKellen donning a feminine bee-hive wig and doing his coronation scene in the film while crowning the "Queen". You also see Christopher Lee, impaled on a stake, saying, "This is all rather familiar."

I usually absolutely love the technical documentaries on the making of movies, but I have to admit that these bored me a little. I loved them on the previous LOTR DVD's, but for some reason I just wasn't interested in them here. There was also a lot of raw footage of the battle scenes with orcs battling humans, too. It became a tad repetitive, but fans will love it.

This is a great documentary for LOTR fans, but unfortunately, if you want to see all these together then you're going to have to buy around $90 worth of DVDs. Is it worth it? If you're wearing pointed elf ears and you speak elvish, then most definitely yes. If you're just a casual fan, you may just want to rent it or buy a used copy on eBay. It's a great documentary, but it's really a question of how much behind the scenes documentaries intrigue you.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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