Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition) (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
9.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9.5 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

Directed by Peter Jackson

Special Features:
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Over 30 minutes of footage incorporated into the theatrical release of the film
Commentary by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens
Commentary by the design team
Commentary by the production/post-production team
Commentary by 10 actors, including Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen
Easter egg: MTV Movie Award Spoof (The Council of Elrod)
Costa Botes Documentary: The Fellowship of the Ring: Behind the Scenes (DVD)

The Appendices, Part 1: From Book to Vision (DVD)
Peter Jackson introduction
J.R.R. Tolkein: Creator of Middle Earth
From Book to Script
Visualizing the Story
Designing and Building Middle Earth
Middle Earth atlas interactive

The Appendices, Part 2: From Vision to Reality (DVD)
Elijah Wood introduction
Filming The Fellowship of the Ring
Visual effects
Post-production: Putting it all together
Digital Grading
Sound and music
The Road Goes Ever On...

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Extended edition of the film, incorporating 43 minutes of footage incorporated into the film
Commentary track by writer-director Peter Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
Commentary track by the design team
Commentary track by the production/post-production team
Commentary track by 16 cast members, including Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Bernard Hill, and Miranda Otto
Easter Egg: MTV Movie Awards clip (Gollum accepting award)
Costas Botes documentary: The Two Towers--Behind the Scenes (DVD)

The Appendices, Part 3: The Journey Continues (DVD)
Peter Jackson introduction
J.R.R. Tolkein: Origin of Middle Earth
From Book to Script: Finding a Story
Designing and Building Middle-Earth
Gollum
Middle-Earth Atlas interactive
New Zealand as Middle Earth (map with video location)

The Appendices, Part 4: The Battle for Middle Earth (DVD)
Elijah Wood introduction
Filming The Two Towers
Visual effects
Editorial: Refining the Story
Music and Sound
The Battle for Helm's Deep is Over

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Extended edition of the film, with 50 extra minutes incorporated into the film
Commentary track by writer-director Peter Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
Commentary track by the design team
Commentary track by the production/post-production team
Costas Botes documentary: The Return of the King: Behind the Scenes (DVD)

The Appendices, Part 5: The War of the Ring (DVD)
Peter Jackson Intro
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Legacy of Middle-earth
From Book to Script
Designing and Building Middle-earth
Home of the Horse Lords
Middle-earth Atlas: Tracing the Journeys of the Fellowship: interactive map
New Zealand as Middle-earth: interactive map with on-location footage

The Appendices, Part 6: The Passing of an Age (DVD)
Elijah Wood/Sean Astin/Billy Boyd/Dominic Monaghan intro
Filming The Return of the King
Visual Effects
Post Production: Journey's End
The Passing of an Age
Cameron Duncan

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 682 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Assisted by a Fellowship of heroes, Frodo Baggins plunges into a perilous trek to take the mystical One Ring to Mount Doom so that it and its magical powers can be destroyed and never possessed by evil Lord Sauron. The astonishing journey begins in the first film of director/co-writer Peter Jackson's epic trilogy that redefined fantasy filmmaking. This imaginative foray into J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth won 4 Academy Awards®* and earned 13 total nominations including Best Picture. Frodo and Samwise press on toward Mordor. Gollum insists on being the guide. Can anyone so corrupted by the ring be trusted? Can Frodo, increasingly under the sway of the ring, even trust himself? Meanwhile, Aragorn, drawing closer to his kingly destiny, rallies forces of good for the battles that must come. Director Peter Jackson delivers an amazing second movie that won 2 Academy Awards®* and 6 total nominations including Best Picture. The journey continues. So do the astonishing spectacle and splendor. It is time. For Frodo to overcome the wickedness of Gollum, the horrifying attack of the colossal arachnid Shelob and the soul-twisting allure of a ring that resists destruction. For Aragorn to take up the sword of his forebears and the crown of his birthright. For the mighty clash that wizard Gandalf calls 'the great battle of our time.' And for the inspired culmination of the films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's literary classic. For the third time, a Rings movie was a Best Picture Academy Award® nominee and for the first time it claimed that prize (plus 10 more).* The King deserves its crown."

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

Mini-Review:
The Extended Editions of "The Lord of the Rings" are finally on Blu-ray! Hooray! I've personally been waiting for this set because I wanted to show my kids the Extended Edition in HD first. Now that they've finally arrived we're going to have a LOTR marathon in anticipation of the Hobbit movies.

The good news is that not only do you get the Extended Edition of the trilogy in HD, but you get all of the bonus features that were on the Platinum Series Special Extended Edition as well. You get all of the documentaries and commentaries that haven't been on a set since the 2004 edition. You also get the documentaries by Costa Botes that were on the 2006 DVD set. The bad news? Well, all of the bonus features are on DVD, not Blu-ray. So they're going to look pretty bad on your HDTV. More bad news? This set doesn't contain the bonus features that were included on the previously released Original Theatrical Edition Blu-ray. So if you're a LOTR collector, don't throw those old DVD's and Blu-rays out yet. This set has a lot, but it doesn't have everything. Reading between the lines, I think you can probably expect a massive set with the LOTR trilogy and the two Hobbit films and every bonus feature ever made sometime in the future. But if you're like me and you can't wait for that super-ultra-mega-set, then this should do nicely in your Blu-ray collection. And as an added bonus, you also get digital copies of the film. That's a pretty great bonus for iPhone, iPad and iPod users.

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