The Lord Of The Rings Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-Ray Review And Giveaway

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is finally hitting Blu-Ray tomorrow (April 6th), and few releases have sparked more controversy. I will soon test your patience with my reviews of the films, but let’s start with the specifics of the release.

From the moment this release was announced, the reaction to the fact that the extended editions of the films are not included has been spinning around the internet with as much gnashing of teeth as can be imagined. The official press release indicates that, “Extended versions of the films will be released at a later date on Blu-ray Disc,” but that’s all the info you’re going to get. Later might mean by Christmas, or it might mean in five years. (According to Amazon.com it is somewhere in 2011 or 2012)

At any rate, you are fully warned that those versions are not to be found here, and the fact has not escaped the attention of many a fan who have for months already been shaking their fists vehemently at New Line Cinema and anyone else who may or may not be responsible for this.

Additionally, fans have been vocal about the fact that there isn’t any newly-produced bonus content. While the release has quite a package of extras, none of them are brand new goodies. As of this writing, the BD Live options don’t give you anything Lord of the Rings related either. So, there’s that. One other note, the special features discs are not Blu-Ray discs.

So, what do you get, and do you want to rush right out and pick it up?

As to the second question, the answer is a big yes. With the exception of holding out for the extended versions, you want to see the films on Blu-Ray. They look amazing. Assuming you have the capabilities to get the full 1080p experience, you simply haven’t seen them like this. Each is better than the last actually. If pressed, I’d have to say that the first film didn’t quite get the attention it might have, because the quality isn’t up to the other two, but that’s nitpicking at a level I don’t think the average viewer is going to notice. Those very serious about their home entertainment system will though, but it’s a negligible difference even still.

Bonuses –

The Fellowship of the Ring

Feature Disc (BD)

  • 3 Trailers
  • “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” Game Trailer
  • “War In The North”  All new game announcement trailer

Bonus Disc (SD)

Welcome to Middle-earth: Houghton Mifflin In-Store Special

This is about fifteen minutes that gives a sort of rundown on the original story and the film’s creation. Not a bad look at the film in a very general way, the only drawback is that it tries to touch on so many things that it doesn’t give much on any of them. I don’t mind that though, because this one is a well-produced effort.
Quest for the Ring: FOX TV Special

This one is really a 20-minute super-commercial that delivers some behind-the-scenes moments, but is ultimately focused on selling rather than being a “real” featurette. Fair enough really, it’s a TV special.
A Passage to Middle-earth: SCI-FI Channel Special

A far stronger effort, this is the 40-minute version of the same exercise, but Sci-Fi does it a lot better, and actually gets to the point that you can feel better about looking at it as a special feature. There’s a certain extent to which all of this is rather old news at this point, but with the behind-the-scenes and stronger theoretical effort going on, this one is worth the time.
lordoftherings.net Featurettes

These brief internet clips showcase a variety of aspects of the film and/or give a little soundbite to the characters. They’re fun, but aren’t overly long. As a collection they are pretty nice.

  • Finding Hobbiton
  • Hobbiton Comes Alive
  • Believing the World of Bree
  • Ringwraiths: The Fallen Kings
  • Rivendell: The Elven Refuge
  • Languages of Middle-earth
  • Two Wizards
  • Music of Middle-earth
  • Elijah Wood
  • Viggo Mortensen
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Liv Tyler
  • Ian McKellen
  • Weathertop: The Windy Hill

TV Spots

Enya ”May It Be” Music Video

Special Extended DVD Edition Preview

This one seems like rather a bad move frankly. Want to get a closer look at what you don’t have?
Behind the Scenes Preview of ”The Two Towers”

The Two Towers

Feature Disc (BD)

  • Teaser
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” Game Trailer
  • War In The North”  All new game announcement trailer

Bonus Disc (SD)

On the Set “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”

Around 15 minutes that is exactly what you expect. Some good looks at the locations.


Return to Middle-earth: WB Special

Probably the best featurette you’re going to get, this 40-minute look goes behind-the-scenes in very serious ways. A real and interesting look at not only what a massive project this really was, but how incredibly harsh it can be to commit to a concept like this.
”The Long and Short of It” A Short Film Directed by Sean Astin

The now somewhat famous, and very odd film that really isn’t related to the film at all. Something like a way the cast blew off steam by doing something else for a while, it still serves as an interesting look at things, especially in conjunction with the above featurette.
The Making of ”The Long and Short of It”

Here’s a bonus just for the sake of ticking off another bonus. The cast describe the adventure.
lordoftherings.net Featurettes

  • Forces of Darkness
  • Designing the Sounds of Middle-earth
  • Edoras: The Rohan Capital
  • Creatures of Middle-earth
  • Gandalf the White
  • Arms and Armor
  • The Battle of Helm’s Deep
  • Bringing Gollum to Life

TV Spots – A real slew of spots this time around. If you’re interested in watching the film being promoted at you, you’re in luck.

Emiliana Torrini ”Gollum’s Song” Music Video

Special Extended DVD Edition Preview

Behind the Scenes Preview of ”The Return of the King”

The Return of the King

Feature Disc (BD)

Film Trailers

”The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy Supertrailer

Special Extended DVD Edition Preview

“The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” Game Trailer

War In The North” All new game announcement trailer

Bonus Disc (SD)

The Quest Fulfilled: A Director’s Vision

Around 20 minutes that is basically Jackson’s journey to getting the film together. Perhaps rather interesting to many, it’s a little odd to others.
A Filmmaker’s Journey: Making “The Return of the King”

About 30 minutes that tries to cover just about everything, and does. It’s something like a rundown of what might be interesting about the film, from just about every perspective. The story. The characters. The enormity of the scenes. The costumes. Everything. A decent featurette, but one that probably might have been longer, or split into segments with focus.
National Geographic Special – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

An entertaining, if grandiose, adventure from National Geographic that takes a look at the history within the story… sort of. Many will find this 45-minute trip to be easily one of the best bonuses, as this one steps back from things and tackles the subject in a different way.
lordoftherings.net Featurettes, and TV Spots.

Again, a host of quick takes and TV spots.

Result

All in all, it just comes down to whether or not you own it already, and how much you want to see the Blu-Ray. For me, it’s a must own, though I do have to wonder again about the release of the extended editions.

Own it on Blu-Ray April 6th!

The Lord of The Rings Trilogy is also available On Demand and For Download

 

 

Reviews

Good luck. These are long. These reviews were originally published elsewhere at the time of each of film’s release.

Continue to the next pages for the review via the page numbers below

Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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