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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray

United States
Extended Edition / Blu-ray New Line Cinema | 2001 | 228 min | Rated PG-13 | Aug 28, 2012

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (29.88 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Five-disc set (2 BDs, 3 DVDs)
UV digital copy (expired)
Digital copy (expired)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region free

List price: $34.99, Price history

Best Buy: $27.99 (Save 20%)  

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Blu-ray rating
Video 4.7 of 54.7
Audio 5.0 of 55.0
Extras 5.0 of 55.0
Based on 7 user reviews

Movie appeal


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray delivers stunning video and reference-quality audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies, Frodo Baggins embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary One Ring. Hunting Frodo are servants of the Dark Lord, Sauron, the Ring's evil creator. If Sauron reclaims the Ring, Middle-Earth is doomed.

For more about The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray release, see the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler
Director: Peter Jackson

» See full cast & crew

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.5 of 5

It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.

The Color Change: An Unexpected Journey

If you haven't been embroiled in the debate over the revised color timing that graces the new Extended Edition release of Fellowship of the Ring, be grateful. The differences in color and contrast between the extended cut's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer and its theatrical cut presentation are slight but somewhat unmistakable; the differences in color and contrast between the EE's presentation and that of its 2002 Extended Edition DVD counterpart are as well. Shadows are darker, saturation has been dampened in key scenes (the Council of Elrond, in particular), crush is now more problematic than before, and greens and cyans, though already heavily at play in the film's original palette, have been slightly intensified throughout, in some cases during sequences that once featured very little green or cyan at all. In fact, all objective analyses show that a blanket tint is present (to some degree) over the course of the entire film. It isn't always apparent -- reds are still red, blues are still blue, they're just different shades of red and blue -- but it is there. Any ensuing debate, though, needs to center on film revisionism, and nothing more. Both Peter Jackson and director of photography Andrew Lesnie have confirmed that the new color grade was intentional and was created under their supervision. To those who are upset by these changes in principle, to those who believe a film should remain untouched, I sympathize and, I have to say, I agree to some extent. I would simply remind you that this is Peter Jackson's extended cut; he has always made it clear that his extended cuts are not his Director's Cuts, nor the versions of the films he considers canon or sacrosanct. They are meant to supplement, not supplant, the theatrical cuts. Lest we forget, the extended editions have been an exercise in revisionism since their inception. The fact that the color changes weren't made to the 2010 theatrical version -- effectively preserving Jackson's original vision -- should take some of the sting out of the issue.

To those who are pleased with these changes, there is absolutely no harm in raising the question of why Fellowship's palette is suddenly being changed or, more importantly, why a blanket tint -- however obvious or imperceptible it might be -- has been added to the film. It is admittedly odd at times, especially when key shots from Fellowship appear again in The Two Towers and The Return of the King without the green/cyan tint. (The flashback to Boromir's death in The Return of the King isn't affected by the tint; other flashbacks follow suit.) Thankfully, the obvious answer -- Jackson is in the unique position to see The Fellowship of the Ring in the context of the Hobbit films and adjusted the FOTR palette to bring it in line with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -- is now confirmed, as the Blu-ray presentation of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey exhibits strikingly similar (albeit more refined and precisely implemented) color grading. For me, any lingering doubt has been officially quashed.

Where does that leave us then? Or more specifically, this review? The Fellowship of the Ring's AVC-encoded presentation is true to its filmmakers' intentions. So with that...

The Transfer: There and Back Again

Whew. Glad that guy's done talking. On to the goods. Altered color timing aside, The Fellowship of the Ring has, quite frankly, never looked as strong, confident and capable as it does here. There are a few ragged edges, a few flaws here and there, but nothing that should prevent anyone from enjoying the upgrade the new transfer offers. The image is rich and bold, primaries are tenacious, black levels are deeper than ever, the overall palette remains lush and lively, and detail is excellent. While a measure of filmic softness still prevails at times, many a scene is Glamdring-sharp. Textures are often exceedingly refined, edges are crisp (without the help of any egregious artificial sharpening) and additional noise reduction hasn't been applied. I use the word "additional" because Jackson and Weta, like most filmmakers and effects houses, did employ some judicious noise reduction techniques when finalizing the original film; the evidence of which is still somewhat apparent on occasion. However, the kind of sweeping, post-theatrical-release DNR that reared its head on the Blu-ray edition of the theatrical cuts is nowhere to be found. (At least that's one debate settled: the Blu-ray release of the theatrical cut does indeed suffer from unnecessary noise reduction and aberrant smearing. It's only taken us more than a year to put that argument to bed.) It's important to note, though, that the transfer was created from 2K scans, and the resulting clarity should be viewed with an understanding of the limitations of a 2K source. To be clear, the studio didn't shortchange the film's new master by settling on a 2K scan; no higher resolution scan of The Fellowship of the Ring was ever produced, meaning it's as accurate a source as Warner will ever have. (Unless Jackson and Weta decide to go back to the drawing board, essentially reassemble the entire film and recreate the effects. The chances of this happening? Zero.)

Delineation is suppressive -- mainly due to the apparent choices Jackson and Lesnie made when re-grading the film -- and crush sometimes consumes shadow details and fringe elements. (Bree, Weathertop, The Mines of Moria, Rivendell and Lothlórien are all much darker than before; by thematically powerful means, perhaps, but undoubtedly to detail-quashing ends.) Problematic shots remain problematic. (Gimli trying to re-enter the Mines after Gandalf's defeat, Isengard at dusk, and Aragorn greeting the Uruk-hai horde, just to name a few.) And faces occasionally take on a waxy appearance, most notably during the Council of Elrond. (Again, that traces back to Jackson, not Warner.) But each instance is negligible at best and a slight distraction at its worst. The encode itself is also sound. The artifacting, ringing and banding that creeped into the theatrical cut's Blu-ray presentation has been largely eliminated (spreading the film across two BD-50s helped, no doubt), errant crush isn't a factor (even though inherent crush is), aliasing, wavering and shimmering are held at bay, and other digital oddities are kept to a bare minimum. I still caught sight of anomalies here and there (watch the background behind Lurtz when he receives his marching orders in Saruman's tower), but I didn't encounter anything that was cause for any serious concern. It isn't exactly perfect, but it's a far cry from last year's theatrical cut release and stands tall with a variety of significant improvements.

As to my score, I danced around a 4.0 and a 4.5 throughout the film, settling on a 4.25 in the end. Fans can set aside their fears and enjoy The Fellowship of the Ring's high definition presentation for the experience it offers.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  5.0 of 5

You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!

No need to break down each individual release here. Like the 2010 theatrical cut releases, the Extended Editions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King charge the fields of Blu-ray with a trio of powerful DTS-HD Master Audio surround tracks, all of which allow Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy to storm every home theater, no matter how grand in scale. Dialogue, whether whispered or shouted, is crisp, clean, and intelligible; voices, whether human, beast or ethereal warrior, ring true across the soundfield; and creature cries, whether spittled roars or high-pitched screeches, are sharp and stable. LFE output deserves a score of its own, aggressively supporting every lumbering giant, thundering horse, weapon of war, and bellowing monstrosity the Fellowship encounters. Brace yourselves as the Nazgûl emit their fearsome wail. Close your eyes as an angry cave troll bursts into Balin's Tomb attacking anything and everything that moves. Listen intently as the Uruk-hai wash over Aragorn like an iron-clad flood. Try to lift your jaw off the floor when the Balrog rears up in front of Gandalf and shakes the floor with its very breath. Environmental ambience never relents (the haunting depths of Moria!), directionality is impeccable (the race to Rivendell!), and pans are as smooth and sure as an Elven archer's best shot (oh, dear readers, the arrows that sail across the soundfield). Best of all, the experience is as immersive as they come. Howard Shore's masterful score is perfectly prioritized beneath the film's soundscape, gut punch revelations are as pitch-perfect as they are emotional, restless armies will make viewers turn their heads, and the terrifying clamor of orcs, goblins, demons and more will unsettle the most steely listener. And dynamics? Prepare yourself. The Fellowship of the Ring, and really The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a whole, is a sonic powerhouse.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray, News and Updates

Individual Blu-rays for The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions - June 25, 2012

This summer, New Line and Warner Home Entertainment will bring the individual extended editions of the three films in director Peter Jackson's Academy Award-winning The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to Blu-ray. These releases mark the first time the extended cuts ...

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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The Ring ~ March 20 Review 1047 Aug 31, 2014


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