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The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray

United States
Theatrical Editions | The Fellowship of the Ring / The Two Towers / The Return of the King / Blu-ray + Digital Copy New Line Cinema | 2001-2003 | 3 Movies | 557 min | Rated PG-13 | Apr 06, 2010

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

Codec: VC-1
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ES Matrix
Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX

English SDH, Spanish

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Nine-disc set (3 BDs, 6 DVDs)
Digital copy (on disc)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region free

List price: $64.98, Price history

New from: $69.99
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Blu-ray rating
Video 3.8 of 53.8
Audio 4.9 of 54.9
Extras 2.6 of 52.6
Based on 65 user reviews

Movie appeal 

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy


The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray offers solid video and reference-quality audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

'The Fellowship of the Ring' - 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.

'The Two Towers' - Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship continue their quest to destroy the One Ring and stand against the evil of the dark lord Sauron. The Fellowship in the meantime has divided; they now find themselves taking different paths to defeating Sauron and his allies. Their destinies now lie at two towers — Orthanc Tower in Isengard, where the corrupted wizard Saruman waits, and Sauron's fortress at Barad-dur, deep within the dark lands of Mordor.

'The Return of the King' - The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring. Aragorn struggles to fulfill his legacy as he leads his outnumbered followers against the growing power of the Dark Lord Sauron, so that the Ring-bearer may complete his quest.

For more about The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy and the The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray release, see the The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving

This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:


The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

Alright, bad news first. The Fellowship of the Ring doesn't look as good as The Two Towers or Return of the King. At first glance, its pudgy 1080p/VC-1 transfer appears to hobble out of the Black Gate of Mordor with a presentation primed to please casual viewers whilst leaving the most ardent videophiles shaking their heads. However, identifying which issues trace back to the original source and which should be attributed to the transfer is a tricky proposition. I recently had the unique opportunity to view a theatrical print of Fellowship and compare it to Warner's new Blu-ray release. The results were most telling.

The Blu-ray image is awash with overcooked colors, oversaturated skintones, and murky nighttime sequences. But since director Peter Jackson and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie adjusted the film's color timing before approving the new master used for this release, it's safe to assume the savory palette is faithful to their intentions. Detail is occasionally underwhelming though. Yes, Jackson employs a variety of shooting and post-production techniques throughout Fellowship that are meant to lend scenes a soft, somewhat hazy temperament. And yes, the filmmakers didn't have the same technological advantages that were afforded them on Two Towers and Return of the King. But any attempt to decipher where Jackson's intentions end and the studio's efforts begin can be as maddening as staring into a palantír. Mild to moderate smearing is present in the Blu-ray transfer that isn't present in the original print, and several closeups and long-distance shots have been scrubbed. (The 2011 extended edition release of The Fellowship of the Ring makes it clear that additional DNR has been applied here.) That's not to say all is lost. Many sequences -- primarily those in the Mines of Moria, the fellowship's visit to Lothlorien, and the landing (and subsequent battle) at Parth Galen -- still manage to make a reasonably strong impact, and the whole of the presentation still bests its DVD counterparts and HD broadcast. The scenes are softer than some might expect, but they're more satisfying than the film's more problematic moments. Unfortunately, other issues exist that can't be brushed aside by pointing to the original source. A slight instability affects the credits and other early elements, the film's faint veneer of grain is occasionally little more than a soupy mess (look to the skies when the fellowship journeys into the snowy mountains for a burst of errant artifacts), edge enhancement and DNR has been applied throughout, and crush, flickering, and wavering are regular (albeit minor) offenders. Still, after taking the condition of the source and Jackson's intentions into account, the presentation isn't quite as flawed as some might initially assume.

Fellowship's individual video presentation earns a 3.0 from me.

Thankfully, tossing in The Two Towers and The Return of the King will soothe most of the disappointment Fellowship induces. Within minutes, The Two Towers' 1080p/VC-1 presentation makes a better impression than its predecessor, offering more natural skintones, stronger, more reliable contrast, and deeper, more satisfying blacks. Even though Andrew Lesnie's palette is noticeably bleaker than its lush Fellowship cousin, fine textures haven't been blotted away, tattered rocks and weather-worn cloaks are quite sharp, and hair and pores are largely intact. Note Gandalf's beard and pocky nose during his battle with the Balrog, Gollum's craggly cheeks when he first attacks Frodo, the muddy cocoons of the Uruk-hai, the grassy knolls and stony cliffs of Rohan, the countless leaves in the Ents' shadowy realm, and the worn walls of Helm's Deep. Soft shots dot the proceedings and a number of special effects sequences show their age (Merry and Pippin's travels with Treebeard remain an eyesore), but many of these wince-inducing moments trace back to the original print, not the studio's technical encode. Lingering complaints? First and foremost, edge enhancement rears its ugly head. While it only amounts to a series of thin white slivers in an otherwise respectable presentation, it's still noticeable. Second, smearing appears at seemingly random intervals, but it's less troublesome than it is in Fellowship. Finally, a few nighttime closeups suffer from spiking source noise (a shot of Elrond around the 1:45:00 mark being the most obvious instance). To its credit though, I didn't detect any significant artifacting, aliasing, or crush, and the image is quite clean.

Ultimately, The Two Towers earns a 4.0.

The Return of the King makes such a triumphant entrance that I almost forgot how confused I was after first watching The Fellowship of the Ring. Like The Two Towers, Jackson's third film and Warner's third 1080p/VC-1 transfer hits the ground running, offering a rich palette of wondrous colors, stalwart contrast, enticing blacks, and rewarding delineation. Detail tops the first two films as well. Be it Gandalf's beard, Aragorn's stubble, Frodo's grimy finger nails, Sam's rustled mop, Legolas and Gimli's fallen foes, Eowyn's flowing locks, a high hill glimpse at the cityscape of Gondor, the dank caverns of Dwimorberg, Dickson's impeccable costumes, WETA's marvelous CG battles, or the clashing armies of Pelennor Fields, everything from intimate closeups to sweeping shots of towering castles is blessed with more pleasing clarity. Several special effects show their seams -- the Hobbits may as well be standing against a green screen when the Gondorian crowd bows to them in the third act -- but any such shortcomings are hardly the fault of the technical presentation. Artifacting, aliasing, crush, and source noise never become factors, and ringing, though apparent on a handful of occasions, isn't as gaudy as it is in Towers. If anything, some slight smearing hinders the fun, and small white flecks will catch the eagle-eyes of screenshot-combers from time to time (look closely at Faramir's cheeks around the one-hour mark for one fleeting example). Ah well. As it stands, The Return of the King looks great and stands atop the trio with the best transfer of the bunch.

The Return of the King nabs a 4.25 from me. Trilogy average? A 3.5.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  5.0 of 5

No need to break down each individual release here. 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 mercilessly storm your home theater. Dialogue, whether whispered or shouted, is crisp, clean, and intelligible; voices, whether human or ethereal, 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, topping tower, rickety weapon of war, and bellowing army Frodo's Fellowship encounters. Close your eyes as the Balrog shakes the floor with its very breath. Listen as the Uruk-hai forces break against the walls of Helm's Deep. Try to lift your jaw off the floor when Sauron's Fell Beasts and Mûmakil encircle our heroes at Pelennor Fields. Moreover, take note when the hearty thooms that announce their arrival are paired with the outstanding rear speaker activity that allows Tolkien's monstrosities to surround anyone who dares approach. Environmental ambience never relents, directionality is impeccable, and pans are as smooth as an Elven shot. Best of all, the soundfield is incredibly immersive. Howard Shore's surging scores are perfectly prioritized beneath the films' soundscapes, gut punch revelations are as audible as they are emotional, chanting armies will make viewers turn their heads, and the resonant voices of ghosts, demons, goblins and more will unsettle the most steely listener. And dynamics? Prepare yourself, dear readers, The Lord of the Rings trilogy has never sounded better.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray, News and Updates

Today on Blu-ray - April 6th - April 6, 2010

For those of you who aren't fans of The Lord of the Rings, you are hereby advised to go browse some of our great Blu-ray reviews because I'm dedicating my entire post today to one of the finest set of films ever created. There are few films that have as big a following ...

Warner Exec Confirms Hobbit Delay – No Extended LOTR Blu-ray till... - January 27, 2010

Warner Bros. COO Alan Horn (who also oversees New Line Cinema, which became a part of WB in early 2008) said that the most probable date for the theatrical release of 'The Hobbit' would be in the fourth quarter of 2012, thus confirming earlier reports. In that ...

Blu-ray Announced for Lord of the Rings Animated Movie - January 5, 2010

Warner Home Video has officially announced the release on Blu-ray of Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated movie 'The Lord of the Rings', which will hit store shelves on April 6, tying in with Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy'. It will ...

» Show more related news posts for The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray

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