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 or that can create a similar level of anticipation among fans who have weathered numerous rumors and delays for this day to come. A high definition Blu-ray release of The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy has finally arrived today, and there is nothing that can stop my inner-geek from giggling like a pigtailed school girl.
J.R.R. Tolkien's tale of the ultimate quest was often considered too big and too complex to be translated to film. An animated version was eventually produced - which is also out on Blu-ray today - but many crucial parts of the story were compressed until they were unrecognizable or removed altogether. It wasn't until after the author's passing that director Peter Jackson set out to do the impossible - bring one man's genius to film.
The results are the closest to perfection that I have ever witnessed. I do not see the see the actors – only the characters they portray. I do not see New Zealand – only living versions of scenery so carefully described Tolkien in his books. The films are completely encompassing and feel – much like the book – larger than life itself. Are there flaws? Sure, even 12 hours of film (extended version) can't capture every word in a 1000+ page book. But to Jackson's credit, it's difficult to think of how the films could have been any better.
Let me get the main criticism out of the way: these are not the (in my opinion) superior extended versions of the films, but rather the theatrical cuts. While some fans will try to convince themselves they can hold out for the extended version Blu-ray release (which is expected around the theatrical release of The Hobbit), but it will only do them a great disservice. Warner is going to milk these films every chance it gets, and there will always be a bigger, better, more complete version only a few years away. I liken it to the HDTV that sits some majestically in your home theater. If only you would have waited another year to buy one, it would have been LED or 3D, but that would have been another year without HD. If you spend your whole life waiting for the next greatest thing, you'll never find peace or happiness, only endless anticipation.
Another criticism that will likely take the forums by storm today is the video quality of the first film, and the endless guesses as to why. This is a release that many professional Blu-ray encoders warned would be softer than many would like due to the heavy post-processing Jackson utilized to achieve the look of the Tolkien universe. Another possible explanation, something that I have feared for quite some time, is that this encoding is from a format war era encoding that was created for the high definition rival format HD DVD. Whatever the reason may be, the simple truth is that the film is a substantial upgrade over the DVD, and were it not such a high profile release, may not receive much criticism at all.
The DTS-MA soundtracks on these Blu-ray releases leave absolutely nothing on the table. Comparing the sound quality to a live performance I had the pleasure of seeing as well as the DVD-A versions of the soundtrack leaves me convinced that it doesn't get any better. Howard Shore's score along with the amazing sound effects work by Jackson's crew is represented with the utmost fidelity and clarity, leaving me once again awestruck by the sheer magnitude and complexity. There was once a time when Warner claimed that a high bit-rate Dolby Digital track was sufficient for Blu-ray releases, but I wonder if those same people could listen to these Blu-rays and maintain that same stance.
I will be keeping my DVD set of the extended versions, if only for the endless hours of supplemental features that are presented on the six special features discs. I typically don't dive too deep into extra features, but The Lord of the Rings was such perfection that I just had to find out how Jackson was able to pull off such a feat. The supplemental material that accompanies this Blu-ray release does not even compare, so make sure to hold on to your DVDs, at least until the extended Blu-ray edition hits store shelves a few years from now.
Until then, enjoy this release for what it is – one of the greatest set of films of all time in the highest quality presentation the film has ever been seen.
For a complete listing of all the Blu-ray titles released today, click here.
This week's releases is a pass for me, nothing good for my taste. LOTR can wait until they release the EE LOTR later this year or whenever it will be. As I have mentioned in the past, there are tons of other BD releases that can keep my busy while waiting.
I'll add these to my netflix que. There's no reason for Warner to wait to release the EE, aside from wanting to coax consumers into buying multiple versions. If more folks would hold out, it would put a stop to this nonsense.
Josh brings up some good points, but I don't think you can compare these double dipping ploys with technological advances. It's true TV's and other A/V equipment is constantly getting better and there will always be something better next year. When it comes to stuff like that, you just have to gauge your purchases wisely and live with your decisions once you pull the trigger.
Movie purchases are a little different though. It's not that the studios are developing new and better versions of the films. They're just milking each version. The worst thing we can do is make it worth their while. I held out for the EE's when the DVD's hit the shelves a few years ago. I can wait now.
Aside from the Fellowship, I haven't seen the TE's since they were in the theater. It'll be fun to see them again once the "very long wait" for netflix is over.
All of you are fools if you buy the theatrical cuts. You're just playing right into the studios hands. When LOTR originally came out I waited almost a year for the extended editions to come out, even back then I was disgusted how they keep taunting to buy and buy again. I guess that's whats keeping the buy/sell/trade DVD stores fully stocked. I've read the reviews for these editions and I am not impressed. They take us for dumbshits, don't play into their hands!!!
Ok blufreak, how are we playing into their hands? What if I just buy the theatrical cuts and not the extended cuts? I am not douple dipping, no harm, no foul. If I do double dip, then it is on my own resolve. My money, I do what I please. The theatrical cuts won awards, they have to be good.. As for reviews I take them with a grain of salt. Everyone has opinions like eveeryone has ***holes. I like to judge for myself. Plus businesses are to make money. I think the thetriacal cuts help bring people not sold on blu ray yet.
As for bluyoda, agreed to one their own.
I ordered mine and cannot not wait. Perfect birthday present for me!
I haven't seen the extended cuts of the LOTR movies, but I have seen the extended cuts of other movies and without exception I prefer the theatrical releases. Sometimes less is more (i.e. Apocalypse Now). I wonder if the extended versions add that much to the story or if they just slow it down.
Pardon my ignorance, but where can I find the comparison between the EE and theatrical versions?
Being an employee at a video retailer, I was able to view the LOTR trilogy and Cocoon on BR over the weekend. I have to say that I was disappointed with both. The pictures for both were not up to what I was expecting or hoping for. To be fair though, I have to say that the sound on all of them was exemplary.
I will wait for the EE of LOTR before I buy the trilogy. As far as Cocoon goes, I'll wait for a used copy to come in.
My only purchase today will be Battlestar Galactica : Season 2. I am a huge fan of the show, but never wealthy enough for the boxed set. Plus I already had the Cylon Centurion toy from Toys"R"Us.
After reading the review for the LOTR BD release here, I am definitely holding out for the extended version. None of them have reference quality video or 5.0/5.0 for PQ. WTH! I really expected better than the 3.5, 4.0, 4.0 PQ for each. In fact the reviewer said FOTR wasn't much better than 2.5/5.0 PQ. For some reason, perhaps to avoid getting flamed, he fudged and gave it 3.5, LOL. Warner Bros blotched another release that's for sure. This time it's the PQ. Thank the gods it's the theatrical instead. Now, they have another chance to get it right when they release the extended. I'm not forking out 60 bucks for a flawed PQ release. Sure, I'm excited about the incredible 5.0/5.0 for AQ. I have to give WB credit where credit is due. They have given us some fine lossless audio releases lately on dts-HD MA. However, LOTR is deserves better PQ too. It has spectacular scenes and action. WTH is WB doing?
Aside from those issues, I have both the extended and theatrical releases of LOTR on DVD. I never watch the theatrical because the extended is so much better. WB can kiss my feet if they think I am going to play their double dipping game. LOL.
I want to be excited about LOTR, but I can't because it's not the EE and the picture is only so-so. I was really expecting this to be like a defining blu ray with amazing picture and sound. I just hope the EE gets a little more effort put into it...
They could've mentioned other releases today. Not everyone is a LOTR geek!... And as far as the picture quality, it's Warner, I wouldn't be surprised if they just took the same crappy HDDVD transfer and put it on the blu ray...
I have to say that as much as I like the theatrical editions (and I really do) I, too, will not buy these. I have them already (thanks to Netflix) and will watch them... ONCE. That's about all you need do to tide you over until the EEs arrive.
And the EEs are really where it's at. It would be one thing if we had never seen these -- like the first time around on DVD. But having seen how much better (how MUCH better) the EEs are, there's just no way I'm going to spend any (more) money until they arrive. And I suspect many many people will do so as well (so much so that Warner's may well wonder why it isn't the huge seller they thought it would be).
Little bitches LISTEN UP!! We all want the best quality blu rays the day they come out right?? If we settle for sub-par product just to have it that's ridiculous. But it makes the studios happy because they can keep jamming us for all the money they can get. Hey why don't they just get it right the first time, I'm telling you that will result in more sales. I understand some people prefer the theatrical editions, that's fine. But Warner in my opinion rushed this out and I know they knew what they were doing.
Bill Hunt from thedigitalbits.com has a much more balanced position. Most of the DNR wasn't added to the Blu-ray edition, it was already there in the theatrical release because it was added in post-prod, especially for FOTR, as they had to work on a budget.
When it became this huge hit, the two other parts got much more cash injected for SFX and post-prod, while the technologies had also improved, so they didn't have to use as much DNR.
Bought LOTR and The Natural. I understand why people are upset because they didnt release the EE. I am upset too(strange as it may seem I never have watched the EE ). But I have waited along time for LOTR to be released on bluray so I dont mind double dipping when they release the EE sometime in the future. The TE will hold me over till then.
im holding out for a cheaper release of the LOTR. 60$ is still too much for me. where are the promotional release discounts (IE like disney does) if you want people to flock to stores on release day give us some incentive. i am going to wait till they are 45 for the trilogy. since the pq is bad i can wait till they are priced better.
Those who are willing to double-dip on this one, and are happy to do so, do not be surprised if WB decides down the line to go the "Gladiator" route and re-release the TE's before the extended ones. What will you say then?
I hope the LOTR BD's cause lots of new format adopters. I wish it had been the perfect presentation for them to jump onboard with but I think many will still appreciate the presentation compared to what they're used to watching (especially the TTT and ROTK discs).
When I can get this for about $40, I'll buy. As for the EE's, I'm taking the day off work when those drop!
They screwed up LOTR PQ just like they did with my favorite movie The NeverEnding Story. I was willing to by the theatricals till the extendeds came out, but after what I've heard I think I'll pass. Nice going again Warner!!!!!
Not giving them my money twice. Need to do the extended editions properly and then I will consider a purchase. They pulled this with the dvds: first theater edition, then extended editions, then special additions with collectors figures etc.
Too many other good films and concerts on blu-ray to watch rather than give some corporation my money twice.
I am waiting on the extended too. Screw the double dipping studios who usually have a garbage release followed by the release that everyone really wanted in the first place.
They have screwed me so far on Casino Royale, 300 and Stargate, just to name a few that have updated releases. Ones I have that need a better release include Master And Commander and although now that I have seen it I would not buy it, Paranormal Activity.
I am not buying this Tombstone release for the same reason either. Grrrrrrr
I couldn't care less whether this set got 'perfect' reviews from everyone. I still wouldn't have bought it. People wanted the Extended Editions of these films! And once again, the studios, instead of just doing it right the first time around, try to force us to keep 'double-dipping'...Think about it, if no one bought these, it would be quite an incentive for them to give them to us the way we wanted them to begin with, and fast.
I am waiting on the EE's of LOTR. However, I agree that some people will want the TEs, and that is fine. I know that I get a lot of crap for enjoying the Godfather part III, whereas everyone who is vocal will tell me that I am stupid for that and that it wasn't part of the original, etc. That being said, if someone wants to buy the TE's, then more power to them. If they want to double dip, then that's fine too. It's their money. Everyone has to realize that the studios are in the business of making money, and so they will "encourage" everyone to purchase both. Just let everyone spend their own money how they want.
Sorry Josh your analogy doesn't fly with me. Yes, we now have the inferior theatrical editions on HD (mediocre HD based on the reviews), but I'm not going to shell out cash for it. Let’s be honest folks; most of you buying it today will probably watch it once before the EEs come out -- I can easily wait it out. The DVDs still look great on my widescreen CRT that I keep just for watching non HD content.
Sorry,until they show me that the EE's are coming out on blu I am not buying.And based on some of the reviews on here I kinda don't like what I hear.Besides,I have all three LOTR Platinum Series Extended Edition Collector's Gift Sets and I love them and they're still in their boxes that it came with so it kinda adds that special effect to it.I also like the box that holds the dvd's.So I'm sticking to what I have.
I, for one, bought the LOTR because I truely enjoy these movies. Probably my favorite trilogy of all time. I have the EE on DVD and don't mind buying these. I'll enjoy them while EE come out, whenever that is. I heard it's around theatrical release of "The Hobbit" which is like December 2011. Everybody has their own opinions, so don't trashed them for it.
P.S.: also bought The Relic. Lol. Classic favorite.
I'll disagree with the OP and say the only version I have of the trilogy on DVD and will ever have on any format is the Extended Edition. I expect that even with all the post-processing, the first film's EE will look spectacular in hi-def, because they'll be putting all their efforts into that version of the trilogy. Also, HD-DVD had some very good, sometimes exceptional, looking titles and you cant blame the format for what is clearly the studio's fault.
The Precious calls me. I may be drawn in by the power of the Ring. I was hoping for a flawless transfer, but got a flawless audio. I am weak. Please, someone, everyone, buy them out before I get to the store! I was trying to hold out for the extended versions and would hope for the inproved PQ, but this is my favorite movie. Look! The Eagles! I'm done for!
I swear people just like to complain. If they had only released the EEs, we would have threads pissing and moaning about how people wanted to have the 'theatrical' experience in HD. They're doing both... buy them now, wait, or do both versions. It's not rocket science.
Lucas gets all sorts of s**t for not putting out the original theatrical editions. Jackson gets all sorts of s**t for doing it. Can't win with the fanboys apparently.
Biggest disappointment bu ray release yet. DO NOT BUY IT!!! Wait for a new release all together!! I just compared next to dvds and FOTR is a "little" better. And to be honest TTT and ROTK dont look any better. Bright objects have "flicker" effect when camera is moving as well. PLEASE save your money.
-bboisvert^^ from what i read most people arent really complaining about it being teh TE, its that the TE quality is SOOOO BAD that were hoping the EE will be revamped. This release is a disgrace to to Peter jackson and his amazing creation.
I have to agree with Dwigt. DNR can be, and often is, added in the post-production process to the digital intermediate, and FOTR always looked worse than the other two films because its post-production wasn't as polished as the next two films.
I personlly bought these. AND YES, I'll be double dipping fo the EE. As far as these are concerned I have watched the first and half way through the second. There are spots that are very DNR, but it's not really distracting much. The audio on the other hand, in my opinion completely makes up for it. They did a great job. For now these TE will suffice untill untill if and whenever the EE come out. I'll just reselll these to get the money for the EE. AND Sejanus your right I have a 50" screeen and these look AWESOME.
Grabbed them for $48 at Walmart.... all look the best I've ever seen them. Will there be better version ahead? I'm sure there will, but I have these now and intend to enjoy them. I hope everyone who gets the opportunity to enjoy them today to do so, for you never know if you will get a chance in the future.
Only buy these if you are a HUGE fan. Return of the King looks fantastic.
I get tired of fans talking like the theatrical versions are junk to them. The Extended Cuts may be an improvement in some areas, but that doesn't make the theatrical cuts useless. They are still phenomenal films.
Return of the King is the only one where I am confident that the Theatrical Cut is the better version. Some of the added material in the EE really weakened the story. The sense of urgency was lost. And also, Aragorn's return was spoiled, because we already knew that the dead army had agreed to fight. So we spend the battle waiting for them to come. Unlike the theatrical cut, where his appearance at the battle is a surprise.
Also, the EE changed the meaning of the line "For Frodo." In the TC, it means "The success of Frodo's mission is our only hope, so lets fight to the death to give him a chance." In the EE, because the characters believe Frodo may be dead, the line means "lets honor Frodo's memory by killing some orcs."
Also...what on Middle-earth were they thinking when they shot the drinking game? Did a different director take over that day?
I bought the TE and hope to start on them tonight. I have no intention of replacing my EE with the blus unless the PQ is reference. Warner has my money theyre gonna have to show me something to get it again. People forget that this is the version that won all the awards. While the EE have some some wonderful added scenes they have just as many that never should have been added. The definitive cut of these films is somewhere in between the TE and EE. As for the PQ argument, Ill go with lossless sound over higher resolution any day.
I had this pre-ordered along with the BSG boxset re-release, but I cancelled it a few days ago for a couple reasons. First, because of the reports of sub-par PQ on FotR. But probably most of of all, I ordered the entire King Diamond catalog on CD, and couldn't afford both [CDs and LOTR]this month.
I'm stunned by the high level of interest in LOTR. To me they were like the fad of the year (three years?) much like Avatar is this year. Looking back I question whether these films are actually as good as we seem to remember. There was a kind of hysteria surrounding them that covered up and ignored so many flaws. Those flaws now are obvious when I watch the EE versions on DVD. I may buy the EEs on BD but by then I suspect other more recent films will be of more interest than LOTR.
Please don't purchase this crap! Poor effort for the transfer regarding the picture quality! There is relatively no effort for DTS-MA which always rocks, but ultimately these movies should be 7.1! If Be Kind Rewind w/ Jake Black and Mos Def is 7.1 MA, then this movie has no excuses. Finally, it's a double dip attempt!!!
Rather than lament over the fact that the release was not the extended edition, my rationale for purchasing the theatrical release is this: I last saw them in the theater and while I've watched the EE many times, I realized that I didn't have the theatrical edition to round out the collection. Furthermore, I watched the two towers (EE DVD) yesterday and while upscaling DVD is good, it doesn't match the quality of the blu-ray disc (I'm using a PS3 and projector and 84" screen!) in visuals or sound. I just finished watching Return of the King on Blu-Ray and was impressed by the quality. Blu-ray is better than upscaled DVD at least on large projection screensand 7.1 surround sound. Furthermore, it was annoying to get up to change the disc in the DVD version, at least the BD fits on one disc. Lastly, I know I'll probably purchase the EE on blu-ray whenever it comes out, but I can choose to wait a few weeks or months and get a better price when it inevitably goes on sale. Just my 2 cents. LOTR rules no matter the format.
Also I wanted to point out the when George Lucas released the Star Wars trilogy on DVD, he included changes from the theatrical release and fans screamed foul - they wanted the original theatrical release versions. Seems you can't please everyone.
The better strategy would have been to release both TE and EE at the same time and let the consumer choose which one, or both, as they prefer. 'nuff said.
I'd have to disagree with josh on "the simple truth is that the film is a substantial upgrade over the DVD" ... Comparing the two towers dvd with BD , there really wasnt much difference, besides the clarity. If you compared screen shots then you could probably nit pick.....regardless, the transfer for all 3 films are horrible and I recommend you don't buy these.
Spot on reidw. I too enjoyed the trilogy, but the hype on this site seems disproportionate to the movies I saw. Is it a geek thing or nostalgia? I don't know. They're good movies, but they aren't THAT good. Bring on Saving Private Ryan.
Of the movies released today I would buy The Thomas Crown Affair and The Natural before I'd buy the LOTR trilogy.
If you liked the version in the theater, than get these. Any fan of the films fell in love with them after seeing them at the theater. That means you saw THIS version. The last time I checked, nobody saw the Extended Edition in theaters.
Time for Warner Bros. to take some stimulus money and maybe Congress can get the PQ right on their releases. Warner Bros. executives should have to sit before nostril flaring Waxman and explain themselves for crappy PQ!
Frozenpinky you're actually wrong. I sat through a 12 hour marathon back in 2003 at one of my local (upscale) theaters where they were showing all three extended versions back to back to back. It was definitely a great experience.
The review's comparison of waiting for the extended editions to waiting for some nebulous "new technology" doesn't hold water.
Look, I spent >$60 on useless "theatrical" editions of LOTR (on DVD), only to find myself buying the whole thing over again for the extended editions and literally throwing out the other ones since (a) I would never watch them again, and (b) the market is so glutted with them they're not worth more than the cost of the empty cases.
Well, I'm not doing THAT again.
Back to my original point... we're not waiting for some unknown "next best thing" that's coming down the line (a bigger, better computer or TV set, for example). We're waiting, specifically, for the extended editions of the films which we KNOW are going to come out on blu-ray down the line. Why aren't these versions being made available? In fact, why aren't BOTH versions being made available on the same disc, with branching so you can choose one or the other. Movie companies that have such contempt for their customers that they'll blatantly exploit them this way (almost forcing people who love the film to double-dip AGAIN) deserve contempt in return.
I have no problem with those who will purchase the TE versions of Lord of the Rings. They are, without question, exceptional films. However, I do want to make this comment.... There are those of us who are movie fans, those of us who are Blu Ray fans, and those of us who are both. I am a movie fan more than a blu ray fan... meaning that I will enjoy watching the EE versions that I already own.. more so than I would enjoy watching the newly released TE versions on Blu Ray. For me, it is more about the movie and less about the picture quality. I certainly do purchase Blu's as often as I can, and I believe that my personal collection is now at 174.... so I consider myself a strong supporter of Blu Ray. However, I will wait to spend my money on the EE's of LOTR which I will certainly do when they are available.. until then I am quite content to enjoy the EE versions that I already have.
Please let me add one more thought... Of course the newly released TE's of LOTR are better looking and better sounding that the EE's I own... I was just trying to make the point that the EE's , IMHO, offer a better story line with more character development which makes the experience of watching them more rewarding to me.