THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS
Platinum Series Special Extended Edition
Review by Mark Wiechman
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett, Liv
Tyler, Sean Astin
Director: Peter Jackson
Audio: Dolby Digital EX 5.1, Dolby Surround, DTS ES
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 208 Minutes
Release Date: November 2, 2002
ring to rule them all…”
was very anxiously awaiting the release of this film, having read The Hobbit
and the LOTR trilogy every year for several years in school.
I only stopped reading them because I realized I was reading them more
than the Bible, which according to an interview on the first of the Appendices
discs, is the only book more widely read in the twentieth centrury that
have always been enthralled by these stories which contain so many examples of
good intentions gone bad, redemption through the most unlikely of heroes, and a
feeling of being totally immersed in another world. Unlike Richard Wagner's
sixteen hour opera cycle The Ring of the
Nibelung, in which even heaven
itself burns down with all of the gods in it, this tale focuses on the wisdom
and strength of the unlikely, plain, innocent creatures.
Tolkien's vision was no doubt shaped by two world wars and a general
feeling in the first half of the twentieth century that humanity in general was
going terribly wrong, yet there was always hope.
“Men are weak,” as the elves complain.
I first heard that there would be a Special Extended DVD Edition of this great
movie, I was convinced that it was merely a way to gouge the consumer.
But this is a very different package than the one which was originally
released (see that review). This
movie is longer that would have been practical in a normal theatrical release.
This is the more complete version of the film itself, with one of the
best soundtracks I have heard in years in glorious DTS ES 6.1,
not just the standard Dolby 5.1, and none of the additions are
superfluous at all. There are three
scenes in particular that make this version worthwhile:
1) the introduction shows
much more of Hobbiton, to which I definitely plan to retire, 2) the Elfin witch
gives the travelers special weapons and other items which will come back to help
them later in the trilogy, and 3) Boromir's betrayal and redemption is
explained more completely. I will
not spoil that third one for you, but I felt it was worth watching the whole
the incredible special features took months (years?) to assemble and never would
have been ready for release before now. They
were as well-produced as the movie itself, and explain why this movie in so many
ways will continue to be the definitive theatrical production of these timeless
also receive a movie voucher, which makes this package even more cost-effective,
especially since it should continue to be on sale for a while at most stores.
I just say it is perfect and leave it at that?
No? OK, there were a few
special effects in which the forced perspective just did not quite work, and
some of the landscapes are just too breathtaking to be believed (I have to find
a fault somewhere!). But those are
really filmmaking critiques. The
video transfer itself is just wonderful.
The rear speakers are used regularly, with the soundtrack, dialogue and other sound effects balanced just right. The DTS 6.1 is particularly welcome.
may take a lifetime to see and hear them all, but it's all good!
Four feature length commentaries by the director and writers, production
and design teams, cast members---30 participants in all!
The menus themselves are also excellent.
first appendix has six documentaries covering J.R.R. Tolkien, the process of
adapting the book into a screenplay and planning the film, designing and
building Middle-earth, as well as a visit to Weta Workshop with an up-close look
at the costumes, weapons, armor, creatures and miniatures created for the film.
The biggest revelation here explains why the film seems so authentic:
every costume and prop was made from scratch just for this production.
There are also galleries of art and accompanying slide shows with
commentaries by the artists (nearly 2,000 images), plus storyboards and pre-visualization
sequences with film comparisons. The
second disc has 11 original documentaries covering the cast, principal
photography, more galleries, and post-production with editing and sound.
Even release of the film itself is discussed.
also receive a booklet which helps you navigate around all of these features,
though I did not need it really; navigation is easy.