Sci-Fi Storm

Lord Of The Rings Blu-ray review

by on Mar.24, 2010, under Video/DVD

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy will finally get the high-definition treatment it deserves on April 6th ([sfs=999]pre-order NOW![/sfs] – also available for download and OnDemand on the same date), but we has the Precious in our grubby little hands, we do…and we can says we loves the Precious…yes…except we’s wants it to be the extended Precious…

I have been waiting for this since I got my 1080p TV. The first DVD I played when I bought it was Return Of The King to see how it looked. But back then, there were two competing HD disc standards and studios were taking sides – but either Peter Jackson or New Line didn’t want to take sides with LOTR. Eventually HD-DVD went away, and Blu-ray is the winner – and we still waited. Finally it is here though, and I can tell you the difference is astonishing! It is hard to see without a direct side-by-side comparison, but the details are amazing especially when it comes to the expansive countryside and mountain shots, and also in darker scenes where some of the finer details may get lost. This is a full 1080p transfer, so this was perfect for my TV.

There were two particular scenes I thought of off the top of my head which I thought would be good tests…the Great Hall in Moria, and the Lighting Of The Beacons.

On the former, when I watch the DVD and the characters are walking surrounded by the circle of light with the pillars around them, I can tell that the scene is CGI – the characters and light just don’t seem to fit well, as if they are just superimposed in a dark area of the scene. On Blu-ray, the scene is far more integrated – I can still tell, but it is less noticeable. Also, the detail of the pillars is better in the dark.

On the latter scene, the details of the mountains, especially on the more distant ones is incredible. Wisps of clouds, the details of the snow and rocky crags are all amazingly clear.

Shortly before that, there is another scene set in Edoras in which Aragorn speaks with Legolas at night or at least evening. The details in the background in the darker scene are clearer.

The only thing really lacking here is the all the extra scenes featured in the Extended Editions of the films and the extras that came with them. This release is pretty much an identical release to the original theatrical versions on DVD, other than the features being on Blu-ray and each disc containing a preview of the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest video game due this Fall and a new game. The special features come on a regular DVD, and are the same special features as in the original release (see below for the entire disc contents).

As for seeing the Extended Editions on Blu-ray? I’m not sure – I’ve seen conflicting information on the web ranging from this year to a couple of years. I’ve watched the extended versions so many times that now I keep wondering if I missed something when watching the theatrical versions.

As a plus at least, these discs support BD-Live for additional live and interactive content, as well as a digital copy of all three films – my wife watched The Return Of The King on her iPod while I listened during a 4 hour car ride.

I would have loved to check out the HD audio, but unfortunately I still lack an HD audio receiver (scribbles notes on wish list…)

The discs come in a double-wide cardboard slipcase, which is a glossy dark color with the logo on the front center with the Ring script in a circle around it in a lovely reflective fiery gold color. Inside are two Blu-ray plastic cases. One is slightly wider than standard and contains the 6 discs (3 Blu-rays for the features, and 3 DVDs for the special features), using a double “flipper” holder to hold some of the discs rather than the “stacked” double holder some releases use and I have found painful to get the disc out of if it is behind another. Each disc is screen printed differently, with artistic images of characters or the towers, or the Ring script as on the cover.

The other case contains the three DVDs containing the digital copies using a single flipper holder for two of them. These discs are not so ornate – they same screen printing on each, with a dark brown color overall, and it appears as if there should be some detail but I’m not sure what it is supposed to represent.

Don’t forget to check out the official web site!

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
In this first part of the Trilogy, the young hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits a ring; but this ring is no mere trinket. It is the One Ring, an instrument of absolute power that could allow Sauron, the dark Lord of Mordor, to rule Middle-earth and enslave its peoples. Frodo, together with a Fellowship that includes his loyal hobbit friends, humans, a wizard, a dwarf and an elf, must take the One Ring across Middle-earth to Mount Doom, where it first was forged, and destroy it forever. Such a journey means venturing deep into territory manned by Sauron, where he is amassing his army of Orcs. And it is not only external evils that the Fellowship must combat, but also internal dissension and the corrupting influence of the One Ring itself. The course of future history is entwined with the fate of the Fellowship. The film won four Oscars® for Best Visual Effects, Cinematography, Makeup and Original Score.

Special Features:

Feature Disc (BD)

  • Trailers
    • Trailer One [HD]
    • Trailer Two [HD]
    • Final Trailer [HD]
  • “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” Game Trailer [HD]
  • “War In The North” [HD] All new game announcement trailer which includes game website

Bonus Disc (SD)

  • Welcome to Middle-earth: Houghton Mifflin In-Store Special
  • Quest for the Ring: FOX TV Special
  • A Passage to Middle-earth: SCI-FI Channel Special
  • Featurettes
    • 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
    • MTV
    • Fellowship
    • Top Ten/AFI
    • Phenomenon
  • Academy Nomination
  • Epic Oscar
  • Enya ”May It Be” Music Video
  • Special Extended DVD Edition Preview
  • Behind the Scenes Preview of ”The Two Towers”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
In their parallel journeys, the Fellowship will stand against the powerful forces spreading from the Two Towers — Orthanc Tower in Isengard, where Saruman has bred a lethal army of 10,000 strong; and Sauron’s fortress at Barad-dûr, deep within the dark lands of Mordor. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers culminates in the astonishing battle for the refuge, Helm’s Deep, the Kingdom of Rohan’s ancient large stone fortress, besieged by Uruk-hai warriors. The film won two Oscars: Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

Special Features:

Feature Disc (BD)

  • Trailers
    • Teaser [HD]
    • Theatrical Trailer [HD]
    • “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” Game Trailer [HD]
    • “War In The North” [HD] All new game announcement trailer which includes game website

Bonus Disc (SD)

  • On the Set “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
  • Starz Encore Special:Return to Middle-earth: WB Special
  • ”The Long and Short of It” A Short Film Directed by Sean Astin
  • The Making of ”The Long and Short of It”
  • 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
    • New Power
    • Another
    • Event
    • Dream
    • Darkness
    • Return
    • Strike
    • Countdown
    • One World Review
    • The Wait is Over
    • Review B/Golden Globes
    • Gollum
    • Supreme Review
    • Review A/Globe
    • Good Top 10
    • Top 10 Review
  • Emiliana Torrini ”Gollum’s Song” Music Video
  • Special Extended DVD Edition Preview
  • Behind the Scenes Preview of ”The Return of the King”

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam (Sean Astin), led by the mysterious Gollum (Andy Serkis), continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) 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. The film, which won Academy Awards® in all 11 categories for which it was nominated, took wins for Best Picture, Director, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Makeup, Adapted Screenplay, Sound Mixing, Original Song and Original Score.
Special Features:

Feature Disc (BD)

  • Trailers
    • Trailer One [HD]
    • Trailer Two [HD]
    • ”The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy Supertrailer [HD]
    • Special Extended DVD Edition Preview [HD]
    • “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” Game Trailer [HD]
    • “War In The North” [HD] All new game announcement trailer which includes game website

Bonus Disc (SD)

  • The Quest Fulfilled: A Director’s Vision
  • A Filmmaker’s Journey: Making “The Return of the King”
  • National Geographic Special – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”
  • Featurettes
    • Aragorn’s Destiny
    • Minas Tirith: Capital of Gondor
    • The Battle of Pelennor Fields
    • Samwise the Brave
    • Èowyn: White Lady of Rohan
    • Digital Horse Doubles
    • Two Theatrical Trailers
    • TV Spots
    • Heart/Frodo
    • Every Path
    • Test
    • Aragorn
    • Time
    • Every Step
    • Sword
    • Decided
    • Time Review
    • Decided Review
    • Step Golden Globes
    • Globe Nominations
    • New Epic Globe
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