The extended editions of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings
present the greatest trilogy in film history in the most ambitious sets in DVD history. In bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's nearly unfilmable work to the screen, Jackson benefited from extraordinary special effects, evocative New Zealand locales, and an exceptionally well-chosen cast, but most of all from his own adaptation with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, preserving Tolkien's vision and often his very words, but also making logical changes to accommodate the medium of film. While purists complained about these changes and about characters and scenes left out of the films, the almost two additional hours of material in the extended editions (about 11 hours total) help appease them by delving more deeply into Tolkien's music, the characters, and loose ends that enrich the story, such as an explanation of the Faramir-Denethor relationship, and the appearance of the Mouth of Sauron at the gates of Mordor. In addition, the extended editions offer more bridge material between the films, further confirming that the trilogy is really one long film presented in three pieces (which is why it's the greatest trilogy ever--there's no weak link). The scene of Galadriel's gifts to the Fellowship added to the first film proves significant over the course of the story, while the new Faramir scene at the end of the second film helps set up the third and the new Saruman scene at the beginning of the third film helps conclude the plot of the second.
To top it all off, the extended editions offer four discs per film: two for the longer movie, plus four commentary tracks and stupendous DTS 6.1 ES sound; and two for the bonus material, which covers just about everything from script creation to special effects. The argument was that fans would need both versions because the bonus material is completely different, but the features on the theatrical releases are so vastly inferior that the only reason a fan would need them would be if they wanted to watch the shorter versions they saw in theaters (the last of which, The Return of the King, merely won 11 Oscars). The LOTR extended editions without exception have set the DVD standard by providing a richer film experience that pulls the three films together and further embraces Tolkien's world, a reference-quality home theater experience, and generous, intelligent, and engrossing bonus features. --David Horiuchi
Extended versions of Peter Jacksons complete epic big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings trilogy - filmed back-to-back and released over 3 consecutive years. In The Fellowship of the Ring 2001 Frodo Elijah Wood is a hobbit living in the Shire, a quiet, peaceful part of Middle Earth. When it turns out that his elderly relative Bilbo Ian Holm is harbouring the ultimate Ring of Power and the evil Nazgul riders of Sauron are coming to find it, Frodo is entrusted by wizard Gandalf Ian McKellen to deliver the Ring out of the Shire without it falling into their hands. Frodo leaves the Shire aided by his cousins Merry Dominic Monaghan, Pippin Billy Boyd and trusty friend Sam Gamgee Sean Astin, but they soon realise that the agents of Mordor are everywhere and that their trip is far from over. Once they reach the Elvish realm of Rivendell the Hobbits form part of the anti-Sauron fellowship, which includes Aragorn Viggo Mortensen, Boromir Sean Bean, Legolas Greenleaf Orlando Bloom, Gimli the dwarf and of course Gandalf. Together they must battle across Middle Earth to destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom, the fiery chasm in the centre of Mordor. In The Two Towers 2002 the Fellowship of the Ring has now divided and Sam and Frodo are lost in the hills of Emyn Muil. They are also being followed by Gollum, a creature who promises to help them find the Mountain of Doom. Meanwhile Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli search for the hobbits Merry and Pippin in the Kingdom of Rohan, which is currently being attacked by Sarumans orc armies. Gandalf returns as Gandalf the White to remind Aragorn of his destiny to unite the people of Rohan with Gondor. Whilst the Fellowship are not travelling together they must unite against the powerful forces coming from the Two Towers Orthanc Tower in Isengard where Saruman has bred a deadly army of 10,000, and Saurons fortress at Barad-dr. Finally, The Return of the King 2003 won all 11 Academy Awards it was nominated fo