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Customer Review

644 of 684 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Picture (almost) Perfect, 28 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition) [Blu-ray] [2011] [2001] (Blu-ray)
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that everyone reading this already knows a good deal about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I won't discuss the quality of the movies in detail. Needless to say that there really is no competition between the theatrical and extended editions so far as the experience is concerned. The Extended Editions feel much more whole and complete and generally far more satisfying than the abridged theatrical version. Equal love and attention is put into the special features, which are immensely detailed and entertaining.

The main topic of debate over this release has been the quality of the video, the use of 2 discs per film, and the use of DVDs for special features as opposed to blu-ray discs.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

Fellowship - The discontent with the theatrical blu-ray for Fellowship is no secret, leading to the new transfer for this boxset. There have been videos showing the high green levels in the transfer, which has led many to write off buying this release. The bad news is that certain scenes do indeed look a little too green - weathertop and subsequent scene when Arwen arrives; Mines of Moria and a few others. There is also a higher level of orange than I remember in other scenes (i.e. Rivendell). The good news is that these are brief little bumps in the road for an otherwise brilliant video. The film finally looks high-definition with beautiful clarity and detail but without looking over digitised. It looks natural and impressive.

Two Towers & Return of the King - There is no major improvement in these films but one thing I did feel when watching the theatrical blu-rays was that the picture, though impressive, was flat somehow... although that may be my imagination. If it wasn't my imagination, then the issue has been addressed as the video seems to have more depth and warmth.

Audio - The unquestionable champion of this set is the audio quality. I had enormous expectations for Howard Shore's soundtrack, which has left me in tears on numerous occasions, and was not left disappointed (or dry eyed). The audio is incredibly detailed and dynamic. You can literally hear the brush of the leaves and trickle of water, along with the perfect soundtrack and crystal clear dialogue. Multi-layered sound effects are used appropriately and never overstated - they will highly reward any good surround system. Every aspect of the audio track is a great success, especially the dialogue, which I had always found difficult to understand in particular scenes but could understand perfectly here. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent with each of these terrific soundtracks.

2 DISCS PER FILM:

This issue never really bothered me, although I've always disliked the way in which the split was handled. It's not too bad for Fellowship, with disc 1 ending on the founding of the Fellowship of the Ring - a perfect mid-point. However, both Two Towers and Return of the King cut-offs are sudden and inappropriate, killing the mood and tension slightly. Unfortunately, this hasn't been fixed for this release, which is a shame but not lethal.

SPECIAL FEATURES DVDS:

Again, this is not something which really bothers me. Whilst it would be nice to have a complete set of blu-ray discs and enjoy the special features in high-definition, there is nothing which really suffers from being on a DVD. Considering the time and money that would have to be put into the transfers, I think it is best that they have been left on DVDs.

WHY FOUR STARS??:

Considering I have had nothing but praise for this set, you might wonder why I have only given it four stars. The reason is simple - the US release of this boxset was virtually identical, except that it also included digital copies of the films whereas ours does not. However, both sets are a similar price, or ours is a good £15-20 more expensive if you compare Amazon's prices. While this may have been acceptable before digital copies really came over to the UK, it is now commonplace for the more premium Blu-Ray releases to include digital copies of the film and, for the price tag, we should have been given the same treatment as our American counterparts.

CONCLUSION:

General opinion is that this boxset is still holding back a little and the full deal will be released in the next couple of years to support the release of The Hobbit movies. I obviously cannot predict whether or not that will happen but feel that, for now at least, this boxset is the best we are going to get and it is certainly 100% better than the theatrical blu-ray set. If you loved the extended editions, or haven't had the chance to see them yet, then this set shows them in all their audio-visual glory and should not be dismissed as a half-effort (lack of digital copies aside).
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Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 33 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jul 2011 10:34:02 BDT
Paul B says:
Great review. The reason why the Digital Copies are not included is that they apparently haven't been greenlighted for iTunes in the UK. Something about licencing. It's a real pain and you'd think they'd have got it sorted by now.

Posted on 14 Jul 2011 18:42:05 BDT
Kristoffer says:
Best review around here - Thank you!

Posted on 23 Jul 2011 12:07:21 BDT
Excellent review, thank you very much!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Aug 2011 16:57:05 BDT
Do anyone know if the "English" subtitles is plain english subtitles or the anoying hearingdeaf-subtitles? I am from Scandinavia and i need to have normal english (or danish) subtitles on..

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Aug 2011 00:32:15 BDT
Kristoffer says:
Hej Mathias. Jeg må desværre meddele dig at der kun findes engelske undertekster for hørehæmmede. Men synes du virkelig at de er så irriterende?

Posted on 20 Aug 2011 21:03:10 BDT
Great review, really helpful and informative comments, thanks for posting and helping me decide to take the plunge and buy this set.

Posted on 14 Sep 2011 01:15:03 BDT
M. Perkins says:
So just to clarify, EVEN THOUGH it's Blu ray, they STILL split the films in 2 despte the fact Br discs can hold a crap load more data and should be able to hold each movie comfortably on one disc per film? If thats the case, why bother buying? My Blu ray player upscales the dvd's i have to near HD quality and shows the exact same scenes and the audio doesn't bother me, as long as it's clear Im happy. Thanx for the review, you saved me a bit of cash cos until the disc split is gone, im not purchasing these films again. Cheers :D

Posted on 1 Oct 2011 16:15:51 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 1 Oct 2011 16:27:01 BDT]

Posted on 5 Oct 2011 11:45:14 BDT
Hill Walker says:
very high quality review

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Oct 2011 14:09:02 BDT
Dalriada842 says:
The films could be released on one disc per film, as you say. However it would require the data to be at a greater compression ratio. This would reduce the quality! I would rather change discs part way through a film to have the highest quality video and audio. But that's a matter of personal preference. My Panasonic TV does a pretty good job of up-scaling DVDs too. There are still artefacts visible on-screen though in some screens. But if you're happy with what you have already, then save your money. Some people are more sensitive to these issues than others.
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