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Every Flaw Perfected,
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Four Disc Collector's Box Set) [DVD]  (DVD)Don't get me wrong, I loved the Fellowship of the Ring when I saw it at the cinema but I could recognise that there were some flaws there too. However, with this extended version all these flaws have been rectified and the movie is a lot stronger for it.
First the major one - Lothlorien. In the cinema, like a lot of people, I came out mumbling about the wasted opportunity of presenting Lothlorien in a film. I felt that it was rushed, squeezed in as though Jackson didn't really like that part of the book and wanted to get past it as quickly as possible. Not so here - the sequence is extended greatly and to the benefit of the whole film which now feels more balanced because of it. You aren't left wondering why they bothered getting an actress of the quality of Cate Blanchett for a role which in the theatrical release was a relatively minor one - as he performance in the extended scenes truly justifies her presence. Fans of the book will be particularly delighted with the inclusion of the gift-giving and the excellent comedy moment provided by the way-bread.
The extended Shire sequences are also a joy and are well worth the inclusion (if only for the fact that not only do you get to see more of the wondrous set that Weta created but you also we get a scene inside the Green Dragon complete with Gaffer!). But where this version of the movie comes into its own is in the extra space it gives the characters in the Fellowship time to develop. Gimli particularly benefits from this (his character becoming far more rounded and three-dimensional) as do Pippin and Merry. This, combined with the extra time developing and setting up plot points (an addtional scene with Aaragon and Boromir makes the former's death have much more impact, for example) means that the film is just more balanced and is a far more satisfying experience. Although Peter Jackson has claimed this isn't a director's cut and that it's just a "different" rather than "better" version, the booklet provided with this set is slightly telling when it mentions that "With no constraints on the film's running time, Peter Jackson
The quality of the transfer and the sound are second to none (although I haven't had a chance to check out the DTS track) and the only problem with the range of extra features is that they are so extensive and in-depth that you might run the risk of removing some of the mystique of this film. The packaging is superb and the
The only major flaw with this release is the fact that you have to swap disks half-way through the film. This could have been made far less jarring if they had faded out at the end of the first disk rather than just blacking out - but they at least choose a natural place in the film to have the break (just after the Fellowship is formed at Elrond's council).
Quite frankly, if that's the only flaw on this truly amazing package then it's a sacrifice that is more than worth the benefits you get over the theatrical release DVD.