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The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions)

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We further suspect that many of those who've been following the controversy for the past couple of weeks will wonder what the fuss was about. The adventure continues with THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy when, with the help of the Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggin’s nephew, Frodo, embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron and his forces. Mortenson deserves all the praise lavished upon him (and funnily enough, he does get the most praise, more so than Wood), as he provides a career re-defining performance as the mysterious, courageous ranger. You see more of the unsung aspects of the project, plus lots of candid material with Jackson and the cast members. Our feeling here at The Bits is that it's been blown out of proportion, as things tend to be these days.

War begins to dominate the film, with a do-or-die defense that is so horribly outnumbered that the proportions are somewhat akin to parable.Jackson acknowledges the difficulty in starting the film, so the fact that the beginning is one of the very biggest things changed in the Extended Editions is a great focal point. These towering treefolk at first are large enough to stomp an orc without effort, with a single stride, yet later are only fractions of the trees around them, as the scale of the hobbits around them grow as the film progresses.

I did have both at same time years ago and don't remember any big differences in picture between them. Osborne, Mark Ordesky, Andrew Lesnie, John Gilbert, Rick Porras, Howard Shore, Jim Rygiel, Ethan Van der Ryn, Mike Hopkins, Randy Cook, Christian Rivers, Brian Van't Hul, and Alex Funke), and the fourth covering the cast members (Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, and Sean Bean). That also means it also doesn't quite match 'The Fellowship of the Ring' when it comes to sheer detail.

Sauron is given great prominence and is revered and feared properly, acting as an all-inclusive banner for which evil is done, but his agents are naive, selfish, inherently flawed, failing to give the film any level of tension due to their constant missteps and blunders. Fans have long clamored for an Extended Edition Blu-ray release of director Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, and some even cried foul when 2010 only brought the theatrical cuts to high definition. The mix is big and wide up front, and smooth all the way around, with natural staging and highly-atmospheric ambience. Meanwhile, Aragorn, drawing closer to his kingly destiny, rallies forces of good for the battles that must come. the folks at WB and New Line didn't give it the treatment you'd expect from what may be their most profitable franchise.

Each film in this collection features new and extended scenes not seen in the theatrical versions of the films. subtitles: English, Spanish and Portuguese, Elijah Wood introduction (1 min, 16x9), Warriors of Middle-Earth featurette (21 mins, 16x9), Cameras in Middle-Earth documentary (68 mins, 16x9), production photo gallery (with select audio commentary), Big-atures featurette (22 mins, 16x9), 7 big-atures galleries (with select audio commentary), pre-viz animatic ( The Flooding of Isengard - 5 mins total, 16x9), WETA Digital featurette (28 mins, 16x9), 2 abandoned concepts galleries (with select audio commentary), Editorial: Refining the Story featurette (22 mins, 16x9), Music for Middle-Earth featurette (25 mins, 16x9, DD 5. Skin tones wear this issue, as well, as there are more than a few moments in the film where characters look ashen due to the way red levels are overpowered by greens, when they aren't excessively affected by lighting, far more than the other films in the set. The soundstage is constantly filled, putting you in the middle of the experience throughout the entire affair, be it in a not-so-crowded hall or a battle littered with combatants from all angles.

The other oddity around this part is The long zoom up the corridor in Orthanc where Saruman talks of joining Sauron. The only thing a little odd about the set is it has a slipcover over the slip box, which is the exact same design. The DTS mix is just as enthralling here - from the thunderous battle before the White City to the pulsing, throbbing sound as we see the final fate of The One Ring. So I don’t expect you to have a go at this because I don’t think it’s your style to attempt something like that but there is a much better version than what we were given although it’s still a brilliant film but we are missing some artistic craft in which it would have been originally assembled.

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