Lord of the Rings Extended vs. Theatrical

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Baker, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Jon Baker

    Jon Baker Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm wondering if there is anyone who prefers the theatrical versions to the extended version DVDs of LOTR. I had purchased all 3 extended sets with the hopes of maybe watching them with all the extended footage and extras and stuff, but now I'm thinking of selling them (they haven't yet been opened) and just replacing them with the less expensive theatrical trilogy package.

    I'm just wondering how much better the films actually are with the extended scenes and if those added scenes are even worth sitting through or not.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    They are amazing with the extended scenes. [​IMG]
    In the smallest of cases, the additions add simple action but in the most drastic ones, they change the entire story. It's well worth it in my opinion and it's a richer experience.
    But if you're simply a casual fan of the films that's never read the books, perhaps you won't mind.
     
  3. James Ryfun

    James Ryfun Stunt Coordinator

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    The extra footage mostly fleshes out character development, stuff I wouldn't miss for the world now that I've seen them. Though there are some scenes that are a bit unnecessary (a lot of silly Gimli comic relief) I still prefer the Extended versions. I keep the theatricals just to have them, but I don't see myself going back to them.
     
  4. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    I definitely prefer the pacing of the FOTR:TE to the FOTR:EE, but I seem to remember favoring TTT:EE over the TTT:TE. The jury is still out on ROTK:EE, as I haven't seen it yet.
     
  5. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    On the whole, I prefer the theatrical versions - the FotR: theatrical is MUCH better paced than the extended (leaner and tighter exactly when it needs to be), and the RotK: EE is just plain LONG (4 hours+). Both are worth watching in their extended forms, just to see the scenes that were excised, and certainly worth owning for the extras, which are still the high water mark for special features in a recent release.

    That being said, I also prefer the TTT: Extended to its theatrical cousin. Of all the films, this one can afford to be given room to breathe, and breathe it does. Being a completist, I've got the theatricals and extendeds of all three. But if I had to choose just one set, it'd be the theatricals.
     
  6. Jonathan White

    Jonathan White Stunt Coordinator

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    The extended editions are worth keeping for the extras alone, fantastic!
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The EEs are definitely the superior versions. Having read the books, there is much less "missing" from the EEs than the theatrical releases and the DTS-ES track is also worth it IMO, not to mention the extras. The EEs are definitely slower at times (ROTK in particular), but they are also providing significant details in many cases, that lend to a better telling of the story IMO.
     
  8. Jonathan Peterson

    Jonathan Peterson Second Unit

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    Speaking as someone who never read the books, I prefer the EEs of all three films. For me they helped with what was going on better.
     
  9. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Hmm.. I have exactly the opposite feeling. FOTR EE and ROTK EE add back alot of vital story and character information from the books that were sadly missing from the theatrical versions. TT: EE contains alot more new and unnecessary footage not in the books than the other two films. It is also the slowest moving EE as the 1st half of TT really drags in the EE. But I would still take the EE's of any of the three over the Theatricals. The Theatricals are only for archive purposes now. I believe the EE's are musts for the book readers but for non-readers it seems to vary based on your patience level and love/hate for longer more detailed films and love of these particular films.
     
  10. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    I thought the FOTR: EE was a huge improvement over the theatrical, and thought the extra footage really allowed the story to develop greater momentum and impact. I'll never go back to the theatrical for this one.

    I also thought TTT: EE was a strong improvement as I found the extra scenes again quite important and worthwhile. There's something quite grand and moving about the extended version of TTT that the theatrical, for me, didn't quite match up to.

    The ROTK: EE has a lot of amazing extra scenes but it's almost an embarrassment of riches. A lot of the new scenes are tremendous but the film itself is so long with them that I've never actually managed to get through the whole thing in one sitting. (I will one day, but you pretty much need a full afternoon to get through the extended version of this one). The bottom line for me though is that all three extended editions are extremely worthwhile and you should certainly try to watch them if you can - especially if you already own them! There's bound to be scenes in some or all of them where you'll go "Wow, why did they cut THAT out? This is great!", and you should find the viewings reward your time and attention.

    As a side note, the extras (i.e the docos) are also outstanding if you haven't made your way through them yet, as are some of the commentart tracks.
     
  11. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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  12. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    A book is a book and a movie is a movie. I've read the books and love them as much as the next person, and the movies just as much. But anyone who knows anything about editing knows that more isn't necessarily better just because it's more.
    For me, the theatrical version of the FotR just flat-out moves better, where as the additional material brings the thing to a crawl where it should really be lean and quick.
    As for RotK, some of the extra material is great stuff (Saruman's death, for example), some is redundant(the extra Corsair scenes) and some is neither necessary nor unnecessary (Eowyn and Faramir), but it's just a case where the additional material adds so much length to an already-long film, I prefer the more concise version.
     
  13. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    I think LOTR has always been one of the few exceptions to that Book is a Book and a film is a film rule. This is a case of plot and character details and explanations being necessary for the understanding of the film and the characters for non-book readers and that detail being there to please book readers. So many non-book readers I talked too either scratched their heads or misunderstood so many parts of the theatrical editions but seeing the EE's explained most of those parts for them. I can't tell you how many times I heard non-book readers who had no idea what the stories were about refer to Frodo and the other hobbits as little boys (as in 10 year old kids). How could you blame them since the Theatrical Version left out the very important "concerning hobbits" segment that explains what a hobbit is just like the book did. Just one of many examples of why the EE's are much better. Showing the Gift Giving scene by Galadriel is another key part necessary for credibility later in the story so that it does not seem as if our hero's always have some special gadget to pull out of their back pocket whenever they need it.
    Your reasons for FOTR and ROTK could be applied to TT as well since that film was already long and has the slowest pace of the 3 and the many unecessary added scenes to that EE make it even slower and feel like the longest film.
     
  14. Jonathan Peterson

    Jonathan Peterson Second Unit

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  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    Out of both the theatrical and extended versions of all films, my favorite of the lot is the extended version of The Two Towers. I'm not sure exactly why, it just is.
    Though both versions of each film are both long, for each of the theatricals, I found myself getting antsy sitting in the theater watching them. But when they released the extended versions of FOTR and TTT in theatres, I checked those out, and they actually felt shorter. Obviously that's not the case, but I thought the character and story development and pacing was so much better in the longer versions. I can't imagine watching the theatricals again.
     
  16. Jefferson Morris

    Jefferson Morris Supporting Actor

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    My post would be a virtual duplicate of Mark VH's original post, so I'll just refer you back to him.

    When I rewatch the films, I do tend to go with the extended versions, tolerating the filler and the sheer length for the sake of those EE scenes that I find indispensible - the gift-giving, Faramir's backstory, Saruman's death, etc.

    Owning the longer versions is a no-brainer. Any fan should. The real question is whether New Line will be able to compress the films skillfully enough in these new editions to make the previous ones redundant, or perhaps even inferior (for anyone just interested in the film's presentation, and not the exhaustive supplements included with the EEs). I'd let the eventual reviews of image quality guide my decision.

    --Jefferson Morris
     
  17. Jon Baker

    Jon Baker Stunt Coordinator

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    This is all going to be new to me as I have not read the books nor seen either versions of any of the films. I bought the EE, because I felt that those were the versions to buy and I wanted to buy them while they were on sale. They still haven't been opened and thought I may "downgrade" just because of the experience I had hating the added footage of "Apocalypse Now Redeux" and how much it ruined the original film for me. I'm just curious why Peter Jackson would leave out so much in the theatrical versions (I'm noticing 30-50 minutes of extended scenes being added in). Maybe all this is discussed in one of the extras on the EE.

    LOTR is unfamilar territory for me. I've never really been into fantasy, but having heard so much about these films being examples of great filmmaking, I thought I would open myself up to it. Plus from some of the cinematography I'd seen it looks like it would be a striking visual experience if nothing else. From what it sounds like here the EE is the way to go. I would hate to think that upon watching and really liking the theatrical versions I would regret selling the EE. Plus in looking at the extras on the theatrical versions, it doesn't look like there's much on the making of the film. Just a lot of promotions and ads for upcoming editions, video games, etc.
     
  18. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    He was required to keep them under a certain time limit (3 hours, IIRC) in order to allow a certain number of viewings per screen per day. He knew up front that he'd be able to re-cut them for DVD however he liked.
    I haven't watched either version of ROTK yet (read the books though), and I don't remember the differences in the two versions of FOTR, but the extra Faramir-related backstory in the extended cut of TTT is a MUST. It completely changes that subplot (by rendering it comprehensible!).
    Ironically, TTT was the only one of the super-duper gift sets that I didn't buy. That Gollum figure was really goofy and the extra disc was lame. The statues and extra discs in the other two sets were great!
     
  19. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Jon, try reading the books first. They're very good. However, if you find that they drag for you, don't give up on the films.
     
  20. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    I thought the extended version of FOTR was perfect. Maybe it stretches things out a bit unnecessarily, but with a few exceptions, when I think on it, I can't even remember what was added.

    The EE for TTT just felt a bit like overkill, but it may be due to the nature of the film. Basically, the filmmakers took TTT, the shortest of the three books, moved some of its matetrial into FOTR and a good hour or so worth of material into ROTK and beefed up a virtually nonexistent plot into a pretty good movie. I think the extended edition adds some good material, but the fan in me just wants it to end.

    I have some mixed feelings about the extended editions of ROTK. I love most of the material they added, but it's just way too long. Actually, maybe it's best to just consider the EE of ROTK a two-part movie. Either way, I think most of the additions add to the story and really helped to balance it out. The theatrical version gave us too much at the beginning, sped right over the climax and slowed to a grinding hault for its resolution. Now, at least it feels like it's going at more or less the same speed throughout.
     

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