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HTF REVIEW: "Lord Of The Rings Extended Edition" (with screenshots)



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#1 of 463 Carlo Medina

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Posted October 17 2002 - 11:38 AM

Just when i thought Nov. 12 wasn't looking so far away... Posted Image

#2 of 463 Dan Brecher

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Posted October 16 2002 - 09:14 PM

Ron, I had to skim the review due to the inclusion of all the screenshots, but what I got to read before they appeared (hey, I am greatful of 56k for once! Posted Image ) was great.

One thing, this isn't a directors cut, Peter Jackson has stressed this many times. It's simply dubbed 'Extended DVD Edition' or 'Extended Edition'. You may wish to amend that in the thread title.

Dan

#3 of 463 Dean DeMass

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Posted October 17 2002 - 01:12 AM

Ron,

As usual, wonderful review. Your writing makes me anticipate releases even more. The 1st two weeks of November are going to be the best yet for me (Spider-Man, Band of Brothers, FOTR, and Clones). I cannot wait to load this DVD set into my DVD Changer.

-Dean-

#4 of 463 Jens Raethel

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Posted October 17 2002 - 04:21 AM

Thanks for the AMAZING review!!
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#5 of 463 Lou Sytsma

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Posted October 17 2002 - 02:41 AM

Top hat Ron. Kudos for all the work you did here.

First of - hopefully - three amazing DVD releases!

Could they win DVD of the year 3 years in a row!?!?
Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.

#6 of 463 Mark Walker

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Posted October 16 2002 - 11:15 PM


One DVD [boxed set] to Rule them All

One DVD [boxed set] to find them

One DVD [boxed set] to bring them all

And in the darkness [of home theaters] bind them


Is there such a thing as a DVD Wraith?




Posted Image

Mark

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#7 of 463 Neil Joseph

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Posted October 16 2002 - 03:47 PM

DVD of the year?

Thanks for the indepth review and the time it must have taken to do it.
Click on above image to enter " T H E . H O L O D E C K "
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The Holodeck. My DIY Screen. DIY Subwoofer: The MaxCaliber
My humble collection of DVD's. HTF Beginner's Primer and FAQ

#8 of 463 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 16 2002 - 10:34 AM

Posted Image

Lord Of The Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring
Extended Edition







Studio: New Line
Year: 2001
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 208 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English



One ring to rule them all,
One ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them


Published in 1954-1955, J.R.R. Tolkien's
masterpiece Lord Of The Rings trilogy still
remains one of the most definitive works of
imaginary fiction ever written. The extraordinary
efforts to get this trilogy to the screen is a
testament of how popular these stories are today.
Featuring 350 constructed sets, 100 or more locations,
and 20,602 extras, this is the largest film project
ever undertaken by a studio. New Line took a huge
gamble and risked everything by filming all three
movies back-to-back without knowing the fate of the
original release. That gamble obviously paid off as
Fellowship of the Ring grossed a phenomenal
$157 million in just 12 days and held the No. 1 spot
for weeks since its opening.

Posted ImagePosted Image

Perhaps the most significant testament to the
film's success lies in how magnificently the book
was adapted to the screen. I was a pre-teen when
I first read the entire trilogy. The book sparked
my imagination like no other book has since. Never
would I have believed that anyone could capture
my imaginations and put them on the screen. Production
designer Grant Major and art director Dan Hennah
have created a visual masterpiece -- from the wonderfully
pleasing Shire to the soaring elven town of Rivendell
to Moria, the dwarven caves deep inside a mountain.
The incredibly varied terrain of New Zealand was
used to great advantage in the movie, and it was
very difficult to tell what was natural scenery and
what was constructed set or even computer generated
effects.

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Set in the mythical land of Middle Earth, in an
era of goblins and wizards, the evil Lord Sauron
and his dark forces once again threaten to rule all.
The fate of the world relies on who possesses the
one ring, which holds unspeakable power. Lord Sauron
created the ring out of the fiery depths of Doom
Mountain years and years ago, but it was during a
battle where Sauron was killed that the ring
changed hands. The ring is lost once again only
to be found by Gollum, a lowly creature that gets
poisoned by its power. The ring is eventually stolen
by a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. And so, this is where
the trilogy begins.....

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As the film opens, Gandalf the Wizard (Ian McKellen)
is visiting his old Hobbit friend, Bilbo Baggins (Ian
Holm). When Bilbo makes a daring announcement to a
group of party guests, Gandalf realizes that Bilbo is
in possession of a very important ring. Gandalf
convinces Bilbo to give up the ring, and give it to
the very young Frodo (Elijah Wood). When the secret
of the ring is finally revealed to the old Wizard,
Frodo is warned to leave the Shire at once. However,
evil agents are already on their trail. Pursued by
dark riders, the Hobbits are forced to team up with
a mysterious stranger named Strider (Viggo Mortensen).
The reluctant adventurers make their way to Rivendell,
a temporary safe haven, where a grand council decides
the ring must be destroyed by returning it to the
fire from which it was made. With reluctance, nine
chosen companions embark on a most perilous quest.


The Extended Edition


It is not until you watch this Extended Edition that
you realize how much bigger-than-life this epic has
become. The film becomes a totally fresh and new
viewing experience mainly thanks to the film's
cleverly reconstructed 15-minute opening, which is
included in the addition of 30 minutes of footage
that greatly flesh out the characters and bring more
depth to the story. As many times as I have seen
this film in its standard version, this new cut was
an awe-inspiring experience for me. I'll never
watch the standard version again.

The Lord Of The Rings: FOTR arrives in
a brand new 4-disc edition housed inside an
attractive book-like casing. The movie is spread
across discs One and Two. This means that nearly
1:45 minutes into the film, you will need to
switch to disc two in order to continue. The
upside is that this enables the inclusion of
four new audio commentaries as well as several
audio formats including English Dolby Digital
EX 5.1 Surround
and English DTS ES 6.1
Surround
. The downside is that when you
switch discs, you must go into the SETUP area and
once again set your audio preferences. The
bottom line is that you will not be able to watch
an uninterrupted presentation of the film. Discs
Three and Four contain The
Appendices, Part I and II.


The added footage

What I am going to do now is break down the list
of added footage for you, as well as including a
handful of screenshots. Please note that most of
this is from memory, and there is always the
possibility I may be describing a scene that was
already in the standard version. I think my memory
is pretty good and that I will come very close to
being pretty accurate. Also please realize that since
a small amount of added footage comes through quick
cuts, I may have missed a few minor additions.


Disc One


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- In a newly reconstructed introduction to the film
(and before the opening credits), we listen to
added narration from Bilbo as he sits at his table
working on his memoirs. We learn more about the
Hobbits...their passions for food, planting and
celebration. More importantly, we are introduced
to the ring at a much earlier interval.

- During a fireworks display, Bilbo welcomes guests
and hides from others as he has extended dialogue
with Frodo.

- In the library. Gandalf reads more of the history
of the ring, complete with added flashback.

Posted ImagePosted Image

- A party has Merry and Pippin dancing on a table
as others talk about the war brewing beyond their
borders.

- A beautiful sequence where in the woods just
outside of the Shire, Sam and Frodo peer upon a
group of wood-elves on their way to the harbor
beyond the grey towers. Sam also complains about
not being able to sleep amongst the roots.

- An extended sequence inside the Prancing Pony
regarding Strider.

- Additional dialogue with Strider. The Hobbits
talk amongst themselves as to whether they should
trust Strider and if he really is a friend of
Gandalf.

Posted ImagePosted Image

- A walk through a marsh filled with mosquitos
(great rear channel effects here). Later, Strider
sings beneath the light of the moon about a love
he lost.


- Frodo awakens after being stabbed by the blade
of a Wraith. He is in a thicket surrounded by
Troll statues.

- A really cool sequence that takes place during
the roundtable meet in Rivendell. As Frodo
places the ring on the table, Borimor goes for it,
claiming it is a gift to be used against Mordor.
A spell is raised that literally shakes the
mountains.


Disc Two



- A brand new sequence opens the second disc as
Aragorn (formally known as Strider) visits
the grave of his Mother as Elrond Peredhil reminds
him of his destiny.

Posted ImagePosted Image

- Elrond bids farewell to the departing nine
companions as the fellowship awaits the ring
bearer.

- A short dialogue sequence where Gandalf asks
Frodo to help an old man. Gandalf asks the
Hobbit how his shoulder is as both discover how
powerful the influence of the ring is becoming. The
wizard advises Frodo to only trust himself. We also
learn that Gandalf is sensing impending danger
inside the Moria mines that will ultimately test him.

- Another sequence has Gandalf becoming irate
over not being able to find the words to open
the doors of Durin that lead the way to the heart
of Moria.

- Inside the mines of Moria, against a steep
cliff, Gandalf points his way down the chasms as
he shows his companions the true wealth of Moria.

- A newly found passage into the great hall of
the mines of Moria. Gandalf speaks of the
oncoming Balrog. The jump across the bridge is
also greatly extended with a new set of stairs to
cross and a much earlier arrival of a full-formed Balrog.

Posted ImagePosted Image

- As Frodo walks through the woods he hears
additional calls of Galadriel, Lady of the
Galadrhim. Gimli makes a very uncourteous remark
about the lady after being captured by elves. Later,
Aragorn tells Frodo that Gandalf's death was not
in vain.

- The group is handed cloaks and food by the elves
as well as parting advice. Galadriel gives gifts
to each of the members. Gimli has a very
unlikely request. Wait till you hear what he
receives.

- As the group makes a short stop on shore,
there is another sighting of Gollum in the
water. Sam pleads to Frodo that he is truly his
friend and wants to help. Boromir and Aragorn
argue.

- An extended battle sequence between Aragorn and
the head Orc.


Again, I must stress that all of this is from
memory. Please be kind if I made any mistakes here.
Fortunately, the added material can easily be
identified by going into Select a Scene
where asterisks indicate **new scene as well
as **extended scene. Please note that I
did not refer to this area prior to writing the
above scenes.


How is the transfer?

To say that this is an absolutely flawless
transfer and leave it at that would be sort
of shortchanging this review -- but it would
be the absolute truth. What we have here is
an absolutely pristine image that is very close
to Hi-Def. The transfer looks absolutely smooth
and with extremely accurate colors -- especially
in the facial flesh tones. Blacks are rock solid
and the picture never becomes too sharp nor soft,
giving this film a very natural beauty.

Posted ImagePosted Image

This DVD features both English Dolby Digital
EX 5.1 Surround
and English DTS ES 6.1
Surround
. Even though My system is limited
to a 5.1 setup, it wasn't difficult to get totally
immersed in the audio presentation. As I usually
expect from most DTS tracks, the sound has a very
spacial quality to it -- not sounding the least
compressed. This is one hell of an aggressive mix
with sound that is extremely accurate and detailed.
The rear channels are nearly always active throughout,
and there's tremendous LFE channel support that adds
booming floor-shaking response. This is one of the
strongest sounding LFE tracks in memory -- so strong
in fact that I was very concerned about blowing out
my subwoofer.

Posted ImagePosted Image

It really becomes difficult to define a transfer
that is as beautiful as this one. Thus far, Attack
Of The Clones
has become the best DVD I have
seen, thanks to its direct digital transfer. I
was amazed to see that this film transfer looked
almost as good. This tells you much about the effort
New Line has put into making this DVD look flawless.


Special Features


As I sit here with four discs containing over 6 hours
of material, I sort of hesitate to move on. What
lies before me is over a full day's worth of review
material devoted to one DVD package. I will do as
thorough of a job as I can with this, but will
mostly highlight what you can expect out of these
supplements.


Disc One and Two


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As you pop in the DVD, you are welcomed at a
Hobbit table where a book, The Fellowship of
The Ring
opens to reveal a page of menu
selections.

Disc One contains the first part of the
Extebded Edition which runs close to 1hr. 45 minutes.
The side break is at the 1:45 mark where Pippin
inquires "when are we goin'?!". A black screen
comes up prompting you to continue to Disc Two.

Posted Image

From the Special Features menu you can
select any one of four commentaries. These
commentaries feature: Track One: The
Directors and Writers
: Peter Jackson, Fran
Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Track Two:
The Design Team: Grant Major, Ngila Dickson,
Richard Taylor, Alan Lee, John Howe, Dan Hennah,
Chris Hennah and Tania Rodger. Track Three:
The Production/Post Production Team: Barrie
Osborne, Mark Ordesky, Andrew Lesnie (and a
approximately 11 more) Track Four: The
Cast
: Eliijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler,
Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic
Monoghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee and Sean
Bean.

What is very unique here is that each supplemental
audio commentary track is accompanied by a subtitle
identifying each different speaker.

Now I must apologize in advance. Commentaries are
usually the last thing I review. After spending
a day writing this one, I am going to briefly touch
upon just one of the commentaries. That
commentary is of the cast. First, you will
be very happy to learn that all of them are here
together in one room -- except for Christopher Lee
whose tracks seemed to have been recorded separate.
Two things of immediate interest here. First, it's
a very tame group effort for such a bunch of young
cast members. Second, it seems all of these
individuals are watching the added DVD material for
the very first time as many of them seem to be in
awe of what they are watching. McKellen talks about
a windy day in the shire and the problem of keeping
his hat on. The group never hesitates to point
out where each scene was filmed -- especially when
an actor crosses from an outdoor set onto a
soundstage. You'll also hear the cast talk about
"BK", who is Elijah's 3'4" double, used in scenes
where height comparison was needed. Christopher
Lee talks about some of the falls he had to do,
being knocked around quite often (but fortunately
not from any great height). A wraith chase through
the woods leading the Hobbits to the Ferry is not
so fondly recalled here. The boys had an awful
time in the pouring rain not only from shoes
that went flying off...but by the time they reached
the bottom of the hill, they were so exhausted they
had to be carried back up.

I realize I have merely scratched the surface on
the commentaries, but I think all of you understand
that I just cannot rewatch 3 hours of material to
give you the type of review you want.



Disc Three



Here begins what is called The Appendices.
They are spread out across Discs Three and Four.
Let's begin with Disc Three which is titled
Part One: From Book To Vision

As in the rear pages of the Tolkien books, these
Appendices give the back stories and
origins of how the mythology of Middle Earth was
created. Part One (Disc Three) has 2.5
hours worth of documentary material and Part Two
has 3.5 hours of additional documentary material.

Posted Image

Let's begin with Disc Three: Part One: From
Book to Vision


We begin with an Introduction from director
Peter Jackson who not only welcomes you aboard, but
lays out exactly what you can expect from the two
supplemental discs before you. In fact, he gives
you several options of how you can best navigate
through all of the enclosed material.

Posted Image

J.R.R. Tolkien - creator of Middle Earth
begins with Peter Jackson talking about the sheer
wealth of information that Tolkien brought to his
books. From there, we get a thorough background
history on Tolkien who became an orphan at the
very early age of 12. His Mother actually was the
person who inspired him to read, and after her
death, he was committed to continue with his
literary studies. We learn of his studies of
the English language at Oxford, as well as his
involvement in the World War where most of the
suffering he witnessed had a profound affect on
his later writings. Tolkien Biography author
Humphrey Carpenter tells us that Tolkien wrote the
first installment of the book almost blindly, not
knowing what its structure would be, practically
shaping it all as he went along. The documentary
also explores the phenomenon of the books, thanks
to its underlying themes of human existence.
(length: approx. 22 minutes)

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From Book to Script reveals how much Jackson
is a real fan of the books, first reading the
trilogy at the age of 18. Director of Photography
Andrew Lesnie agrees -- this was the first book
that really taught him how powerful words could be.
We go down the line in interview after interview
with cast members and filmmakers like Sean Bean
(Boromir), Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and others who
talk about their first experiences reading the books.
The subject of proposing a three-film deal to New
Line Cinema is discussed here, with added comments
from filmmakers and cast members such as Christopher
Lee (Saruman), who was actually in favor of the
decision. The team responsible for shaping the
script into a three film story talk a little about
what the process was like. The cast members talk
about the incredible writing process of the film.
John Rys-Davies (Gimli) jokes about revisions of
the script that were slipped under his door the
night before a shoot. One of the most difficult
characters for Jackson and his team was Arwen
'Evenstar' Undómiel, a character that had a very
small role in the book series. In order to make her
a character with some weight, more material had to
be added for her. The scenes around the table of
Elrond was also difficult to shoot because of the
amount of material that was in the book. We also
learn how the evil encased within the ring had to
be animated -- given its own character.
(length: approx. 20 minutes)

Posted Image

Visualizing the story contains a wealth
of storyboards, animatics and animation to film
comparisons. Here we go...

Storyboards and Pre-viz: Making words into
images
presents Jackson, his effects and
miniatures team as they discuss the amount
of detail that was involved in order to shoot
the film as fluidly as possible. Every single
frame in this film was story boarded by Peter.
This greatly helped the visual and effects team.
Jackson took the storyboard process one step further
by creating small models with little figurines so
that camera shots could be more accurately conveyed.
(length: approx. 13 minutes)

There are three early storyboards that are
really cool to watch -- especially for the fact that
they play as individual movies set against music
and dialogue. In addition to an alternate prologue
(done with storyboards and CGI), there are two
abandoned scenes that have been cleverly
recreated for this DVD. Very cool!

In Pre-Viz Animatics we watch how computer
graphics laid out the blueprint for what was to be
filmed, including specific camera angles. The
scenes presented here are Gandalf rides to
Orthanc
and The Stairs of Khazad-Dum.

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Animatic to film comparisons give you
a split-screen look at how two specific scenes
look from original storyboard concept to final
print.

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Finally, in this section, Bag End set test
is a very nice treat to watch. In a yet unfinished
wooden set, film production and set design members
partake in a sort of blocking test. It's funny to
watch Jackson scurry around the set (acting like
Bilbo) as someone holds up a head on a stick that
represents Gandalf.
(length: approx. 6 minutes)

Let's go to Designing and filming Middle Earth...

Designing and building Middle Earth takes
us through original book illustrations of trolls,
Wizards and Goblins that create such a believable
environment that you think it was all once real.
We take a look at a team of designers who, before
the script was finished, put together models and
drawings that portrayed a totally believable world
inserted in shots of actual New Zealand locations
where the stories originated from. There are some
very interesting home movies of the models being
built, as well as the many drawings that were
offered for feedback before sculpturing began.
This is a very extensive featurette that goes far
more into depth than I could describe here, but
it represents the huge collaborative effort of
creating the world of Middle Earth.
(length: approx. 41 minutes)

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Weta Workshop takes us to Camperdown Studios,
a place that Elijah Wood describes as "Willy Wonka's
chocolate factory without the candy". Everything
in the film that you saw was made here -- all the
armor, all the weapons, the creatures and miniatures.
I think you will be mesmerized as you weave through
the very tight shop filled with an awesome amount
of miniature models (that aren't so miniature).
Some of the miniatures were the size of soundstages.
All the masks, and yes, hairy feet were created
here as well. My favorite part was watching the
creation of the Cave Troll made out of plaster
and skin. We also learn how impossible it is to
create armor, due to all its complexities.
(length: approx. 43 minutes)

Costume Design introduces us to Costume
Designer Nglia Dickson and her 40 seamstresses
that created the costumes for the film. Nglia
talks about how huge and complex the project was,
being very thankful that a lot of designs were
already in place before she came aboard. I was
absolutely amazed to look at footage of a warehouse
lined with rows upon rows of costumes. With
original concept drawings in hand, Nglia takes
us through each set of characters and how costumes
(and their colors) were specifically designed for
their race and personality.
(length: approx. 12 minutes)

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There are two design galleries that
represent the peoples and realms of Middle Earth.
There is such a wealth of information here
presented as a slide show that I cannot go
through it all in one sitting. Let me just say
that it is chock-full of original artist
renderings from enemies such as Sauron, The Cave
Troll
and Orcs to the characters that
make up the fellowship. Then there are original
drawings of all the realms of Middle Earth that
include (among others) The Shire, Bree, Moria
and Rivendell. So much material here and
so little time.

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Middle Earth Atlas lays out a large map
of the entire landscape as you use your remote to
pick a location and see scenes from the film that
show how that area was involved in the journey.

New Zealand as Middle Earth lets you use
your remote to pick particular locations on a map
and see where they were filmed. For instance,
Rivendell was filmed in Wellington, with
its beautiful forests and landscapes. We watch how
sets were built against these backdrops.


Disc Four


Okay, time to move on to Disc Four, Part Two:
From Vision to Reality


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Once again we are treated to an introduction
to all the material on this disc. Surprisingly, that
introduction comes courtesy of Elijah Wood (Frodo)
who tells us that this portion of the DVD covers
everything from the film's production right on
through the film's release. He also gives you some
advice on how to properly navigate your way through
the material.

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Filming The Fellowship of the Ring is
divided into four main areas. Let us take a look
at them....

Posted Image

The Fellowship of the Cast, as you would
expect, takes us through the casting process.
Since none of these actors had worked together
before, Jackson talks about being nervous once
all of them got off the plane in New Zealand,
meeting each other for the first time. In
separate interviews, the cast members talk
about leaving home for an extended period
and meeting each other for the first time. You
will have a big fat smile on your face as you hear
the story of how Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Orlando
Bloom (Legolas) first met. Ian McKellen talks
about taking a year out of his life, away from
home, making new friends. It turned out to be
a kind of Boy Scout adventure for the men -- a
real boys club. There are some great stories here
told by the actors themselves, including one about
Sean Astin (Samwise Gangee) being very nervous
about a helicopter ride. Another story involves
John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) taking a small group of
12 out to a restaurant and ordering enough food for
40 people. I love to hear Billy Boyd tell this
story while doing a dead-on impersonation of the
actor. This is simply just a fun collection of
individual stories from all the cast members that
truly show how much they love one another.
(length: approx. 34 minutes)

Posted Image

I heard the news today oh, boy! A Day In The
Life of a Hobbit
starts at 5am and takes us
through the makeup and prosthetics that go into
making a Hobbit. We see how the feet are attached,
as well as the ears which absorb sound and make
it difficult to hear. There are some really fun
home movie footage of cast members in makeup
eating and relaxing between film takes. We are
also introduced to Elijah's smaller version of
himself as we dwell into the art of staging a
scene to show proper size proportions.
(length: approx. 13 minutes)

Posted Image

Cameras in Middle-Earth is a very lengthy
look at how so many units of camera crew managed
to shoot the entire epic in a remarkably short
period of time. Jackson depended on the people
that ran these units to be in places he could not.
The documentary takes us through the many realms
of the film as we visit location after location,
watching how each segment was shot. Christopher
Lee talks about the unusual amount of takes that
Peter Jackson wanted from him, wanting to get words
and mannerisms exactly right. Cast members recall
trudging through the marshes where the water was
absolutely freezing cold while Peter Jackson was
by his trailer giggling about it all. It's
interesting to watch how outdoor location shots
of Rivendale had to be duplicated for later shots
done inside of a studio. Lighting was a major
importance here. Jackson talks about filming on
the snowy mountaintops with helicopters bringing
the entire cast and crew aboard...all except Sean
Bean (Boromir) who refused to fly, and instead
took a ski lift to the top. As the featurette
draws to a close, we watch Jackson coordinate
the huge fight that comes at the end of the film.
It was an incredibly long shoot in blazing hot
weather, and there's some great behind-the-scenes
footage here that captures it all.
(length: approx. 50 minutes)

Posted Image

Production Photos contain about 72 stills
that were taken on location.

Let's take a look at the section devoted to
Visual Effects...

Posted Image

Scale simply deals with heights. There's
a relationship of size between Hobbits and Humans.
This featurette looks at things such as scale
compositing, forced perspective, and creating
sets that properly portray size. There's also a
very interesting look at the big rigs used in the
film and the small people that drive them. These
big rigs were used to make the Hobbit characters
seem smaller.
(length: approx. 15 minutes)

Posted Image

Miniatures begins with Big-atures.
Miniature Director of Photography Alex Funke talks
about the importance of using miniatures rather
than creating them digitally. These miniatures
models became the basis for some of the most
jaw-dropping visual sequences of the film. The
bigger the miniature, the more realistic that
model is going to look on screen. We take a look
at much of the miniatures used in the film and
how they were combined with the live action
sequences.
(length: approx. 16 minutes)

After you are through watching the above featurette,
you can browse through hundreds of photos that
make up the miniatures gallery. Presented
in slide-show fashion, just about every realm from
the film is represented here.

Weta Digital takes us through the post-
production process of adding visual effects to
the film. This specially built facility was
built to bypass huge costs, in order to create
all the digital effects. Of course, you can
be assured that you will be shown lots of
digital computer effects in this segment,
including the creation of the squid creature that
grabs Frodo. My favorite part? Taking a look
at how the original wraith kings (as seen through
Frodo's invisibility) was shot. You see the live
actors reaching for what would be Frodo. Coool!
(length: approx. 24 minutes)

Let's look at Post Production: Putting it all
together
....

Editorial: Assembling an Epic introduces
us to Editors John Gilbert and Peter Skarratt who
talk about the immense size of the film project,
and the huge amount of footage that ended up in
the editing room. There were eight units producing
footage daily, and it was up to the editors to
sort through 5 million feet of film, bringing it
down to 4 million feet. One of the most difficult
scenes to edit was Arwen's horse chase scene. There
were just hours and hours of footage with horses
that had to be trimmed down to just a few minutes.
There's also discussion about the scenes that were
deleted from the film early on and now being
reinserted in this DVD.
(length: approx. 12 minutes)

Posted Image

You couldn't ask for anything better than this!
Anyone interested in filmmaking will indeed cherish
Editorial Demonstration: The Council of Elrond,
which consists of 36 different takes and illustrates
the challenges faced by the editorial team. Six
windows play above the final cut of the film. Each
of those six windows will highlight a take that
was selected by the editor as the one used in
the film.

Posted Image

Digital Grading talks about shooting footage
on location, which looks all too real, and nudging
it up a bit -- adding elements that make it look
sort of unworldly. This is done by taking a film
negative, scanning it, and then manipulating the
image with a variety of tools. Once you add colors
and highlights it gets scanned back onto the negative.
Supervising Digital Colourist Peter Doyle takes
us through raw footage and shows how individual
sequences were manipulated. Graded and ungraded
images are compared inside-by-side windows.
(length: approx. 12 minutes)

Let's take a look at Sound and Music...

The soundscapes of Middle-Earth is all
about the sound design of the film. There was
a wealth of sound effects that had to be created
in the studio. Using high-tech equipment, a
small team of artists created sounds that transported
the audience to Middle Earth. There are several
examples here how sounds were created for many of
the key sequences. You'll be surprised how plungers
and rubber floor mats became very useful. The
biggest challenge was creating the screams of the
ring wraiths. How was it done? It was actually
the screams of Fran Walsh.
(length: approx. 12 minutes)

Posted Image

Music for Middle-Earth introduces us to
composer Howard Shore who wrote the music that
guided our emotions throughout the film. Shore
worked on the film for nearly two years. We
watch the composer on the soundstage of Skywalker
Ranch (where I personally stood not more than 1
month ago), where he conducts the orchestra. We
learn how a dialect coach helped put together a
song sequence sung by Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn).
What surprised me is that he made up the tune
himself and was simply looking for the words.
The Abbey Road studio is the setting for a chorus
of young boys that added the sweet, emotional
passages to the film. Later, shore talks about
writing a score as if it were an Opera, bringing a
certain kind of grandeur to the soundtrack.
(length: approx. 12 minutes)

Finally...

Posted Image

The Road goes ever on is the perfect closing
featurette as it looks at the promotional aspects
of the film, particularly the premiers where cast
members were treated like royalty by their adoring
fans. There's some quick footage from Elijah's
home movies as the cast arrives at a French premiere.
Featured here are hordes of fans, grand speeches
of thanks and lots of flying confetti. Peter Jackson
talks about the film being more than just a job --
it was a breathtaking experience where friends came
together and created something really special.
(length: approx. 7 minutes)

DVD-ROM content basically takes you to
New Line's website that promises updated Lord
of the Rings
content.

Easter Eggs? Check out the reviews on
other websites. After spending hours on this
review I just did not have the strength to search.
I do know there are 2 eggs hidden somewhere in
this package.


What is not here?

With all the added material that is available
here it is utterly surprising to find a lack of
promotional materials. There are no trailers
nor TV spots nor poster stills. Forgiveable?
I suppose so.


Final Thoughts

Posted Image

Seriously folks, my head is spinning. I must
have spent 10 hours on this review between watching
the film itself and going through two discs of
supplemental material. By far, this is the most
extensive project I have ever worked on -- and it's
no wonder -- Lord Of The Rings is the most
elaborate cinematic epic ever, and the journey is
just beginning.

One might look at this 4-disc package as being
complete overkill for the average fan. Fortunately,
it isn't the average fan that this set is geared
towards. This is a visual encyclopedia that shows
every aspect of the film's journey from pre-production
to promotion.

Most of all, this set is the product of a huge
amount of care and dedication that started with
Peter Jackson and his team who provided this
wealth of supplemental material right on down to
New Line Cinema that has produced one of the most
beautiful transfers ever to be seen on DVD. It is
that reason that I let myself age a full day while
writing this review. Consider it a homage to the
magnificence of this set!


Release Date: November 12, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#9 of 463 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 16 2002 - 08:42 PM

A couple questions answered....

Quote:
If there was one thing disappointing about this review was that there's no picture of the packaging!! Where are all the fold-outs and everything? I'm really interested to see how this is packaged, and though Ron never promised images, it's almost a given that he'll take shots of the sets with any type of elaborate packaging.

New Line did not send out complete sets to at
least this reviewer. I received test discs.
Therefor, I could not take pictures of the final
packaging.

I can't compare this to the original DVD release
because I never bought it, anticipating this release.

Why no HIGHLY RECOMMENDED? Easy question to answer.
I could not fit the words in the subject line.
However, if you looked at the ANNOUNCEMENT box, you
would have seen that those words were attached to
the link since the review was posted.

I also did not add an abundant amount of added
footage screenshots because some of you indicated
that you wanted the viewing to be a fresh experience.
No need to spoil the whole film. Trust me, the shots
above are some of the most important additions.

Now...

You guys must not have been looking carefully
enough cause there are a few minor mistakes in the
review that I have corrected this morning. Steve
Simon got an email to me this morning and pointed
out a few errors -- all having to do with location
names (Mordor should have been Mines of Mordor).

As I stated, so much of this was done from memory
as more than a few months have gone by since I last
saw the film.

In any event, I really appreciate the warm feedback.
It makes the time I spent on this review well worth
it.



Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#10 of 463 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 17 2002 - 08:12 AM

Guys,

So very much appreciate ther updates.

I am taking this as constructive help.

I have stressed that it had been months since
I saw the original film.

I can't compare this DVD to the original DVD
release because I never bought it. I can tell you
that the sound does run very hot here. I have also
been told by people in the industry that the first
DVD was recorded waaay to hot.

I will work on making some oft he corrections,
but first and foremost, will make a note that this
is not a Director's cut but Extended Edition.

Thanks for all your help and warm words.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#11 of 463 Sean Bryan

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Posted October 16 2002 - 04:26 PM

Ron, isn't the picture of the box art you posted the old box art? The one here shows the older design with "The Lord of the Rings" in large print and "The Fellowship of the Ring" in small print. The new design reverses this and emphasizes "The Fellowship of the Ring" as the proper title of the film.

A few of the extra scenes you described sound like scenes that were in the original cut (Frodo remembering Gandalf's words at the end, for example), unless they are changed/extended. You did say you were going just from memory, so that's understandable.

About the title of this thread: While in my mind I consider this a director's cut (and I'm sure it will be remembered as the definitive version of this film), Peter Jackson has stated that he wouldn't call this a "director's cut". I know it's just a technicality, for whatever that's worth.

And why not "highly recommended"?

Thanks for the review!
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#12 of 463 Sean Bryan

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Posted October 17 2002 - 12:08 PM

Ron,

I have a question about the music at the very end of the film. On the soundtrack, the track with the music at the end as Frodo and Sam make their way toward Mordor flows into a beautiful song by a boys' choir called "In Dreams". The Enya song "May it Be" (also beautiful) is a separate track on the soundtrack.

It seems to me (and I could be wrong) that the music was originally composed at the end to flow right into the "In Dreams" (boys' choir) song followed by Enya's "May it Be". But the final version of the film puts "May it Be" first followed by "In Dreams". I've often wondered if Peter Jackson had reasons for doing this for the theatrical release that wouldn't necessarily apply to an extended home video version, and perhaps he would move "In Dreams" back to being the song that flows into the credits, followed by "May it Be" (as on the sound track).

Can you (or anyone else out there who has seen the extended edition) comment on this?

Thanks.
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#13 of 463 Travis Hedger

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Posted October 16 2002 - 03:02 PM

I now know what to get the wife for Christmas! Posted Image
HD DVD? Check! Blu Ray? Check! High Definition Satelite? Check! HD Gaming systems? Check! 100% High Definition across the board!
http://mrbiggles.blogspot.com

#14 of 463 Tim Glover

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Posted October 16 2002 - 03:41 PM

Just for comparison, the Pearl Harbor Vista Series 4 disc dvd set did include the stuff from the original 2 disc release...at least the trailers, music video and other docs if memory serves correct.

Ron stated then PH:Vista could be the dvd of the year and it's great...but this set certainly looks every bit as detailed...maybe more. And, FOTR is a better movie. This Summer and Fall has given us some great dvd's with superb transfer quality and extras like Pearl Harbor Vista, Monster, Inc., AOTC, and FOTR-Ex!

Can't wait!

#15 of 463 Tim Glover

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Posted October 17 2002 - 01:28 PM

Hey Brian,
I believe Ron's use of "too hot" probably implies it was mastered to the dvd too loud. I've heard this term used for speakers who tend to be more forward sounding as well. Certainly the 2 disc version was waaaaaay too loud. Not much in the way of a balanced mix so it sounds like the extended version has a more natural...while still shaking the couch...mix!

#16 of 463 Dave Scarpa

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Posted October 16 2002 - 02:51 PM

Nice Review Ron, thanks. I can't believe I'm getting this for $16.24 Shipped from Best Buy, thanks to a $10 Digital Coupon ! This has become my most prized Disc and my greatest Deal !
My DVD Collection

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#17 of 463 cafink

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Posted October 16 2002 - 04:28 PM

"Director's Cut"??

Who cut the version that was released in theaters?
 

 


#18 of 463 Jerome Grate

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Posted October 17 2002 - 12:44 AM

Well.., anyone want to buy LOTR, to help finance my copy of FOTR. I should have waited, I should have waited.:b
Listen Up People.., Rack Em and Pack Em.., We're Phantoms in 15.

#19 of 463 Tom Oh

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Posted October 16 2002 - 06:43 PM

Truly a labor of love. YOU really love DVDs and this ForumPosted Image

#20 of 463 Thomas J.

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Posted October 16 2002 - 10:40 AM

WOW!!!Posted Image





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