The Lord of the Rings trilogy landed on Blu-Ray in a stellar package just last year, so one has to wonder: Do we need the new set that was released recently? For fans of the trilogy, that answer could not be more affirmative.
The sole reason is simple: The new Blu-Ray set features the extended cut versions available for the first time as individual films. The 2011 Blu-Ray box set was represented by the theatrical versions that forced fans to buy the entire series at once... and that can be pricey.
As soon as Return of the King left theaters, The Lord of the Rings universe heard rumblings of a “director’s cut” of the series that featured as much as 30 minutes of additional footage per film. Audiences did not see those until the DVD release, and for those who appreciate the hi-def format, both sight and sound is something to treasure with the extended cuts finally landing on Blu-Ray as single offerings.
For example, check out the crispness of the iconic "You shall not pass" scene.
Much of the reason cinephiles will notice a marked change in picture and sound quality is that this latest home video release for J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision was remastered from the original 2K digital files. And with the BD-Live technology available on most Blu-Rays these days, an ever updatable world is available to viewers online.
Each of the three films arrives in a five-disc package that also includes the theatrical version. Most of the bonus features have been seen before, and of course, not as clear as they are witnessed and heard on Blu-Ray. One bonus feature that particularly stands out for Movie Fanatic is the Disc 3 feature on The Fellowship of the Ring. Hearing the story of The Appendices Part 1 From Book to Vision gives a glimpse into the reasoning behind Jackson’s decision to make The Hobbit a trilogy utilizing that book’s appendices.
With The Fellowship of the Ring’s appendices used so spectacularly by Jackson with his first Middle Earth go-around, it seems to make perfect sense to make his Hobbit a three-film spectacle.