LORD OF THE RINGS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION: DVD
In this first part of the trilogy, the shy young Hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) inherits a ring Ė a special ring, the One Ring, an instrument of great power. It would enable Sauron, the dark Lord of Mordor to rule Middle-earth and enslave its people. Itís up to Frodo, and a loyal Fellowship of Hobbits including a wizard, a dwarf and an elf, to return the ring to the Crack of Doom where it was forged, and there destroy it forever. But the journey is frought with great dangers and takes them through the territory held by the dark Lord, who is amassing his army of orcs, the fearsome stormtroopers. And Frodo Baggins also has to contend with the internal dissent that ferments as the corrupting influence of the ring spreads to his friends. But the stakes are high: the course of the future is entwined in the fate of the Fellowship.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Itís a giant of a movie, yet it doesnít overwhelm us; while it tackles eternal truths, it doesnít dismiss the smallest details Ė indeed, it revels in them, uses them as its building blocks with the same dynamic thrust that is applied to the extensive scenes of battle and jaw-dropping dramatic scenic sequences in settings that range from foreboding to lyrical. The original illustrator, Alan Lee, provided the inspirational fire for the design, and the final result was driven by Peter Jacksonís singular wish to make a film of Tolkienís work (over three films) which he Ė himself a big fan Ė would want to see and love.†
There is nothing in the history of film to compare with this project on DVD; imagine spending an extra million dollars to add an extra 30 minutes of specially written music for the extra 30 minutes of film in this extended edition, made just for the DVD. If this box set doesnít signal the most profound revolution in the way movies are made & consumed, nothing will.†
Everything about the marketing and packaging of this trilogy has been superb, and in keeping with the extraordinary efforts of the filmmakers to bring to the screen (both in cinemas and on your tv-delivered DVD) a spectacular film that is not just spectacle but intimate, substantial and of lasting value.
The four disc box maintains the high design values with a fold out package that is at once inviting and redolent of the mystique of an ancient, time-worn story. Well judged to be capable of carrying such immense extras, The Lord of The Rings extended edition DVD box set is a dazzling jewel in the New Line crown. But most notably, it is a collection of materials that satisfies over the long term. This is not a DVD set to be hurried through in a frenzy of viewing. It would satiate the palate and overload the senses.
The extended edition of the film should be the first stop, with no commentary or interruptions. Re-immerse yourself and explore the depth of the screen version as Peter Jackson envisioned it and shot it. This is a whole new extension on the concept of a directorís cut! The big difference is that this cut was always intended for DVD consumption.
Then, one by one, possibly days or weeks apart, return to the discs and choose your preferred commentary track. Only after those do the many documentaries take on their full resonance, as they cross reference the film and the comments from cast and crew over it.†
The only disappointment is Disc 5, the optional extra. Itís the more disappointing because itís branded with the revered National Geographic imprimatur. Itís billed as something extra, but itís nothing of the sort. At best, it may be useful for someone who has no time to see the film, no time to digest the background and no time to indulge the detail. Itís like an abridged version of the film and its background, but seems totally derivative if youíve seen any of the supporting materials.
Cynics may deride New Lineís merchandising efforts, and in so doing will overlook the critical element that the driving force behind the entire project is New Zealander Peter Jackson and his team. You should know that it is Jacksonís creative stamp that oversees the package. Sometimes, even modern Hollywood can do something right.
Published November 14, 2002
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CAST & CREW
LORD OF THE RINGS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION: DVD (M)
CAST: Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean
DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson
RUNNING TIME: 200 minutes (feature only)
PRESENTATION: 2.35:1, 16:9 enhanced; Dolby 2.0; DD EX 5.1;
English and Greek subtitles;
SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1 & 2 Ė four commentary versions, with over 30 cast and crew taking part, including director Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Andrew Lesnie, Howard Shore and many of the cast;
Disc 3 Ė From Book to Vision, comprising six documentaries; an interactive map of Middle-earth; galleries of art; storyboards;
Disc 4 Ė From Vision to Reality, comprising 11 original documentaries about the cast, cinematography, visual effects, post production, a day in the life of a hobbit and the release of the film; behind the scenes photo gallery.
Disc 5 Ė Bonus disc, Beyond The Movie (National Geographic), included in Box Set and also sold separately (srp $19.95)
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: November 14, 2002