The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition



Either way The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition is a trilogy that will forever be at the top of every top ten list in film history





The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition

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The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition




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For three years now the end of the year has brought an extended edition of one of the Rings trilogy. Now, with a bittersweet mix of emotions, the tale is told, all the editions have been placed on DVD and the Shire is at last at peace.

As with the previous installments of the trilogy New Line was always up front with us, the faithful purchasers of their wares, that this edition was coming and when it would be released. Other studios pile on Special editions, Collector’s editions and every variation their marketing department can muster. New Line had a simpler plan, the theatrical release in the spring followed by the extended cut in late fall. Now, for many of us, that sixth, empty spot on our racks of DVDs has been filled.

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition has some similarities to the first two but with a fifth disc goes above and beyond, giving the die hard fan more than we could have hoped for or even imagined. The first two discs contain the film, split to permit the four commentary tracks and both Dolby EX and DTS ES audio tracks. The 2.35:1 anamorphic video is flawless, absolutely flawless. This is the new bar for other studios to reach out for. You can use The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition to show off your home theater to your friends and neighbors. The many CGI scenes, and there are about 300 more in this release, are incorporated seamlessly into the live action shots. Even the most discerning eye will be hard press to tell where the computer left off and the actors took over. Considering the intensity of the action you will not care, just sit back and immerse yourself in the endgame of this vast, legendary tale.

With almost 50 minutes of extra material The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition not only began in the theater as the longest of the set but now is epic in length. While most scenes add nicely to the experience some do tend to alter the pacing significantly. Some scenes, particularly those whose exposition tend to prematurely reveal a key moment, might have reconsidered by Peter Jackson. For the most part his trend of giving favorite moments from the novels even though they are not strictly necessary for the film format works. There is an emotional satisfaction for long time Hobbitphiles that helps us remember the joy of our first readings of these classics. This will hopefully result in many younger viewers get into the books. My daughter did not understand the phrase ‘Froddo Lives’ in my first review, now she is tearing through the books, a new generation introduced to this literary staple.

Many of the scenes extensions are in the battles. More CGI gore abounds as we the audience gets to witness the carnage of warfare. Among the extensions are the Rohirrim arriving at the fields of Pelennor. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition improves considerably on the intensity of the theatrical cut. Your heart will be in your throat as the gallant horsemen charge into battle. With a respectful nod to the fans there is a lot more exposition contained in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition. For example, there is the final showdown between the newly resurrected Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and his former friend and fellow wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee). For the more emotional demanding there is a tender scene in the House of Healing between Faramir (David Wenham) and Eowyn (Miranda Otto) after his father attempted to emolliate this dedicated son. There is more with the hobbits, Pippin being fitted with Faramir’s boyhood armor, a tense scene where the Witch King almost gets the best of Gandalf and even a drinking game of celebration between Gimli and Legolas. Of course there is a bit more of what transpired between Froddo, Sam and the nefarious Gollum. We get to see more of just how Gollum was able to affect the ring weakened Froddo casting doubts on his true friend Sam. In all The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition flesh out the story and the over all perspective will not be that of sitting through such a long film, the time you spend watching will fly by.

In keeping with the standard set by the first two extended editions The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition has extras galore. First the four commentary tracks, over forty cast and crew members reminisce about the arduous but loving task of bringing The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition to the screen. The commentaries run from highly technical to a group of friends discussing their experiences. The later where my personal favorites, they had the feel of veterans reuniting over a few drinks to talk about their shared experiences. One really novel commentary is the contribution of Andy Serkis who provides a conflicted commentary featuring the duel personality of Gollum and Smeagol. This man really gets into this schizophrenic role. After you watch The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition you can go back time and time again to enjoy the musing of this talented group of people, you’ll learn more about just how much work went into The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition and how close they became during the almost 18 month shoot.

The featurettes in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition do a lot more than just disclose the details of production; you get what amounts to a comprehensive compendium of Middle Earth. J.R.R. Tolkien: The Legacy of Middle-Earth shows just how rich a tapestry was created by this gentle Englishman. From Book to Script goes into the work required to discern the decisions necessary to bring the right scenes from the book to the screen. It would have been impossible to film it all and deciding what is necessary for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition was a project in itself. The set design was also a Herculean task. Every one of thousands of props and the smallest details of each set was hand crafted; nothing here was obtained off the shelf like most movies do. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition is a case where obsessive compulsive disorder is not a malady; it was part of the job description. For those computer geeks out there the amazing efforts of Weta Workshop are chronicled. Put aside a long weekend in a comfortable chair to fully enjoy the feast presented here. The fifth disc for those that get the collector’s edition has a 52 minute alternative score for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition.

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition is the only way a movie of this scope and importance could be presented and New Line hits one squarely out of the park. Put aside 11 hours 23 minutes for the whole extended trilogy or 9 hours 17 minutes for the theatrical cuts. Either way The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition is a trilogy that will forever be at the top of every top ten list in film history.

Movie Review of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com

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