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on November 24, 2011
This is NOT the review of the movies. I am solely reviewing the facts that what EXTRA you get in this set than the previous editions. I will start with very basic facts for those who are baffled by so many editions being out there.
The basic facts-
LOTR series has basically two types of movies- a) Theatrical and b) Extended, each edition are available in both-DVD and Blu ray format.
Extended versions of the movies have humongous amount of extra film footage added to the theatrical editions (approx. 30, 40 and 50 additional minutes for movie 1, 2 and 3 respectively). So, go for the extended editions only if you are a die hard fan of the movies. If you are not, the review ends here. Buy whichever movie you like in your preferred format and enjoy. Thanks.

Let's get straight to-the-point. Now, many of you may as well own the DVD versions of LOTR (Either Theatrical or Extended ot both), and if you are trying to make a decision whether to spend more money on this blu ray extended, here is the comparison-

Extended DVD set-
For each movie they have 4 discs (2 movie discs and 2 extra features); So total 12 discs. Sound is DTS ES 6.1, which is significantly better than regular dolby digital. This set is probably the most gorgeous I have ever seen for any DVD. Colorful and feature packed, it stands out in your entire collection.

Extended Blu ray set-
For each movie they have 5 discs (2 movie blu ray discs, 2 extra feature DVDs and 1 behind the scene DVD). So, total 15 discs. Audio is spine chilling DTS HD 6.1 and it has the all the betterments of blu ray (HD pic, HD sound, BD live). Also, blu ray set includes the Digital copy of the Extended Versions of all three movies (Standard definition, not HD). The set itself is a delight, with a sturdy golden cardboard package that is durable and beautiful. The remastering of these movies have been handled excellently and with respect to both picture and sound, this one is SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER THAN THE DVD.

The GOOD (Blu ray set over DVD set):
1. Video and Audio significantly improved. Excellent blu ray transfer. I have not noticed any 'darker' colors as mentioned by some other viewers.
2. Blu ray set has THREE EXTRA DVDs (Behind the Scene for each movie) apart from the 2 extra feature DVDs.
3. Blu ray set has Digital copies of Extended versions of all three movies.
4. They did not waste a DVD for digital copy. You download them straight from the server.
5. Digital copies are great downloads and super easy. Together, it's almost 10 GB download, which was overwhelming for me.

1. Extra feature DVDs (2 for each movie) are the SAME as those of DVD editions. In fact, the DVDs are identical when I do head-to-head comparison. These DVDs are pulled straight from the older DVD editions, nothing new added there.
2. The overall appearence of the set is not as beautiful as the DVD sets. This one is excellently packed though, lacks the colours of the DVD set.
3. Extra feature discs are DVDs and not Blu rays.

If you own the extended DVD set, then buy this only if you want to have a great improvement in pictutre and sound quality. The only extra features you get is 'behind the scenes' DVDs. All other extra feature DVDs (total 6 of them) will be a duplication of what you already own in Extended DVD set. Actually, I noticed that all the extra feature DVDs here are from the various older DVD editions. The two DVDs are from the Extended DVD set, and the one 'behind the scene' is probably pulled from the limited editions of LOTR (the double sided DVDs that New Line Cinema released sometimes back).
However, if you do not own the DVD versions, then this is a must buy as this includes almost everything that you can think of (HD movies, extra features, behind the scenes, plus digital copies).

UPDATE: Also check the images I uploaded which may help make the comparison.
UPDATE 2: Thanks for all those who marked this review as helpful. As you are interested in LOTR, I guess at some point you'll consider purchasing "Hobbit" as well. I have recently written reviews for those, hope you find them useful too. Comments are welcome!
Thanks again!
review image review image review image review image review image review image review image
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Q - Is it worth it, especially if I already have the DVD edition?
A - To me it is because I like to watch movies at home on the biggest possible screen at the highest possible resolution. I still have the DVD editions - which I'm keeping because I like the artwork - and the quality gain on the Blu is significant.

Q - Could this edition be viewed as 'the gold standard'?
A - Yes. It has the extended cuts at the highest resolution with the best sound and the most extensive collection of special features.

Q - How many Blu-ray discs are in the box?
A - There are SIX Blu-ray discs. The additional 9 'extras' or 'bonus' discs are DVDs.

Q - Are the movies delivered on one disc each?
A - No. See above. Like the DVD extended edition, the movies are delivered on 2 discs each.

Q - Why aren't the movies delivered on one Blu-ray disc each?
A - Most Blu-ray players can only read single layer (25GB) and dual layer discs (50GB). Each of the Extended Edition movies require more than 50GB. Compressing them to 'under 50GB' would have degraded the quality of the picture and sound track.

Q - Is the audio superior to the DVD editions?
A - Yes, the movies sound track is DTS-HD 6.1 MA.

Q - Are there alternate soundtracks?
A - Yes. Each movie disc includes 4 additional commentary sound tracks: Director & Writers, the Design Team, the Production and Post Production Teams and Cast commentaries.

Q - Is BD-Live supported?
A - Yes, on the movie discs.

Q - Is the BD-Live content specific to LOTR?
A - No. It contains WB promotional material.

Q - Will the Extended Blu-ray edition allow us to play the Theatrical cut?
A - No.

Q - Is the Extended Blu-ray cut be in any way different from the Extended DVD cut?
A - No.

Q - Are the bonus discs in the Extended Blu-ray edition in any way different from the bonus discs found in the Extended DVD edition?
A - Yes. There is an additional 'Special Features' disc for each movie holding the Costa Botes documentaries from the Original Theatrical & Extended Limited Editions.

Q - Are the commentaries different from the Extended DVD Edition?
A - No.

Q - Are there subtitles?
A - Yes, subtitles are available in: English (for the hearing impaired), Spanish and Portuguese.

Q - What spoken languages are available?
A - English and Portuguese.

Q - Are the Digital Copies on disc?
A - No. The Extended Blu-ray Edition has access codes for downloadable Digital Copies.

Q - What are the Digital Copies for?
A - iTunes or Windows Media.

Q - Will the Digital Copies be available to download forever?
A - No. The Digital Copy offers expire on June 26, 2012.

Q - What is the resolution of the Digital Copy?
A - For iTunes, it's 853x352 (less than DVD).

Q - Will there be separate Extended Blu-ray editions for each of the three movies?
A - Yes.

Q - Why get the Extended Edition instead of the Theatrical Edition?
A - The Extended Edition adds about 2 hours to the Theatrical cut.
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on October 26, 2004
I already reviewed the regular "Motion Picture Trilogy" containing the non-extended editions of the legendary Lord of The Rings masterpieces on one set. However, this newest edition is a grand improvement on the previous edition. This item is a much, MUCH better investment than the old theatrical counterparts and is perhaps the greatest DVD purchase one will likely ever make.

A lot "Director's Cut" scenes are usually just added footage that doesn't do a whole lot to add onto the theatrical edition of movies with examples like Star Wars, Manhunter, or even most of the "Aliens" movies as well. The extra material is just that, extras, that wouldn't kill me to never see again.

It's a totally different story altogether with the "Lord Of The Rings" movies altogether. While the regular theatrical editions were mind-blowing, the extended cuts of the same films do wonders in fleshing out the story and expanding the characters a lot more. Several characters that were not much more than background people are shown much more screen time, stories are greatly expanded, other scenes are much more meaningful, and the movies overall have a totally different feel altogether thanks to all of the extra footage that was not included on the theatrical editions. Now as I watch them, the old editions of them are rendered almost completely obsolete due to the chopped up nature of them. I sometimes wonder if Peter Jackson grimaced when he had to leave a lot of extra shots out of the movies to fit them onto the theatres when they were released.

"Fellowship" has 30 minutes of extra footage included to a length of 3 and a half hours. "The Two Towers" was extended 43 minutes to a total of 3 hours and 42 minutes and finally "The Return of The King" is extended by a grand 50 minutes and the ultimate result is a whopping 4 hours and 11 minutes long! I don't know about you but I don't know how one can make a longer movie like this but Jackson did it! The grand total of all three extended editions is at least an astronomical 11 hours long! This is just the movies themselves.

As for all of the extras on the "Extended Editions", there are over a days worth of extras for surf through on the latter two discs of each film set. The things on them are too great to explain in detail with this review.

Whether you buy them individually or all at once on this massive gift set, "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy goes down as the greatest trilogy of all time. You could not make a better purchase. I swear it!
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on August 17, 2009
Some confusion among other reviewers that somehow we're obligated to post a five star recommendation for the movie. This is an incorrect understanding of the review process. If I were reviewing the movie itself it would get a five. This review is for the product, as listed--in other words, I DO NOT RECOMMEND BUYING THIS PRODUCT/DVD. This product is being created FOR NO OTHER REASON than to dupe people into buying this movie twice...again. Those of us who were huge fans bought the original DVDs of the theatrical releases. THEN the studio FINALLY released the extended editions, even though they could have released both at the same time. Now that Blu Ray has won the High Def battle, the studios are salivating at screwing us all again the same way!

Please do not let them get away with pretending that Blu Ray can't hold both versions on one disc--it certainly can! A simple menu option would let you watch the Extended Edition when you have time, or Theatrical Edition when you don't.

Their other argument, that "Peter Jackson is busy working on The Hobbit and will work on Extended Editions later" is 100% total BS. He's ALREADY DONE THE WORK--just copy what he did for the regular DVDs onto a new Blu Ray master!

BOTTOM-LINE: The studios will make whatever argument they think will fly to convince us they can't put both versions on one disc, because they want to double their income on this movie. Which has ALREADY MADE THEM A BILLION DOLLARS. Don't play along--let friends know not to buy ANY LOTR Blu Ray that doesn't have BOTH versions on one disc.

Please do not let them get away with holding the extended edition hostage until everyone buys the theatrical versions. If you agree with my review, you can do your part to exert influence on the studio by doing the following:
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on October 27, 2004
For all of you who think owning the theatrical editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is good enough, think again. These editions are not like any other director's cuts or special editions of films that we've seen in the past. Usually, when a film has a special edition, we don't get a whole lot more added in, and it's stuff that doesn't really add anything significant to the story.

But with these editions, just the opposite is true. The extended editions of the first two Lord of the Rings films proved to enhance the plot and characters so much more than anyone ever anticipated. Characters and their journeys become so much clearer and more interesting. The story makes so much more sense. And the whole thing has been re-edited with new music for new scenes and extended musical scores for extended scenes! It's absolutely seamless! Everything that's added in really makes me wonder how I could've enjoyed the films in their original theatrical release. These extended editions make THAT MUCH of a difference. And I have no doubt that The Return of the King extended edition will prove just the same, based on previews I've seen and what's been proven with the extended editions of the first two films.

The Fellowship of the Ring has 30 minutes added in. The Two Towers has 42 minutes added in. The Return of the King has 50 minues added in. Can it get any better? Well, of course! With each movie, you get two discs of bonus features! And these are not features that are boring to watch. You really get a first hand look at the journey that many, many talented people took when making this trilogy. Everything from adaption of the books, to special effects, to the music, to the editing process, to stories that happened on set, etc. The bonus features make a whole story in and of themselves!

For some of you, you may be thinking that 3 hours was long enough for these films. I guarantee you that it was not. When you watch these extended editions, you'll seriously re-evaluate your standards for how long these films should be. And besides, it's not like your sitting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours on your butt in the theater with no break. This is DVD. It's a different medium that allows you to pause it, take a break, cook dinner, or do whatever else you want to do and then come back later to finish it. They won't seem as long, especially when you actually see how great the footage is that they added back in. Simply breath taking.

Of course I didn't wait for this box set to come out to own "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers" extended editions. The theatrical versions of those two films alone WERE plenty good to motivate me to buy their corresponding extended edition DVD sets. But I'll probably buy this set anyway and sell the extended editions of the first two that I bought, just so that I can have the trilogy in this nice collectors box.
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on July 1, 2011
There are other reviews, official and user, that scream about the amazing video and audio, special features, and how basically, you can get rid of your extended dvd copies of the films (and theatrical releases, if you have those, I guess. Why would you even have those?). I'm just here to address the concerns over the supposed flawed color correction in Fellowship.

First of all, I viewed the the films (DVD and Blu-Ray) on an LCD television, calibrated a few years ago using what is considered its ideal settings, taken from AVSForums. Nothing special beyond that, and those settings haven't changed since I first bought the television. I viewed Fellowship in its entirety on Blu-Ray, and then specific scenes that were known to be altered, between the DVD and Blu-Ray.

When watching Fellowship as a whole picture, and looking for anything odd in the picture, I must admit I noticed nothing. During the initial Hobbiton scenes, I noticed no green sky, no cyan grass, nothing like what was shown in the side-by-side comparison video that popped up not too long ago. Any changes that were made to the picture worked well enough that when viewed in context with the scenes before and after, worked perfectly. Even when trying to find anything that looked out of place, I was unable to do so (and keep in mind that having viewed the DVD of Fellowship many times, I had an idea in my head of how the film should have looked).

By the time I got to the infamous shot of the ring in the snow, and that entire scene, I had completely forgotten that I was supposed to be looking for color correction, and everything looked fine; nothing stood out to me. When I finally remembered that I was looking for color correction, I rewound to the beginning of that scene (The Ring goes south), and again watched for the color change. At this point, I did notice a difference, but there was no green sky, no green snow. If anything, there was a slight bluish sheen to the shot, but the snow was still white, and as with the Hobbiton scenes, the color grading fit so well in context to the shots before and after, that it fit perfectly in the scene, especially considering the emotional impact the scene was supposed to convey.

When comparing those specific scenes (and a few others) to the DVD version, there is a noticeable difference in the color. However, this is not a bad thing. As I understand it, Jackson and Lesnie changed the color grading in those scenes to make them fit better into the film as a whole, and this is accomplished. In fact, when watching The Ring goes south scene on the DVD after watching the Blu-Ray, the old color scheme created such a tonal shift for me that it made me squirm. The realism of the snow shots took me out of the fantastic world they were trying to create.

So, are the changes made noticeable? Only if you're doing a straight comparison of different versions of the film, which is pointless. Watching the scenes in context, not only are the color changes not really noticeable, they actually fit better than the original versions, just as Jackson and Lesnie intended. Those people who are complaining and saying that the color changes are horrible, or stick out like a sore thumb, are either EXTREMELY nitpicky, sore at having to buy another version of the films and complaining about anything except complete unaltered perfection (which come on, why would you have ever bought anything beyond the extended DVD's almost a decade ago?), or, having heard about the color changes, are looking for something that's not really there.

This version of the films are the definitive, comprehensive version, and can't get any better in terms of video, audio, or special features. Get rid of your previous versions, and enjoy. What we've been waiting for has finally arrived, and is as good as we've hoped.
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VINE VOICEon March 19, 2004
These are the theatrical release films, not the superior extended versions which are preferrable due to their better coverage of the books and better overall flow.
Hopefully the extended version of the third will also be a big improvement, much needed as important parts of the story are absent in the theatrical relase of Return of the King. Unfortunately Peter Jackson added a Hollywood passionate love story to the film that was contrary to the more virtuous actions of the characters in the book. By twisting the story around, the film substituted feelings and passion for Tolkien's characters' charity, honor, and duty.
The extended "Fellowship of the Ring" is one of the best movies ever made. Hopefully the extended "Return of the King" will live up to that standard by flowing more smoothly and reflecting Tolkien a little better.
In short, save your money and time for the better trilogy, or if you haven't seen the first 2, buy the separate extended versions and wait for the third.
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VINE VOICEon June 29, 2011
Quick thoughts on popular complaints:

Re: double dipping/money-grubbing.... To anyone who bought the Theatrical Edition Blu-Ray set... my sympathies. But then, why in the heck did you spend the money in the first place? It was obvious to any rational person that the EE would eventually see the light of day. It happened with the DVD release, and it was confirmed for the BD release mere weeks after the theatrical set was announced. How impatient does a person have to be to buy an inferior release and then complain about a superior one down the road?

Re: Seamless branching .... I just don't think there was a way to put both theatrical and EE movies, with all commentaries, on one disc and then seamlessly branch them, a la "Close Encounters." The movies are too long, for one thing, and the EE flicks were completely re-edited, with new music, extended scenes, and so on. If you really want a seamlessly-branched set, get the "limited edition" DVD. Frankly, the EE is superior in every way, and I do not feel the need to watch the inferior, truncated versions.

Re: being split over 2 discs - the films have been encoded as files roughly 60-70gb in size. Each movie pushes FOUR HOURS and has a DTS-HD soundtrack. To leave room for the movies, as well as the 4 audio commentaries apiece, they were split onto to two 50gb BDs. And YES, they are 50gb DUAL LAYER discs. Actually LOOK at the center of the discs before you write yet another stupid review claiming that they're on single layer 25gb discs. Anyway, LIVE WITH IT. It has resulted in wonderful video quality. Cramming them films onto one disc would have resulted in a substandard A/V presentation. If you don't care about video quality, buy either a cruddy bootleg or the Theatrical Edition. Complaining about this is like complaining that vinyl LP's have 2 sides.

Re: the "color timing issue" .... Wow. If ever there was a mountain made out of a molehill, it is this. FOTR is NOT "green." It does not have an undue green tint. The snow is not green. The faces are not green. The sky is not green. I've watched the whole thing through very carefully, and there is no point at which I felt the color balancing was off. Flesh tones are realistic. Whites are white. The color looks very similar to the EE DVD set - better, if you ask me, because that release ran a little hot in the reds. I kind of wonder if the people who are complaining have poorly calibrated equipment, or bad eyesight. If your display is calibrated anywhere close to a 6500k color temperature (usually the "warmest" color setting in your user menu), and your gamma is set well, you will find nothing to complain about here. Folks, I am a PICKY viewer. I have 20/20 vision. I calibrate my displays with discs like DVE and Avia, to get them as close as possible to "accurate" color. I CARE about these sorts of issues. And I can say, unequivocally, that the color on these discs, including FOTR, is absolutely fine. It looks perfectly natural and pleasing.

On all of these issues, you should *decide for yourself!* Don't be swayed by serial complainers and people with bad televisions. At least rent the discs before you decide to boycott them for life!

OK, with that all out of the way, here goes the real review.

The movies, of course, are one of the finest achievements in fantasy storytelling, well, basically ever. The writing is true to the books (with a few exceptions made for brevity), if a little self-important and overly portentous. The acting is uniformly excellent, with all players taking the material seriously. The production values still haven't been topped - the locations are spectacular, and the CGI hasn't been beaten as far as integrating it with real live action shots. The music is great, too.

This Blu-Ray set presents the three Extended Edition movies on two discs apiece. All of the extras from the DVD sets are reprised here, including the "Costa Botes" documentaries from the later "limited edition" release. It is a disappointment that the extras, none of which are in HD, were not simply dropped onto one 50gb Blu-Ray disc per movie. No sacrifice in quality would have been made, and convenience would be increased significantly. But it's a minor quibble - at least New Line and WHV didn't also include a disc (or two!) for the "Digital Editions" of the movies.

The video presentations on these Blu-Rays are reference quality. Pure and simple. Detail is extremely strong throughout all three films. Hair, facial wrinkles and pores, cloth textures, and foliage all pop off the screen with true "high definition" detail. These releases are WAY better than the Theatrical Blu-Rays in this respect (especially FOTR). Comparing screen shots from one to the other is almost like comparing DVD to BD. It's really night and day. Also particularly impressive are the depth of black and shadow detail. These are dark movies, folks - and if you have your display's brightness and gamma set well, you will be rewarded with an absolute ton of detail near black.

Audio is presented in DTS-HD 6.1 "master audio" tracks. Dialogue is crisp and clear, positional audio is strong, the low channels get an aggressive workout pretty much non stop.

The packaging is nice, too. A sturdy gold-colored slipcase with a magnetic door-flap holds the BD cases, each of which is a 5-disc plastic leaf case similar to the Blade Runner "Ultimate Edition."

In conclusion:

If you've been waiting to buy these on Blu-Ray, wait no longer. I don't see how the video or the audio could be improved. The griping on internet forums about color timing is fictitious drivel. You will sacrifice no extra features in swapping these in for your EE DVDs. The movies themselves are of course timeless classics.

For this price, it is simply a must-buy for any fan of the films, and any fan of high quality HD movies for their home theater setup.
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on April 23, 2009
If you have the LOTR DVDs(either extended or the shorter theatrical version) you will be disappointed with this release!! Wait for the extended blu ray version. Don't waste your money unless you have excess money to waste.
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on April 17, 2009

THEY WILL be coming out with the extended edition blue-ray. It looks like they are doing the exact same thing as with the DVD, they released the original theatrical versions on DVD, which I bought ALL 3 of, ended up buying the full extended edition box set and giving the 3 theatricals to my sister... HAHA Peter Jackson, no such luck this time. The link above is the link to the Sign-up for the notification of the Extended Edition release. Im assuming it will just take an extra couple months waiting... but hey its worth it. You all know you want to watch all 12 or whatever hours of LOTR in high def, lol... on second thought. ha just kidding but seriously dont waste your money, go to this link and sign up for the notification. Oh and no thanks necessary, I know I rock!

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