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Customer Review

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't listen to the haters - This is the release you've been waiting for!, June 29, 2011
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This review is from: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring / The Two Towers / The Return of the King Extended Editions) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 29, 2011 1:56:43 PM PDT
By the way, just in case anyone wants to know, here is my setup.

Display: Sony KDL-52EX700, calibrated with DVE
Player: Panasonic DMP-BD65K
Audio: Sony STR-K670P receiver (5.1 channel DD/DTS)
All connected with monoprice's home-brand HDMI cables.

Posted on Jun 29, 2011 2:35:21 PM PDT
Your perception of LOTR is pretty close to mine.
Just wanted to point out that there has been a change in the color time so it really isn't fair to say that those who aren't pleased with that change have poor vision or badly calibtated equipment.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 2:43:30 PM PDT
The color timing has been changed. I don't think anyone is disputing this. NL/WHV have confirmed as much. But they have also said it was done with the approval of the director.

What I am disputing is that it is somehow drastic or ruins the movie-watching experience. Honestly, if I hadn't read about it prior to spinning these discs yesterday and today, I truly would not have noticed. But having looked for it, I would say that the changes, which are quite subtle, actually improve the image! Faces no longer glow with unnatural hotness in the Shire and Rivendell scenes. But sky shots and snows still look natural.

People shouldn't put too much stock in screen caps and youtube videos. They should watch the discs themselves on properly set up equipment. If they do, I wager most would agree with me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 3:18:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2011 3:19:25 PM PDT
Hey, I agree that it improves the image, that it was approved by P. Jackson and one should not be relying on screenshots and youtube videos. I've posted as much down in the Green Tint discussion.
But some people with very good vision and well-calibrated equipment still don't like the new look. I just think their perceptions should be respected, even if I don't agree with them.

Posted on Jun 29, 2011 8:42:12 PM PDT
Amen to this review and comments. Colors are balanced properly for each and every scene. Looking at the superb quality of the flesh tones confirms this.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 10:09:01 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:20:08 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2011 12:55:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 30, 2011 1:23:15 AM PDT
I'm sorry that you didn't take this review in the spirit in which it was intended. I can only call them like I see them, and I didn't want to let what I view as baseless complaints go unanswered.

I think people should decide on these "issues" (or non issues, as the case may be) for themselves. You can take my review or leave it, it makes no difference to me.

I do find it rather odd that you write "express any opinion you want," and then proceed to bash me for having an opinion you dislike.

Posted on Jun 30, 2011 10:40:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 30, 2011 10:41:12 AM PDT
Wild4Vanilla says:
I'm only through disc 1 of FOTR but my perception of the video qualities of this release are similar to yours. In short, WOW!

Of course I've been looking for the infamous green shift but it simply isn't there on my professionally calibrated display (details below). Was the color regraded for these discs? Absolutely, and in ways I WOULD have noticed whether prompted or not. But I see no clumsy green shift. In every scene I've viewed (so far) the changes were well judged and make for a more realistic presentation.

For example, in many scenes reds have been taken down a notch and that's a big improvement. Face tones in brightly lit scenes were a bit hot and blotchy on previous releases. Now they're balanced and natural looking. Bilbo's waistcoat in the opening Shire scenes used to be oversaturated. At times it almost looked like he was wearing a neon sign. On this release it looks like real silk (which I suspect it was) and beautifully damasked silk at that.

They also expanded the grey scale to daring levels. If your gamma is set accurately then this release is as good as any BD I've seen. If your gamma is compromised then you will have problems. I saw one review with screen caps where the dark scenes inside the Prancing Pony and in the Second Breakfast scene looked crushed. Well, something was amiss with that reviewer's setup because on mine these scenes have profoundly dark blacks yet the detail goes down as low as one can imagine, certainly lower than in those crushed screen caps. I could literally count the hairs on that black cat sitting on the shelf in the Pony. I could see Strider's face in the corner even with his hood up. I can see folds in the darkest fabrics in the Second Breakfast scene. FOTR is a dark film but there's detail in even the darkest scenes IF your system can display it.

The scene where the 4 hobbits hide from the black rider beneath the tree roots is now so lifelike it looks 3D. My partner, who isn't into LOTR like I am, actually exclaimed "WOW!" when that scene appeared. It's that stunning, and just one of many improvements. I'm waiting for the snow scene on Disc 2 before making a personal "final" judgement on the infamous green shift, but from what I've seen so far I believe that may be an artifact of mis-calibrated or less capable players and/or displays.

TV: Panasonic TC-P46ST30, 46" plasma
Player: Marantz UD-9004
Both professionally calibrated by D-Nice of HiDefJunkies.com, one of the most highly regarded ISF'ers in the US

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2011 6:15:33 PM PDT
I think you're right on, Doug. I think a lot of complaints are coming from people who run their displays on overly cool settings and with black crushing "enhancements" turned on.

If you're running close to D6500 and with a good gamma, you'll see really even, natural colors and butt-loads of detail near black, especially in FOTR. I was really wowed by the amount of detail in the dark scenes.
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