Nov 302020

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is still an incredible feet all these years later and even though I have watched it more than few times, it holds up exceptionally well (side for a couple CGI moments that look off) with a wonderful ensemble cast.



The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy

Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Action
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment | NR – 0 min. – $89.99 | December 1, 2020

Date Published: 11/30/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Writer(s): J.R.R. Tolkien (books); Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson (screenplay)
Cast: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Martin Csokas, Brad Dourif, Bernard Hill, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic Monaghan, John Noble, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Elijah Wood

Features: None
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K
Number of Discs: 9

Audio: English (Dolby Atmos)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.35
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.

THE MOVIE — 4¾/5

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) — 5.0/5

The future of civilization rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces are unrelenting in their search for it. But fate has placed it in the hands of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins (ELIJAH WOOD), who inherits the Ring and steps into legend. A daunting task lies ahead for Frodo when he becomes the Ringbearer – to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) — 4.75/5

Follows the continuing quest of Frodo (WOOD) and the Fellowship to destroy the One Ring. Frodo and Sam (SEAN ASTIN) discover they are being followed by the mysterious Gollum. Aragorn (VIGGO MORTENSEN), the Elf archer Legolas (ORLANDO BLOOM) and Gimli (JOHN RHYS-DAVIES) the Dwarf encounter the besieged Rohan kingdom, whose once great King Theoden (BERNARD HILL) has fallen under Saruman’s (CHRISTOPHER LEE) deadly spell.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) — 4.75/5

The film presents the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Hobbits Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the `one ring’, while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron’s evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith.

Quick Hit Review: There’s no question, what Peter Jackson and the crew accomplished was incredible and unlikely ever to matched, even if there’s a return to some sense of normalcy post-COVID Hollywood. Even though I’ve never read J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material – tried to years ago and never got far – The Lord of the Rings trilogy was incredible when I saw them in theaters, re-watched on DVD, watched again when the extended versions were released, again upon being released on Blu-ray and have since had repeat viewings every couple of years.

The ensemble cast all turn in great performances. The friendship between Frodo (Wood) and Samwise (Astin) is palpable (and yes, I know the gay jokes are still prominent), not to mention the wonderful report with Aragon (Mortensen), Legolas (Bloom) and Gimli (Rhys-Davies) is one of the highlights of the entire trilogy. And of course Ian McKellen as Gandalf is great as always, right from the first frame. Jackson assembled such an amazing cast in supporting roles with the likes of Sean Bean (who easily has the most gallivant death in the series), Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban and an especially remarkable performance from Andy Serkis as a motion-captured Gollum.

Taking away the immersive and wide-ranging story where you have groups of the ensemble off in other areas of Middle Earth, the technical aspects still hold up decades later. For sure, any shots of scale when seeing humans/elves/etc on screen together with the hobbits is a bit iffy (the shot of Bilbo getting on the boat in Return of the King still bugs me as it’s a little person wearing a bad wig), but other than that, the visual effects, courtesy in part by WETA, is incredible.



This 9-disc set (3 discs for the theatrical versions, 6 for the extended editions) and comes housed in a thick black HD keep case which side-slides into a study slip case. Inside is a single code for the Digital HD of all three films. No features were included, however there is a “Middle Earth” Collection set for release some time next year containing the previously released bonus features and a few new ones.



VIDEO – 4½/5

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy comes to 4K Ultra HD through Warner Bros. where it’s presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and displayed in 2160p high-definition resolution. The picture here, no big surprise, looks pretty good. Detail is relatively sharp throughout and colors have a good range from the lighter locales to the darker scenery during Frodo and Sam’s journey towards Mount Doom. All that said, I can’t say it’s a significant improvement over the Blu-ray, though it’s slightly sharper and thanks to the HDR, some elements are a tad more vibrant.

AUDIO – 5/5

Both the theatrical and extended versions come equipped with a Dolby Atmos track. Since the Blu-rays already came with discrete DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 tracks, the Atmos one is a bit heavier and more rounded though again not a huge difference, it doesn’t mean it still doesn’t sound wonderful. The home theater will get a workout during the many battle scenes with every stomp of beasts rumbling and shaking the floor and wall, however also shows some fine depth even for the quieter, more dialogue-driven scenes where you can discern ambient noises waving through the front and rear channels.



The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is still an incredible feet all these years later and even though I have watched it more than few times, it holds up exceptionally well (side for a couple CGI moments that look off) with a wonderful ensemble cast. As for its debut on the 4K Ultra HD format, I like the packaging and the video and audio transfers are well done, shame there were no features and will have to wait a year for the Middle Earth Collection to come out…

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