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The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Limited Extended Edition detailed, available for pre-order

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Limited Extended Edition detailed, available for pre-order

Bill Hunt over at The Digital Bits predicted it and I didn’t believe it but here it is, coming to pass – The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Limited Extended Edition is available for pre-order on Amazon.com! Not only has the popular e-tailer listed the set for pre-order but they’ve also been able to secure some details of the multi-disc set along with the package art.

As much light as this listing has shed on the set, a number of lingering questions remain. We know now that it will include all the content from the previously available Extended Edition releases, along with the apparently “rare” Costa Botes documentaries. It also appears that most of the supplemental material will be included on DVD – most likely the exact same discs you already own. What we don’t know for certain is exactly how many discs the set will contain, and what will be on the Blu-rays. Will the films be spread across two Blu-ray discs or crammed onto a single dual-layer disc? I, for one, pray that they will be on two discs, as 4-hour films with several soundtracks and commentaries will push the bit-rate limit beyond its capacity to retain a clean, artifact and noise-free image. Warner has had a tendency to stretch their discs a little thin of late (Kenneth Branagh‘s 4-hour long version of Hamlet and their TV-on-Blu releases are perfect examples) with either visual fidelity or lossless audio the casualties. And lord knows, after the debacle with the transfers on the Theatrical Edition Blu-ray set, Warner needs to deliver nothing but the highest quality image with the Extended Editions!

One final note – Amazon observes that this new Blu-ray box adds the MTV Movie Award Easter eggs: (The Council of Elrod spoof, Two Towers sneak peek, Gollum accepting award), previously unavailable on the Extended Edition DVDs.

We’ll keep you updated on this set as further details are unveiled.

UPDATE: Oops! I forgot to mention that Amazon doesn’t list a release date for the set but instead notes that ““The Lord of the Rings (Extended Editions)” is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray in 2011 or 2012.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Limited Extended Edition + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]


LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY (LIMITED EXTENDED EDITION)
(Date: TBA – MSRP $119.98)
Video: 2.39:1 1080p AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Special Features:

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Over 30 minutes of footage incorporated into the theatrical release of the film
  • Commentary by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens
  • Commentary by the design team
  • Commentary by the production/post-production team
  • Commentary by 10 actors, including Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen
  • Easter egg: MTV Movie Award Spoof (The Council of Elrod)
  • Costa Botes Documentary: The Fellowship of the Ring: Behind the Scenes

The Appendices, Part 1: From Book to Vision (on DVD)

  • Peter Jackson introduction
  • J.R.R. Tolkein: Creator of Middle Earth
  • From Book to Script
  • Visualizing the Story
  • Designing and Building Middle Earth
  • Middle Earth atlas interactive

The Appendices, Part 2: From Vision to Reality (on DVD)

  • Elijah Wood introduction
  • Filming The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Visual effects
  • Post-production: Putting it all together
  • Digital Grading
  • Sound and music
  • The Road Goes Ever On…

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  • Extended edition of the film, incorporating 43 minutes of footage incorporated into the film
  • Commentary track by writer-director Peter Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
  • Commentary track by the design team
  • Commentary track by the production/post-production team
  • Commentary track by 16 cast members, including Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Bernard Hill, and Miranda Otto
  • Easter Egg: MTV Movie Awards clip (Gollum accepting award)
  • Costas Botes documentary: The Two Towers–Behind the Scenes

The Appendices, Part 3: The Journey Continues

  • Peter Jackson introduction
  • J.R.R. Tolkein: Origin of Middle Earth
  • From Book to Script: Finding a Story
  • Designing and Building Middle-Earth
  • Gollum
  • Middle-Earth Atlas interactive
  • New Zealand as Middle Earth (map with video location)

The Appendices, Part 4: The Battle for Middle Earth

  • Elijah Wood introduction
  • Filming The Two Towers
  • Visual effects
  • Editorial: Refining the Story
  • Music and Sound
  • The Battle for Helm’s Deep is Over

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

  • Extended edition of the film, with 50 extra minutes incorporated into the film
  • Commentary track by writer-director Peter Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
  • Commentary track by the design team
  • Commentary track by the production/post-production team
  • Costas Botes documentary: The Return of the King: Behind the Scenes

The Appendices, Part 5: The War of the Ring

  • Peter Jackson Intro
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Legacy of Middle-earth
  • From Book to Script
  • Designing and Building Middle-earth
  • Home of the Horse Lords
  • Middle-earth Atlas: Tracing the Journeys of the Fellowship: interactive map
  • New Zealand as Middle-earth: interactive map with on-location footage

The Appendices, Part 6: The Passing of an Age

  • Elijah Wood/Sean Astin/Billy Boyd/Dominic Monaghan intro
  • Filming The Return of the King
  • Visual Effects
  • Post Production: Journey’s End
  • The Passing of an Age
  • Cameron Duncan

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Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions and more Kubrick on Blu-ray in 2011

Okay, I’m sorry, didn’t we just go through this nonsense twelve months ago? The theatrical editions of the Lord of the Rings films were released on Blu-ray to great controversy last year, partly due to transfers that didn’t seem to live up to most expectations and partly due to the exclusion of the much-lauded Extended Editions. And now, after the studio and director Peter Jackson himself assured us that the less-than-ideal Blu-ray releases already in our hands were only to tide us over until the mega-perfect Ultimate boxed set would be released many years down the road, along with the coming of The Hobbit, we now find out that Warner is on the verge of unleashing the longer cuts on Blu this year! Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits got the scoop:

    “We suspect that, now that The Hobbit films are finally about to begin filming, the studio is eager to get more product on store shelves to keep the franchise fresh in the minds of fans. The Extended Rings films on BD are the obvious choice for this year. Farther down the line, of course, there will be the obvious Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D versions of The Hobbit films, and sooner or later an “ultimate” box set of all the films with all new extras custom created by Jackson. Anyway, our sources tell us to expect some kind of official news on all this (re: Rings: Extended and Kubrick) from the studio in the next several weeks.”

That “Kubrick” news he mentions is regarding the upcoming European release of Lolita and Barry Lyndon on Blu-ray Disc on May 18th and what that might mean for us, over on the other side of the Atlantic:

    “…we’ve checked in with our industry sources on this again today, and they’ve confirmed that Warner Home Video IS going to be releasing Lolita and Barry Lyndon on Blu-ray this Spring (here in the States and elsewhere) as part of a larger Kubrick promotion.”

These are both very exciting rumours but I can’t but feel that the timing for another Rings release is way off. What do you think? Will you pick up the Extended Edition films on Blu this year, if they’re indeed released? Do you feel a bit burned by the potential of yet another double/triple-dip?

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Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of April 6

Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of April 6

Annnnnd we’re back. It’s been a long, long weekend for The Blu-ray Blog. Everyone was taking some time off, spending the days with family and just taking the opportunity to get in some rest and relaxation. I traveled back home to Ontario to celebrate my nephew’s tenth birthday! Many video-games were played. Many Blu-ray discs were watched. Many cupcakes were scarfed down. I think, between the sedentary celebrations and the cornucopia of food this weekend I probably put on a few pounds. Time to work them off by…writing this exciting Top 5 Blu-ray discs column? I think I’d probably burn more calories by playing more Tekken 6.


1. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Theatrical Editions) Blu-ray


This is, without question, the release of the week. But it sure isn’t for everyone. Aside from the ongoing arguments regarding the potentially flawed picture quality of the discs, The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy set only features the theatrical cuts of all three films. Now, that’s not a big problem for guys like me, who enjoy watching both these and the longer, truer-to-the-book extended cuts, but I understand that this is heresy to some. Rest assured, the extended editions will make their way to Blu in due time. But if you count yourself among the few fans who aren’t crying “double dip” and can’t wait for the longer cuts to hit the shops, you can grab your own copies of the films on Blu today.

Amazon: $59.99

Also available today from Warner: Ralph Bakshi‘s animated version of The Lord of the Rings.

The Lord of the Rings (1978 Animated Movie) Blu-ray


Amazon: $19.99


2. BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Blu-ray

Absolute, bat-shit crazy Werner Herzog adaptation of Abel Ferrara‘s bat-shit crazy, original cult film. This time around, featuring a mind-altering performance by Nicolas Cage that reminds us, for the first time in years, that the man is actually talented and can bust it up onscreen when he feels so inclined. I can’t speak to the quality of the Blu-ray disc itself but at this super-low Amazon price, I doubt you’ll go wrong by taking the risk and buying blind.

Read more: First Look bringing Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans to Blu-ray

Amazon: $14.99


3. THE NATURAL

The Natural (Director's Cut) Blu-ray

Once upon a time, before the days of Sphere and Jimmy Hollywood, director Barry Levinson made films as great as The Natural. This is one I didn’t think we’d see on Blu-ray any time soon, as I assumed it would need a lot of t.l.c. to make it shine in 1080p. I’m not sure what magic elixir Sony used to bring it to life in high-def but man, this is a beautiful Blu-ray disc! Packed with tons of extras, an incredible transfer and a killer lossless audio track, The Natural is a…home run.

Sorry. I couldn’t resist….it really is that good!

Full review later in the week!

Amazon: $17.49


4. THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR

The Thomas Crown Affair Blu-ray

Another adaptation this week which sees a classic film being recreated into a second, more contemporary yet still awesome film. The Thomas Crown affair took the Steve McQueen/Faye Dunaway original and gave it a slicker, more action packed pace, along with some electric chemistry between stars Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Much like the Bad Lieutenant film, I haven’t given this one a look yet so I can’t attest to the quality of the audio and video. But priced at only $11.99 on Amazon, how can you possibly pass this one up?

Amazon: $11.99



5. COCOON

Cocoon Blu-ray

Ahhhh…Steve Guttenberg, aliens and old people. The ideal mix of ingredients to make cinema magic, right? Uhhhh… I was never a big fan of Cocoon growing up but it’s a really well done, classic 80s film from director Ron Howard, finally available on Blu-ray this week. For less than twenty bucks you get the film, an Opie commentary, a bunch of featurettes and trailers. Sounds pretty good for those of you who are fans of 80s movies, Ron Howard or magical grandparents.

Amazon: $18.49



HONOURABLE MENTION: Shaw Brothers Films on Blu-ray

Brothers Five Blu-rayThe Delightful Forest Blu-rayThe Heroic Ones Blu-ray


Amazon: $16.49 – $16.99


DEAL ALERT: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series Blu-ray

As it has been for a while now, the brand new boxed set edition of the BSG: Complete Series is priced well below the MSRP on the Canadian Amazon site. As well as being priced well below its US counterpart. If you’re at all interested in this Blu-ray set, updated with BSG: The Plan and a trimmer, more practical case, you should jump on this low price now before Amazon.ca jacks up their price.

Amazon.ca: $149.99 CDN
Amazon.com: $209.99 US



ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK
Clicking an image will take you to Amazon.com where you can learn more about and purchase the Blu-ray disc:

The Protector [Blu-ray]Sharpe's Peril [Blu-ray]Sharpe's Challenge [Blu-ray] Poseidon Blu-ray



Flight of the Intruder Blu-rayJade Blu-rayDreamscape Blu-rayMadonna: Sticky and Sweet Blu-ray



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Lord of the Rings Blu-ray transfer and encode issues?

Lord of the Rings Blu-ray transfer and encode issues?

Members of the AVS Forum who have had a chance to preview the upcoming Lord of the Rings Blu-ray set are reporting that the transfer/encode does not live up to expectations. The first film in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring is noted as purportedly being particularly soft and subject to overuse of Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), which causes faces to look waxy and detail to disappear.

Member eric.exe has posted a lot of screenshot examples, comparing the new Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray with a previous HD broadcast of the film. He goes further to show the differences between the same shots used initially in Fellowship and then repeated in a montage sequence in its sequel, The Two Towers. Here are a only a couple of his many examples:

lotr7bd

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray


lotr7tv

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Fellowship of the Ring HDTV Broadcast


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CLICK TO ENLARGE: Fellowship of the Ring Blu-ray


50197946

CLICK TO ENLARGE: The Two Towers Blu-ray


Please visit the discussion thread on AVSForum.com for further screencap examples.

I don’t know about you but I’m going to hold off judging this release until I can inspect it in person. For the record, writer/director Peter Jackson has signed off on these new Blu-ray editions of his film trilogy and in most cases, that should be a ringing enough endorsement for anyone. There could be any number of reasons for these anomalies in image quality, from poor post-production on original film elements to a simple change in colour timing and contrast. It’s even possible that some DNR was added to cover up sloppy CGI in places. But like I said, at this point, for me, it’s too early to tell.

I’ll still be picking up the boxed set in a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know what I think of it at that time.

Previously on The Blu-ray Blog: Lord of the Rings Blu-ray Box Set Details

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Ralph Bakshi's Animated Lord of the Rings comes to Blu-ray

Ralph Bakshi's Animated Lord of the Rings comes to Blu-ray

Oh boy. I remember this animated version of Lord of the Rings quite fondly from my youth! This is some amazing, groundbreaking Ralph Bakshi animation. And while the rotoscoping technique isn’t favored by everybody (actors in costume were traced to create the animation) the result has now become a timeless classic. But I didn’t imagine we’d be seeing Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray this soon in the formats life cycle. It’s clearly being released as a compliment to the live-action Peter Jackson films, which hit the shops on the same day, April 6th. Can’t wait to see it again!

Lord Of The Rings (1978) Blu-ray

LORD OF THE RINGS (1978)
(April 6, 2010 – MSRP $29.99)
Video: 1.85:1 1080p
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Special Features:

  • Forging through the Darkness: The Ralph Bakshi Vision for The Lord of the Rings
  • Digital Copy

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