Okay, it’s been awhile since I wrote one of these so let me reiterate the premise:
I put it off for as long as long I could but, realizing that the Blu-Ray was to become the repository for high quality video extras as well as the wave of the FUTURE, I finally broke down and installed a drive on my desktop computer…okay, the guys at the computer repair store installed it for me, but I paid for every cent of it. After you shell-out the big bucks for this impressive hardware, you are undoubtedly left with a big decision: you gotta buy the Blu-Rays. I put a lot of thought into my DVD purchases. This is because, early on, I decided that the movies you own come to express who you are as a person. Some people might buy only the works of Fellini and Ingmar Bergman, thinking that, by doing so, everyone who views their collection will assess them as deep and insightful. But, personally, I have a different set of criteria; I’m looking for movies that:
1. Benefit from the added detail and quality of High Definition
2. I will watch multiple times and enjoy
3. I don’t already own – this guideline is somewhat flexible but I’m going to stick to it for now.
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Extended Edition is the first time that I broke a rule of the big Joe’s Blu-Ray Buys. Only three entries in and already the rules are out the door. So, for the record, I already owed this on DVD. But, these movies are so spectacular that I do not begrudge the studios for double dipping, and, assuming that those lovable kiwis get a small cut of the action, I’m more than happy to shell-out my money for this box-set. I think that I will always love this series. I read The Hobbit several times as a kid and have read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (so much singing). so it’s entirely possible that I’m a little biased. However, if anyone deserves the right to nit-pick a film I feel that I’ve earned it. In my opinion, this series is so perfect and enjoyable that I have no desire to. It manages the nearly impossible feat of striking the perfect balance between action, comedy and gravitas. Each of these films are a delight and I’m drawn to watch them whenever they are playing. As if the spectacle and story of the film weren’t enough, I don’t think that there is a bad performance in the entire series. Oh sure, you could claim that Orlando Bloom is a little wooden, or that John Rhy-Davies is practically chewing the scenery in every shot he’s in, but somehow, it’s appropriate for their characters. I could say more, and perhaps I should say more. However, if you are not a fan of the series, it won’t matter to you what I say, and if you are you probably already own these or are waiting for the price to go down or a better edition. Untrue movie fact: Over the course of the three films, every single person in New Zealand was employed by New Line at one time or another.
The picture is clear and perfect. Perhaps even a little too perfect. I’ve noticed that Blu-Ray has a way of making things so clear that you begin to tell that they are sets. Despite the fact that some of the scenes are marred by the near perfect clarity, there are other scenes that are immensely improved by it. I still remember the first time that I saw a Nazghul knocking down those poor guards on horseback, fleeing Osgilliath across Pelennor fields to the relative safety of Minas Tirith. Every single time, I try to guess which ones are CG and which are real. Even in high definition, I still can’t tell. There are lots of extras on the Blu-Ray as well. Unfortunately, all of the extras are on the DVD version as well. In fact, this Blu-Ray box set of 15 discs, only has 6 Blu-Ray discs. The other 9 discs are DVD format. The movies are in Blu-Ray and the rest of the bonus material is in DVD definition. Also, some people are miffed that each of the movies gets divided between 2 Blu-Rays. I don’t mind, because of the sheer number of commentaries, but I can see why someone might complain. In fact, besides the high definition of the movies provided by the Blu-Ray format, there is only one other exclusive feature, the Costa Botes Behind the Scenes documentaries. While these are unfortunately also in DVD format, and therefore in standard definition, they are still quite enjoyable.
My Favorite Feature
Each of the films has it’s own little case with a physical map of the bonus features directory. Because of the sheer number of extras, this is pretty essential for navigating the extra features.
Most Worthless Feature
I was a little bit disappointed by the Costa Botes documentaries, if only because they insist on following the order that things happened in the film rather than the order in which the movies were filmed. However, since each Behind The Scenes documentary coincides with each of the films, it’s probably a logistic necessity.
I bought this for around $60 when it was on some sale, probably Christmas or Black Friday or some other holiday like that.
I chose not to link the three trailers here because…what’s the point?
Stay tuned for Big Joe’s Blu-Ray Buy #4: Mimic: Director’s Cut, no seriously.