LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring Special Extended DVD Set
Starring:
Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Viggo Mortensen, Hugo Weaving
Directed By :
Peter Jackson
Grade
A+

Even though this movie has been released on DVD with bonuses, diehard fans were waiting for this set to come out, which would give an extended version of the film and promised lots of extras. As a tribute to the original hardback books, which came in the hard sleeve cover, this four disc set comes in likewise packaging. For comments on the original film, visit the theatrical review.

Extended Film: Even though the original film was three hours long, it finds itself dwarved by the extended version. With an extra 30+ minutes of footage that is treated with the same level of quality that the original film was, viewers will find a movie that's even more rich than what was shown in the theatres. And, it's not just a scene or two here and there - there are tons of scenes that are extended and more than a few that are totally new. Integrated perfectly, I really can't imagine the movie without these scenes now that I've seen them. The film is broken up onto two DVDs that come with commentary tracks from the cast, director and writers, design team and the production/post-production team.

The Appendices: On top of the extended film are two discs packed full with extras. The first disc "From Book to Vision" covers the creative process from Tolkien's book to the set and costume design. The second disc "From Vision to Reality" goes from casting and filming to the post production. Between the two discs is easily six hours of interviews and footage taken while the movie was being created. On top of that, there are tons of video clips of the story boards and Pre-Viz Animatics and still photos to keep even the most diehard fan busy for hours on end.

Extras: Along with the four disc set comes another DVD - National Geographic Beyond the Movie, which manages to touch on a lot of the themes from the Tolkien biography found in the third disc. But, Beyond the Movie does a fine job of going over the the influences that shaped Tolkien's story. If you ate up the Appendices of Disc 3 and 4, you'll enjoy this as well, as it provides some of the same info but from a different perspective. Those who may find themselves overwhelmed by all the extras in the four disc set may never even take the time to watch this.

The boxed set also comes with bookends of the Argonath, sculpted by Mary MacLachlan for Sideshow Weta Collectibles, which are finely detailed representations of the immense sculptures. While not too big, they do have a good weight and can be used practically as well as a stand-alone collectible.

If you didn't get the original DVDs because you were waiting for this one, be very happy with your decision. If you did get the original DVDs and are a fan of the movies and books, you should seriously consider getting this one as well. This set is the ultimate version and Tolkien fans should go out and get it. Rarely is a DVD set so all-encompassing and rewarding for those who waited. If you have a day or two to kill, you could sit down and watch everything here.

- - Vane

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