If it's crap ... We'll tell you
I'll give you one guess as to what I've been doing over my July 4th weekend. No, not scarfing down every burger in sight...okay, well, that too, but the MAIN thing I've been doing is fully immersing in this ultimate (until the next ultimate-ier) version of Peter Jackson's masterpiece. If you need to to make yourself feel better, make whatever jokes you will about gay hobbits or multiple endings, your snark is irrelevant; this trilogy of films got J.R.R. Tolkien's defining fantasy series so perfectly that the only thing that makes me sad about it (other than when it ends...moar please!) is that Tolkien didn't live to see his works treated with such reverence. For your less serious fantasy fan, I guess the theatrical cuts will do well enough, but if you're the type of fan, like myself, who sometimes discovers tears running down their face autonomically in reaction to the sheer beauty on display at points, then no Director's cuts that have ever been more essential than these.
Running at over 12 hours (if that's intimidating, look at it as the best miniseries ever made), my twice yearly watching commitment of the films (at least) is an event made even more appealing by the significantly upgraded sound and image here. Despite a bit of color correcting controversy on "The Fellowship of the Ring" (Jackson claims the subtle tinting throughout added was intentional, but some serious fans question this), these films have never, ever looked better; colors dazzle, armor shines, blacks have never been more absolutely dark...frickin' beautiful. Even better though (at least to me, although I can't speak for my neighbors) is the upgraded audio which may be the most perfect HD upgrade yet. There's absolutely no point in buying and watching this new set if you're not running it through surround at top volume. Teeth-rattling clarity throughout, and of course, who doesn't want to hear the strains of Howard Shore's amazing, stirring, heart-rending score at the pinnacle of quality? That's a rhetorical question, because if the answer is you, I don't care. Geeking out here people, give me room.
The fantastic upgrades of the films should be enough alone to purchase this new set, but for those who are wondering about that giant collection of extra features that accompanied the original DVD extended editions, fear not: all are included here, including the much more personal Costa Botes documentaries, originally found only with the "Limited Editions" dvd set released in 2006. The bad news is, it's all still in SD, some of it, even the Costa Botes docs, and even worse, not anamorphic, which is a pretty big oversight, if you ask me, but it's not like the bonus features in this set is what I'm going to be re-watching over and over again.
For now, Jackson and Co have released what is unquestionably the best version available of the most successful critically, financially, and award-winning, trilogy of films ever made. Having seen the list of scenes STILL not included in these even-more-expanded cuts, and aware of the existence of not included bonuses, like Elijah Wood's audition tape he sent to Jackson to ask for the role of Frodo, I think I can say with some confidence that this won't be the last edition of these films we'll be seeing soon, and with Jackson's "Hobbit" prequels on the near horizon, I'd highly suspect that a well timed release of a supah-ultimate extended trilogy edition to be in the re-tooling stages as I type. And hell, whenever Jackson's next project doesn't do as well as he'd hoped and he decides he's going to film a "Silmarillion" trilogy, I'd guess a supah-ultimate-mega-fantastic extended trilogy edition to be on the horizon. But it's not like anything else new is going to make these any more perfect for me. "The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions" on Blu-Ray is my PICK OF THE YEAR. Fuck yes.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition...