Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Extended Edition (Blu-ray) (2003)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-New
Booklet-Video Games - Aragorn's Quest
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Peter Jackson|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 6.1 ES Matrix (4608Kb/s)
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 6.1 ES Matrix (4608Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† What can I say about this trilogy of films that hasn't been said before? Not much really. Let me just say that in my opinion these films are the greatest film trilogy of all time, obviously assisted by being based on probably the greatest fantasy novels of all time. I can watch these films which total over 10 hours (in extended mode) time and time again and still enjoy them thoroughly. Some films I find it hard to get through the first time I see them. Sitting down to watch them in this Blu-ray extended edition box set was a marvellous experience, they are wonderfully transferred, with marvellous video and fantastic audio. But more on that later...
†††† Obviously there have been many previous releases of these films and most of you probably own one (or more) of them. Personally, I had previously purchased the DVD Extended Editions and the Theatrical Blu-ray releases. You can see our previous reviews of this film's various releases at the following links for the original theatrical DVD, the extended DVD set , the collector's extended DVD set and the theatrical Blu-ray release.
†††† So what do you get in this release? It is currently only available as a box set of all three movies which is very well packaged. The box, although cardboard, is hard & thick (unlike most box sets) and opens to allow the three Blu-ray cases to be accessed. At some retailers a replica ring is also included. Each movie comes in its own Blu-ray hard case, which includes five discs, 2 Blu-rays and 3 DVDs. Some may argue that this is a bit silly considering that the content of the three DVDs would probably fit on one Blu-ray. However, the contents of those discs are in standard definition and the source is only available in standard definition, so itís really a moot point. Sure they could have up-scaled them but you can do that at home. The Blu-rays contain the film (in two halves) plus the same extras as were on the original extended edition's first two discs, including all the commentaries and even the original Easter egg. Basically, what you get is the same first two discs as the old extended edition in HD. The next two discs are the original discs 3 and 4 from the extended edition, which contain some great extras but if you already have them then they are just two extra discs to fill up the case. As far as I can tell they are exactly the same. The last disc contains an extra which was not on the previous extended editions, a feature length behind the scenes doco. See below for more detail.
†††† So, worth considering? Yes, definitely. If you don't have these movies in your collection, buy this set. If you do, even on Blu-ray, the video upgrade for Fellowship and extra scenes make this worth taking a hard look at, especially because the movies have so much re-watch potential.
†††† The video quality is excellent, a huge step up from the DVD. There is no controversy to discuss with The Return of The King like there was with Fellowship, itís just an awesome transfer of a great film. There was one of the extra scenes with Faramir and Eowyn holding hands while the others go off to fight that had some grain in the background. The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p as you would expect encoded using AVC.
†††† The picture was very clear and sharp throughout looking phenomenal for a film with so much CGI and other effects. The colour was wonderful. Of course, the wonderful scenery of New Zealand looks fantastic. There were no obvious artefacts.
†††† There are subtitles available in English which are clear and easy to read. They have been moved from being on the picture (in the theatrical Blu-ray) to in the black bar which is a smart move as far as I am concerned. They are in a better font to the normal subtitles font too. If you do not turn subtitles on there is an automatic stream to translate elvish, etc. There are also subtitles in a variety of European languages, including Hebrew for this film only, which is a bit odd.
††††There are no obvious layer changes during playback.
†††† The audio quality is stunning. I cannot fault it and loved every moment. This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS-HD MA 6.1 and an Italian soundtrack in the same format. There are also four commentaries in Dolby Digital 2.0. This is a wonderful soundtrack really opening out the magnificent sound field of this film. The fantastic score really leaps out of the speakers along with the great audio effects. There is so much sound work to love in the film that it is hard to pick out one sequence but the battle in front of Gondor is quite amazing. To my ears it is not markedly different to the Blu-ray Theatrical cut soundtrack.
†††† Dialogue was very clear and easy to hear and understand despite how much else was going on in the soundtrack. The music by Howard Shore is one of the best scores of recent years and sounds magnificent on this Blu-ray. The surround speakers were used in every conceivable way, booming directional effects, quiet but important atmosphere, creating a full soundstage for the music and much more. In a word, magnificent. The subwoofer was also put to excellent use for everything from orcs to Oliphants to rocks thudding into walls and marching Orcs.
|Surround Channel Use|
††††As I mentioned above the Blu-rays include the four commentaries from the original extended DVD editions, plus the Easter Eggs which were previously available on the first two discs of that edition. These are now more easily accessible from the special features menu, showing as rings. I will provide a list of the previously available extras repeated here but if you would like more detail please refer to our review of the the extended DVD set. I will list the only extra not on the previous extended editions (on Disc 5) first. This did appear on the limited edition theatrical and extended sets however.
†††† The menus are very similar in design to the previous extended DVD except using Blu-ray style menu selections.
†††† The only extra on this set which was not on the previous extended editions is this feature length behind the scenes documentary although documentary is a strong term as it is really a large collection of behind the scenes and on set footage which is interesting but not really a documentary as such. This time it includes on-set silliness, Jackson's day to day challenges, hairpieces, costumes, and a crazy snow machine and lots more. It is unfortunately not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitles are available.
††† This set is available globally in the same format except for minor language and subtitle differences.
††††A great film on a great Blu-ray/DVD set.
†††† The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is excellent. A huge set of extras although only one new item compared to the previous extended editions.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|