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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Extended Edition (Blu-ray) (2003)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Extended Edition (Blu-ray) (2003)

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Released 29-Jun-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Audio Commentary-4
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-New
Booklet-Video Games - Aragorn's Quest
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 263:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter Jackson

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Liv Tyler
Viggo Mortensen
Sean Astin
Cate Blanchett
John Rhys-Davies
Bernard Hill
Billy Boyd
Dominic Monaghan
Orlando Bloom
Hugo Weaving
Miranda Otto
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Howard Shore

Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† 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.

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Transfer Quality


†††† 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.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† 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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
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 Return of the King - Behind the Scenes (112:02) **NEW**

†††† 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.

Previously Available Extras


Audio Commentary - The Director and Writers (Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens)

Audio Commentary - The Design Team

Audio Commentary - The Production and Post Production Team

Audio Commentary - The Cast


Featurette - The Legacy Of Middle-earth

Featurette - From Book To Script: Forging The Final Chapter

Featurette - From Book To Script: Abandoned Concept - Aragorn Battling Sauron

Gallery - Design Galleries

Featurette - Designing and Building Middle Earth: Designing Middle Earth

Featurette - Designing and Building Middle Earth: Bigatures

Featurette - Designing and Building Middle-earth: Weta

Featurette - Designing and Building Middle-earth: Costumes

Featurette - Home Of The Horse Lords

Featurette - Middle Earth Atlas

Featurette - New Zealand as Middle-earth


Featurette - Filming The Return Of The King: Cameras In Middle-earth

Gallery - Production Photos

Featurette - Visual Effect - Weta Digital

Featurette - Visual Effects: Visual Effects Demonstration - The MŻmakil Battle

Featurette - Post Production, Journey's End - Editorial: Completing The Trilogy

Featurette - Post Production, Journey's End - Music for Middle-earth

Featurette - Post Production, Journey's End - Soundscapes of Middle-earth

Featurette - Post Production, Journey's End - The End Of All Things

Featurette - The Passing Of An Age

Featurette - Cameron Duncan: The Inspiration for "Into The West"

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† 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.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 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 DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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