Review - Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition (DVD-2002)
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Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings Extended Edition (DVD-2002)

New Line Home Entertainment

Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski


Earlier this year, a DVD of Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring was released.  That package featured the film itself as well as a second disc of supplementals—behind the scenes material and a number of featurettes.  Now a new, special edition 4-disc DVD with an extended version of the film has been issued as well.


Before reviewing this extraordinary new set, let it be said that one of the major complaints voiced about modern day cinema is that films today are made primarily for an adolescent mentality.  That being so, once in a while a Hollywood film comes along which gives the viewer a bit more—reminding the viewer of not only the power of film, but of what can be accomplished through the application of vision, integrity and teamwork.  Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is such a picture, and it is only the first in a trilogy of films.  Based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s popular and influential literary trilogy, director Peter Jackson’s film of the first novel was of such quality that many people believed it should have actually won the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards earlier this year.


The new special-edition DVD set of The Fellowship of the Ring features an unheard of four discs!  The film itself is contained on the first two DVDs in a spectacular transfer and, for this set, director Jackson has put back into the story thirty minutes of footage that was cut before the film’s theatrical release.  Jackson regards this extended cut as not a definitive version, but as a most worthy alternate version of the film.  And that it is.  The additional footage is extraordinary—detailing the lives of the hobbits and providing key scenes that flesh out or add to the dramatic weight of the source material.


This extended edition also features new music composed by Howard Shore for the newly-inserted sequences—music that is up to the high standard of Shore’s masterful film score.  Also included is a choice of four different film commentaries featuring the director and writers, the cast, and the designers of the film.


The remaining two discs in the set are devoted to documentaries and supplementary material.  The first of these discs contains two and a half hours worth of material on adapting the book into a screenplay; planning and designing the film; executing storyboards and previsualization; as well as a staggering stills gallery of nearly 2000 images!  The final disc features three-and-a-half more hours of documentary material on the actual making of the film—the process of filming, working with the cast, special effects, editing, sound, behind the scenes and the film’s actual premiere. One can even view the Council of Elrond scene from the various angles caught by the cameras.


This is a set you won’t want to try to view all at once, but a treasure to savor and return to again and again.


The new footage that has been added to the film enhances its magnificence and power.  Finishing off the set is a most attractive packaging box and easy to follow menus as well as a couple surprise features if you know how to locate them.


The new special Extended Edition of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is absolutely wonderful, and vies with the new Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones DVD as a candidate for the best overall DVD ever!



2002 Dennis Kwiatkowski/Celluloid Dreams



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