Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Theatrical Release

Reviewed by Art Schmidt

Peter Jackson and Co. have taken a slightly different direction with the filming of the two Hobbit  films, exercising lessons learned from the ground-breaking (and for the cast and crew, almost breaking) filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in one long, continuous schedule.  Work has begun in at WETA studios and on locations in New Zealand on The Hobbit  films, but Jackson’s schedule this time is being executed in what the cast and crew are calling ‘chunks’.  That is, they are filming related sets of scenes in large blocks and then taking mini-breaks in between for everyone to recuperate.   Everyone’s favorite Gollum, Andy Serkis, took some time out from filming both in front of and behind the camera (as Second Unit Director!) to discuss the project on BBC Radio.  Take a listen.

During these breaks, Jackson has taken the time to arrange a special treat for the fans: the limited release of all three Lord of the Rings films in their magnificent Extended Editions at select theatres nationwide.  The Fellowship of the Ring was shown on Tuesday, June 14th, and The Two Towers and The Return of the King will be shown on the succeeding two Tuesdays, June 21st and June 28th, respectively.  If you missed out on FOTR, be sure and grab tickets for the next two.  These showings have been arranged through Fathom Events and information, tickets, and participating locations are available at their website.

Peter Jackson recorded a special introduction for fans which was shown just before FOTR, and briefly mentioning the current filming of The Hobbit  but focusing on the fan support of the LOTR films, some reminiscing of the filming and subsequent releases of those films, and generally pumping up the audience about the EE releases.  Hopefully there will be more of this during the next two events.

The movie itself cannot really be reviewed anymore; it’s a classic and always will be as long as there are still fans of Tolkien’s work breathing air.  The Extended Editions are not really just longer versions of the films; they are the truer versions of the films, expanding the story and bringing Tolkien’s work to full, fiery life.  The thrill of watching the extended version up on the big screen was a rush, and the audience, while not at capacity, was in a great mood.  A wonderful time was had by all, and I look forward to the next two movies, especially The Return of the King, which in it’s EE form is simply one of the greatest movies ever made.  Ever.  In Middle-Earth or any of the more mundane Earths we mere mortals inhabit.

Warner Home Video took the opportunity run an ad before the movie for the June 28th release of the EE set of the LOTR films on Blu-ray.  I won’t re-open the debate about the timing between the releases of the Theatrical and EE Blu-ray sets (though I am sore wanting to), except to say that it turned out to only be about a year which all things considered isn’t that bad, and I am in the camp that protested  boycotted the theatrical releases  bitched and moaned endlessly to anyone who would listen  patiently waited.  The set looks and sounds beautiful, with over 26 hours of additional features and specials, including everything that came with the original LOTR Theatrical Version DVD Collector’s set and more.  For more information, check out The One Ring’s post on the release.

Speaking of The One Ring, one of the most awesome fansites every made, they had a short piece run before the FOTR film as well, more of a self-promotional (and well deserved!) pat on the back than a real ‘ad’ for anything in particular.  They showed stills of their members at key LOTR events worldwide, with various cast and crew at publicity events, and just generally said ‘Hell Yeah!’ to the EE releases, the upcoming Hobbit movies, and themselves.  As I said, hella well-deserved, and very, very cool for a group that’s 100% fan-based in origin.

Of course, the release events for the LOTR EE films are also whetting fans’ appetites for the upcoming Hobbit films, and at least with this fan, they’ve succeeded.  I will certainly be in the front row for The Battle of Five Armies!

Well, not in the front row, it’s hard to see from down there, and I don’t want to get a crick in my neck…  maybe in the middle, close to an aisle so I’m not squished in between people and can get out to use the facilities if need be…  But I’ll certainly be in front of the line to buy tickets!

Well, actually…  I buy online so I can pick a good seat, and who wants to wait outside the theatre overnight…  and it might be raining…

Anyway, you know what I mean!  🙂

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