Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Black Sheep's Blu-Tuesday: LORD OF THE RINGS

Yes, I realize that it is Wednesday and this is a Blu-Tuesday post. It was a busy day yesterday; what can I say?

Every so often, a new title comes along that eclipses all other titles being released that day. Today is one of those days as Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY is making its first appearance on BD. I will not make judgments about the films themselves. That hardly seems the point considering how well-loved they are by fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novels. It seems even less relevant when you consider that the three films made a combined amount of $2.9 billion and collected a total of 17 Academy Awards between them. No, the only thing that matters right now is whether it is worth upgrading from the existing DVD copies you almost certainly have on your shelves already.

Here is what's new about the BD releases. All three films are in 1080p and DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1. This is the BD touch and considering that all three films won Oscars for visual effects, this should be what drives you to go out and get them. Personally, I did not find the transfer itself to be anything spectacular. Yes, Middle Earth looks great but it already looked great last I checked. The only other new inclusion in this set is a set of digital copies for all three films. Great! Now I can watch Frodo and friends on my iPad.

That's pretty much it. Everything else in this set is unchanged from previous releases, literally. The extras, none of which are new, are still in standard definition on DVD. There are certainly plenty of extras to make the LOTR experience that much more meaningful but anyone who owns these films already - and let's be honest here, how many people who want the films don't already own them - has already been through the extras already as well.

I think my biggest gripe about the LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY BD release is that it seems simply designed to take advantage of its core audience rather than honour it. Fans who have been waiting for this BD release will buy it but they're getting a rushed release with little to nothing new. The featured versions of the films aren't even the extended versions that most generally considered even better than the theatrical versions. That's fine though because they can just buy those too when they inevitably come out in time for some holiday.


Nicolas Cage stars in Werner Herzog's remake of BAD LIEUTENANT.

Francis Ford Coppola insists he's indie with TETRO.

And Madonna gets STICKY AND SWEET with her first tour BD.

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