My Region 1 LOTR turned up yesterday.
First of, the film looks stunning. I expect until digital projectors are more common we will fund this more and more, but it really looks better then it did in the cinema. The colours are really strong etc and the whole thing looks better than I remember it.
I saw it at the flicks 3 times and for me the worse bit was the Bridge over Kaza Dum sequence. In that darkish environment the use of blue screens and stuff really didn’t work and I always winced and the cheapness of it. Especial that bit where Frodo and Aragon are on the broken stair case and they sway it towards the rest. When Gandalf runs around a bend with the fire background matte it also looked fake – Gandalf seemed in higher resolution than the flames etc. I also didn’t like the Balrog – looked too special effecty.
Now while not all these problems have gone – the whole scene does look shit loads better. My issues with the Balrog no longer apply for sure – he totally looks part of the environment now.
Sound – stunning. The Moria bits have a haunting dwarfish chanting in the back ground I had never noticed before but sounds superbly atmospheric on a 5.1 system. No DTS though. The battle in the history bit at the start is also house-shakingly good. Cue wifey shouting at me about neighbours etc…
Now for the negative:
No directors commentary! Boo hiss! Couldn’t they just edit the Special Edition’s commentary to fit? Lazy…
The extras disc is really aimed at the casual film fan with very little production story type stuff that us geeks enjoy. There are 3 USA TV specials on the film and these are pretty similar, just being story explanation advert things. The Sci Fi channel one is best – don’t watch the Fox TV one as its a waste of 25 mins of your life. It is a shame the DVD producers didn’t look further afield as there were much better programs on UK channels than the crap the US put out. The BBC did a superb hour long documentary about the Professor himself which would have been a worthwhile addition.
You also have all the little video snippets from the website but I saw these a year ago so no interest to me. They also don’t play well on the PlayStation 2. Yes lame – I am using the PS2 to watch LOTR but please forgive me – its the only way I can see Region 1 at the moment 😉
Trailers look and sound great – as do the TV spots.
Then we have a preview of the special edition DVD. It looks great – 2 discs backed with what i want – behind the scenes docs not adverts. There are a few snips of the new scenes as well which all look cool.
Theres also a feature on EAs game but there isn’t much to see here to be honest.
So all that leaves us is the 10 mins preview of Two Towers which my best mate has made me promise not to watch until the weekend or he’ll spoil the end of 24 for me. I made the wife watch it though and she reports it looks really good but for some reason she has built up the impression that Gollum is sweet so i take her opinion with a pinch of salt. She reckons the helms deep bit looks amazing though.
So there you – if you can wait until Nov I would. Its perhaps my favorite film ever, and I was desperate to see it on DVD, but the disc 2 is disappointing.