Ringer Spy The One sends along his review of the FOTR DVD!

Hello there! I thought I’d write a review of the FOTR DVD, I would be very happy if you published it on TORn. It contains a rundown of every part of both discs and as a result is very comprehensive, I hope it will make the choice easier for people not sure whether to buy the DVD or not. Thank you very much! Here it is:

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: DVD Review

My LOTR DVD arrived in the post yesterday, after having only ordered it from play.com on Friday! I live in the UK and I had heard that play.com were already shipping their DVDs so I was quick to get my order in. Anyway, now that I have it I thought it would only be fair to share what I have seen with those unfortunate ones who are still awaiting it’s release. Needless to say, I spent the whole of yesterday afternoon watching all the special features, and then the evening watching the feature. For simplicity’s sake, I will split the review up into easy to understand categories:

Disc 1

Disc 1 contains the main feature (the theatrical release), and nothing else. My main concern with the DVD was that it would not capture the atmosphere and fantastical elements of the film like the cinematic release did.

Luckily, I have been proven wrong. As the old saying goes, “to see is to believe” and in this case that phrase carries a lot of weight. The film translates exceptionally well to the small screen, considering I watch DVDs on a 17″ monitor I was very happy with every element of it. The picture quality is crisp and clear, the colors are well defined and it seems far less daunting than seeing the film in the cinema. You really can’t fault the visual aspect of the DVD. Likewise, the sound is also of a brilliant standard. Fellowship has a very good sound mix for starters, but the sound on the DVD is no short of perfect. There is just the right balance between music, sound effects and speech, none of this “over bassiness” that seems to dominate many DVDs now. The sound is spot on. Nothing seems to have been lost in this release either, as I said earlier it is, in many cases, easier to follow – especially in action sequences. The scene selection is great too; there are many chapters so it’s not split up in to massive chunks. And, with both discs the interactive menus are amazing, they really are interactive! You’ll want to reach out and touch things, as you click on certain buttons, the background will seamlessly change – they really are quite amazing! You won’t be disappointed with Disc 1 one little bit.

Disc 2

This disc has all the special features – admittedly there isn’t a whole lot of content here, but you were warned and you did know what you were buying! What is here, however, is generally of good quality and worth watching…

The Documentaries:

The DVD boasts 3 documentaries for your viewing pleasure. Now, I’m going to be honest here because you shouldn’t get your hopes up too high for these.

The first documentary “Welcome to Middle Earth” starts with a short introduction about the original publishing of the LOTR books and then goes on to a behind the scenes look at FOTR. It makes a fairly interesting watch but for LOTR fans and followers it really is rather dull. I had already seen the Fox “Quest for the Ring” special on TV and I knew it was rather pathetic, with a very tedious and annoying Hollywood voice over the whole time – it’s basically a preview for the film and would make acceptable viewing in the run up to the film but now it’s utterly pointless and barely worth the watch even if you’re a non Tolkien fan… Now, the last documentary “A Passage to Middle-Earth” is certainly a quality behind the scenes look at FOTR. It covers many of the main aspects of the film and is well worth a watch. If you are going to see just one documentary, this is it. Unfortunately though, I had sat through the proceeding two before seeing this and much of the content is repeated on all 3 programs. Quite why these triplets are advertised as “In Depth Programs” is beyond me. If documentaries is what you are after, wait for the second DVD release in November

The Featurettes:

Now, I am a sufferer of the 56k modem, and so I hadn’t had a chance to see any of these featurettes, so I was looking forward to seeing them – especially as they are a similar idea to the Star Wars prequel featurettes which were done exceptionally well. All 15 of these “mini-documentaries” are very good in both quality and content. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them and have re-watched many since. One minor criticism: It would have been nice to have a “view all” button like on the TV spots so that I could have sat down and watched a good 30-45 minutes of LOTR documentaries. But this is a minor point and does not take away from the quality of these featurettes. Of course, if you have already seen these there is nothing new here, but it is nice to have them at a very good quality all the same.

Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots and Enya Video:

Not a whole lot to say here – mainly that it’s nice to have the trailers in full quality and sound now, same with the TV spots, but these things lose their appeal after the film is released, and having the whole film on the other disc ready to be watched whenever really does take away the “thrill of the trailers”. The Enya video is ok, nothing special either as I have the soundtrack and now the film on DVD so it rather defeats the point of this video – that’s pretty much what it is, some shots from the film, the music track and a few shots of Enya… Having said that, it is quite nice to watch all these trailers etc. again – just something else to play with!

The Two Towers Video Game Preview:

I am quite a big gamer, but I hate consoles, really I do – and this did look like a deeply average console game, just some hack ‘n’ slash style scenes and that was about it. Nothing really special – and really just a movie cash in, I await a full blown Middle Earth RPG to get completely and utterly lost in. This is merely an advert for the game.

Inside look at the Extended DVD:

Now this is where the DVD gets interesting, very interesting! This only lasts about 3 maybe 4 minutes but you get to see quite a lot! I won’t spoil it for you (In fact I believe you can already download this footage anyway) but you see some very interesting scenes, mainly things from the book but it looks like this release will be quite spectacular. I found myself continually on the pause button, and slow motion play to see what everything was! Perhaps a frame by frame analysis would be nice eh TORn? Well worth viewing – several times.

The Two Towers Preview:

Wohaa!! Now this is what we all bought the DVD for, right (well apart from the film of course)? Now, cast your mind back to the year 2001, when we had not seen a LOTR film and they kept throwing trailers at us – remember that feeling? “I want this film now! I can’t physically wait! I would kill for this movie!!” Remember that? Well multiply that a few thousand times and you have what is known as The Two Towers Preview. You get to see a lot, and I mean a lot! This will not disappoint. It starts off with Jackson explaining to us what TTT is all about (As if we didn’t already know!) and then taking us on a behind the scenes preview of Gollum as well as introducing us to all the main characters of TTT, including Theoden, Wormtongue, Faramir, Eowyn etc.. but no Treebeard! I expect that will be under wraps for sometime though 😉 We get to see a lot of locations in detail such as Edoras and Helms Deep – and quite a few shots of the Battle of Helms Deep (That is going to be so amazing!) – with lots of comments from actors about their various parts in TTT including Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd etc.. There are lots and lots of shots, some of which have been on the trailers but mostly this deals with new content! Finally, the preview ends with what is essentially a trailer for the new film – quite a few shots from the other two trailers but some new things too. It really does whet your appetite for TTT. Now I can’t wait for December!


Now despite what I have said on quite a few negative points of the second disc – on the whole it is very, very good and worth your money. If you are a Tolkien fan you will want this release, if you are just a regular punter, I would hold through until November and wait for the “BIG” release. If it’s features, commentaries, documentaries etc..that you are after you won’t find it here. Essentially, this is an advert for the other DVD, TTT and the video game with a few other things thrown in for extra measure. But to me, it’s not that – its one special film translated exceptionally well with some lovely previews for the upcoming DVD and TTT. On the whole a very good DVD!

Final Score:

Just the movie: 99%

The whole DVD as a fan: 90%
The whole DVD as a regular DVD buyer: 70%