I saw the extended version screening at Universal Studios in Los Angeles this evening and, put simply, The extended version of “The Fellowship Of The Ring” rocks and rules! Such a big improvement! Now the ring’s betrayal of Isildur makes visual sense, more maps, LOTS more Hobbiton! Much more Lothlorien with vital stuff restored, like the giving of Galadriel’s gifts. A little bit more Gollum. Some of Tolkien’s jokes restored. Aragorn & Boromir have a much more complete relationship arc, so Boromir’s swearing of fealty as he dies no longer comes from left field. Celeborn has enough lines to establish his identity. We finally meet the Gaffer, and Vita Sackville-Baggins, who is every bit the hobbit harridan she should be. And some unecessary but very welcome shots of additional breathtaking scenic beauty. And then there’s the shot of the Urak-Hai warrior licking Boromir’s blood off his blade before going after Aragorn. Nasty. Fights are more violent overall.

Definately the definitive version! Now I can’t wait for “The Two Towers” extended version, and I haven’t even seen the release version yet.

Douglas McEwan