Last night myself, my wife and a friend went into Chicago to wrangle ourselves a seat for the big screen viewing of Fellowship’s Extended Edition. We were sorely worried that we’d be without seats, as we were a bit late, but there was plenty of room in the theatre when we got there, and we managed to grab some perfect seats.

And, because it was a Tuesday night, the eventually full theatre was packed with die-hard Tolkien nuts. It was the perfect crowd to see this movie with. And, I might add, the perfect place to see this movie. The theatre was THX certified, and they used a Texas Instruments digital projector to get the movie on the screen – it was like watching a movie-sized HDTV!!

This cut of Fellowship stands head and shoulders above the theatrical cut. The extra 1/2 hour of footage makes the film actually feel a bit shorter, because it flows so well together. The additions made are here and there, mostly, little bits that add roundness and soul to the movie.

A lot of the humor got cut, which is a sad thing, because it’s the most genuine humor that I’ve seen in a movie to date. For example (as the party is preparing to leave Lothlorien, Legloas pulls out some lembas and shows it to Pippin and Merry):

Legolas: Lembas; elvish waybread. A small bite will fill a grown man’s stomach for a full day. (He smiles, takes a bite, and puts it back in the pack).

(Merry and Pippin both smile in an over-polite fashion. When Legolas is out of earshot, Merry leans over to Pippin).

Merry: How many did *you* eat?

Pippin: Four. (Pippin belches and gets a *very* uncomfortable look on his face)

But, on to the major stuff:

The first major addition is in the beginning, where we move from the narration by Galadriel to Bilbo penning the first chapter of his book, Concerning Hobbits. The warmth which Bilbo uses to describe the Shire way of life makes it something to be protected. I had known that the Shire was worth protecting when I saw the theatrical cut, but only in an intellectual fashion. Now, having seen the Extended cut, I *felt* that it was something to be protected.

The second addition is the extended Lothlorien sequence. We get to see much more the elven city, even Caras Galadon. The most remarkable part that was put back in was the gift giving sequence. The entire Lotlorien sequence gives Celeborn and Galadriel a softer side – they seem much more like they were in the book. (EVERYONE seems more like they were in the book; that’s the best I can say, as there is too much detail to full convey all of the little bits and pieces that were put back in).

The recut of the film is fantastic: that alone justifies the purchase of the DVD next Tuesday. And after reading the review that Moriarity put up over at Ain’t It Cool News of all the goodness that PJ packed into the special features, I’m near-salivating. 🙂