Well, we did it. It took 12 hours (and a variety of snacks for yours truly) but I can now say that watching the entirety of the Extended Edition Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting is something that I’ve done. Looking back on it, I have no idea why I wanted to do it other than because I never had. I’d only seen each of the movies once, and watching them all together made me realize how good they actually are.
I’m not going to rehash the movies, because at this point that’s been done to death. Instead, I’d like to talk about the technical quality of the Blu-ray version of the movies, as well as the experience of watching them all in one go.
One thing that I want to discuss is how this set is being reviewed at Amazon, which is typically my vendor of choice for… well, everything. (Amazon Prime is worth every penny, BTW. And no, they’re not paying me to say that. But hey Amazon, if you’re looking to pay people to say that, you know where to find me.) Lots of people are complaining about the transfer, complaining about artifacts, complaining that the movies are still on 2 discs despite being on Blu-ray, blah blah blah. Let me be the first to say that the transfer is flawless. The people who are complaining about video quality have no idea what they’re talking about, despite their insistence that they really do. There was never any “blockiness” in any of the darker scenes, and there was no dramatic green tint applied to everything. Blacks were black, whites were white, and colors were spectacularly vivid when called for. It was so sharp I could practically count the hairs in Gandalf‘s beard. The sound fared equally well, being presented in DTS-HD. Everything sounded wonderful, and there was a great sense of space given to the surround mix, particularly in areas like Moria. The sound of the orcs skittering around on all sides and the thundering “drums in the deep” made those scenes really stand out to me. All in all, I would definitely say that these films could be considered reference material. Also worth noting is the packaging… it’s very nice, yet understated. It also features a magnetic front flap that closes over the front, which made the magnet-loving part of me squeal a little on the inside.
The process of watching 12 hours of one story is a journey in itself. Frequent “stand up and walk around” breaks were in order, as well as doing everything that Small Boy demanded. I’m honestly not sure that I’d do it again. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m positive that I’d never do it again. Not matter how great the movies you’re watching are, I just don’t think that we’re meant to take them all in in a single sitting. One of the things I like the most about watching a movie I enjoy is the time immediately after the movie’s over… time I spend thinking about the movie. The plot lines, characters, film quality, etc… just the overall experience of the film. When you watch a trilogy in one sitting, you don’t have that time to digest each piece. You only have time to chew on it in its entirety, and if you’re like me you’ll find yourself greatly preferring the “one at a time” experience.
At the end of the day, I’m glad we did it. It was a fun (if unproductive) way to spend a hot Saturday, but I have to admit I probably wouldn’t do it again. 😉
- Return To Middle-Earth On Blu-Ray April 6th, 2010 (cinemablend.com)
- Extended Editions Of The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy To Play In AMC Theaters This June (cinemablend.com)
- “I think there’s more to this hobbit than meets the eye.” (rtik13.com)