Greetings from Middle-earth, Friends and Fiends!
Ye Olde Dragon got some nice Tolkien–esque goodies from under the tree. I was fortunate to get the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which I gave a brief review of, earlier today), as well as the soundtrack of same. In addition to that, I finally got my “Precioussss”- the complete Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Trilogy on Blu-ray!
I wanted to give my first impressions of this set, especially since I’ve had the DVD versions since they first came out. In fact I am on my second copy of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, as I got them when I found the “Collector Edition” sets that included the Argonath bookends and Smeagol statue respectively, on clearance sale. To say the least I’m a Tolkien fanatic! But then again, you all already knew this.
Although I have a special place in my heart for the book-like design of the DVD sets, I must say that it’s a nice packaging design they came up with for the Blu-ray set.
Upon opening the cover flap of the slipcase, we find a nice reproduction of the familiar map of Middle Earth. Inside the slipcase are three opaque black plastic clamshell cases containing the familiar booklet and all five discs, each on their own spindle which is a big plus. Each film is split between two Blu-rays, probably allowing for the multitude of comment tracks, as well as allowing for the upgraded high quality of these longer versions. The Appendices are intact on new DVD pressings as they were filmed in standard quality. The fifth and final disc of each set is the behind the scenes raw footage by Costa Botes, previously released with the limited edition DVD sets that had both the theatrical and extended versions of each film.
The design of the sleeves is simple and clean utilizing art from various posters and promotional artwork for each film. A nice subtle touch appears on the spine of each sleeve, connecting each title to the previous version by matching the colors associated with each title in the DVD sets.
There is not much to add to this, as they’re virtually identical to the previous release in content.
One final note: for those completists out there, no worries. The Easter eggs found in the scene selection menus of the DVD versions are present in the Blu-ray versions. To access them, choose special features and click all the way to the left until you see the golden ring. Click enter and the scenes will play.
Overall I must say I’m very pleased with this new version. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even more if I ever get an HDTV to watch it on.