CERT: 15 / PLATFORM: 4K UHD / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 30
With Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies getting new 4K restorations overseen by Jackson himself, let’s shine the spotlight here on the iconic LOTR offerings.
It’s absolutely nuts to think its nearly 20 years since our first cinematic trip to Middle-Earth, but here we are, 19 years on and with so many fond memories associated with this legendary triumvirate of films. And boy, does this 4K restoration serve The Lord of the Rings well.
Plot-wise, a ragtag group find themselves on a mission to destroy the One Ring and defeat the nefarious Sauron once and for all. Chances are, you’re already well, well, well aware of the antics and adventures documented in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, of course.
The selling factor here is obviously the 4K treatment given to The Lord of the Rings. With this restoration and a new beefed-up Atmos audio, the viewing experience served up by this release is something truly special. It’s almost redundant to say that The Lord of the Rings has never looked or sounded better, but that’s the undeniable truth.
Whereas the most recent Blu-ray release of this trilogy tried to lighten up certain moments, the 4K restoration pulls back on that – and the movies are visually so much better for that. Instead of brightening scenes as a way to show more of what’s on screen, the 4K means that Jackson and his team can simply rely on the greater detail of 4K to proudly show off the intricacies of the trilogy and the sheer time and effort that went into bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material to the screen. From characters, to armour, to weaponry, to landscapes and more, The Lord of the Rings in 4K is an utter delight.
One slightly negative aspect for some of this 4K release, though, is that there is no new bonus material included. In fact, that’s no bonus material, period. Across the nine discs that comprise this release – the theatrical editions of the movies getting one disc a-piece, and the extended editions spread across two discs each – there’s zero special features or additional content included. On that front, a further ‘ultimate’ release is scheduled for next year which will included new bonus features – which then poses the question of whether to commit to this release or hold off until next year.
The Lord of the Rings is one of the best 4K releases that we’ve seen in terms of the visuals and audio on offer, but that next new edition being on the horizon may be enough to put some fans off from picking this one up. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you value special features – and new ones, at that.