The Films: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Synopsis: A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.
The Review: In 2001 the fantasy genre was forever changed when The Fellowship of the Ring burst into theaters raking in nearly $900 million in the global box office. The series has since reached an iconic level of popularity, skyrocketing its main cast onto the A-list. The epic journey of good vs. evil continued for two more films with The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The latter sweeping the Oscars and winning all 11 awards for which it was nominated including Best Picture and Best Director while also being the first in the trilogy to crack a billion at the Box Office. The massive success of the trilogy was in no small part thanks to the visionary direction and guidance of Peter Jackson. You know the films and no doubt own them in their various forms, maybe even more than one. After watching them in the 4K restoration I can say that without a doubt, this is the best version. I will touch more on the different releases that are still coming from Warner Brothers, but rest assured, if you own these films already I implore you to upgrade to 4K, it is absolutely worth it.
The Films: The Hobbit Trilogy
Synopsis: The story is set in Middle-earth sixty years before the main events in The Lord of the Rings. It tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, who is convinced by the wizard Gandalf to accompany thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug and reclaim the kingdom of Erebor.
The Review: After the massive commercial success of The Lord of the Rings it only seemed natural that the prequel book, The Hobbit be made into a film as well, heck, why not three films! In 2008 New Line Cinema and Warner Brothers had disagreements with the Tolkien estate that lasted so long it caused Guillermo del Toro to exit the project as director. Only when Peter Jackson decided to return as director that an agreement was reached.
Jacksons Rings trilogy left its mark on cinema and drastically changed the landscape for future blockbusters and fantasy films, seems like the perfect fit to helm the new series. But, destined to be burdened by his own legacy, Jackson set out to reinvent another wheel.
There is a lot to like about The Hobbit Trilogy. The epic scope of production and the awe inspiring sense of adventure are absolutely still there, and Jacksons sensibility as a director is unmistakably present. While it falls short of its predecessor as far as staying power, the positives outweigh the negatives and this trilogy will continue to find its audience.
Following a younger Bilbo Baggins on an adventure that finds him in the middle of battle for the very heart of Middle-earth. Featuring a cast of new and old faces, all perfectly suited to their roles. Going back to Middle-earth for another adventure is still exhilarating. The 4K restoration is just as stunning as LotR and a worthy addition to any 4K library.
The Release: The two epic trilogies include the theatrical and extended versions of the six films in 4K UHD with HDR. The Hobbit Trilogy includes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as well as their extended editions on two extra discs. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy includes The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as well as their extended editions on two extra discs.
The 4K remastering was overseen and approved by Peter Jackson using a scan of the original printing.
The 4K Ultra HD discs of both trilogies will feature Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for ever screen, frame by frame. They will also include a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. TO experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. They are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipement.
Both trilogies will also include Digital copies of both versions of each film.
Special Features: There are no special features in this release.
A six-film “Middle-earth” ultimate collector’s edition with new bonus content will be released in 4K UHD in the summer of 2021. This will feature the theatrical and extended versions of all six films, along with new bonus content, previously released Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit Trilogy, and remastered Blu-ray discs of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
There will also be a Lord of the Rings Trilogy Remastered Blu-ray in 4K UHD that will be released in late 2021 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.