Pros: The 30 minutes of extra footage, commentaries, bonus DVD's, and Book Ends!
The Lord of the Rings Collectors DVD Gift Set Is Elvishly Lavish!
James P. Zaworski
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was certainly a great film to watch, and own on DVD. I picked up my copy of the wide screen DVD when it came on sale in August of 2002. However, among the previews on the extra DVD, there was an advertisement for a special extended version of the film, and there were two packages from which to choose: one was the extended version set for $25.99, the other was the Collectors DVD Gift Set, set at $56.99. Being the sucker that I am, and the fan of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the film, I purchased the gift set, and I am extremely pleased with it! Its not only got the 4 DVDs which include the extended version of the film (with over 30 extra, and essential minutes, of footage), and the two Making of DVDs, it also comes with a new and updated version of National Geographics Beyond the Movie documentary, as well as two cool statue (the pillars of the kings), bookends, a free ticket to The Two Towers film, a trading card set, and an official movie magazine for the film. I picked up my set as soon as it was available, in late November or early December 2002, and am extremely pleased with it! I shall present here a table of information on all the goodies that come with this wonderful gift set, and go over the goodies in more detail.
Information on The Lord of the Rings Collectors DVD Gift Set.
What you get in this gift set:
Special extended DVD edition of The Lord of the Rings, The fellowship of the Ring.
Features: Hours of all new bonus features, including conceptual sketches, a 12 page companion booklet, exclusive DVD-ROM content, exclusive polystone Argonath Bookends, special edition of National Geographic DVD Lord of the Rings: Beyond the Movie a hobbit sized edition of The Lord of the Rings Fan club, exclusive collective cards.
Discs 1 & 2: Special Extended Edition of the Film
Wide screen version in Dolby Digital EX 5.1 surround sound.
DTS ES 6.1 surround sound.
Stereo Surround Sound.
4 feature length commentaries by the director and writers, cast, and production and design teams, with more than 30 different participants.
30 minutes of bonus footage integrated into the film.
Discs 3 & 4: Appendices part one and two.
6 and 11 documentaries respectively on how they made the movie, along with lots of other goodies.
Disc 1& 2.
The movie, whose plot I wrote extensively on in this review here: http://www.epinions.com/content_50225122948 is really wonderful. However, the extra 30 minutes plus of bonus footage, integrated into the movie as a whole, really is worth the extra money it costs to buy this gift set (it can be purchased without all the extra goodies as well). I feel that for the people who havent read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, these thirty minutes of extra footage will lessen the confusion I have heard them express about the film in its edited form. It also further enhances the enjoyment of the experienced Lord of the Rings/Tolkien fanatic, such as myself, and lessens any criticism I have had about the film in its released theatrical form.
The addition of the commentaries by 30 or so different people involved with the film is nice too. I havent watched the whole thing over with commentary, but did so for a few cool scenes, and Peter Jackson is most instructive in his commentaries as you watch. I liked the wide screen format quite a lot, especially since I got a 27 inch stereo television, which makes the stereo surround sound available on these DVDs another added bonus!
Discs 3 & 4.
The Appendices: From the Book to Vision and From Vision to Reality.
These 6 and 11 documentaries from these two bonus DVDs are really wonderful additions to the movie, and you get a whole making of situation from start to finish.
I have watched most of these and they are pretty entertaining, although they are really in depth and thorough. I enjoyed the interviews with the cast most of all, as well as the making of sections, which answered lots of questions I had about how did they do that? questions. One such question on my mind was how did they make the actors that play the hobbits look hobbit sized? I wont tell you, and will leave you to see that on the appendices DVDs!
National Geographic Beyond the Movie.
This is a nice DVD with two extra sections added to the original, which is a nice documentary on the Lord of the Rings and J. R. R. Tolkien, and sells for $20 on its own.
The Book Ends.
I love the bookends of the Argonath, or Pillars of the Kings. Isuldur, who cut the one ring from the hand of Sauron, is represented, with his brother Anarion. These are the two sons of Elendil, who was killed by Sauron, and were Numenoreans, from Across the Sea. Kings among men, they are represented just as you see them in the film, majestic and tall, with one hand outstretched, palm held and presented out. I think they are pretty cool, and I cant believe they are just thrown into the bargain, as it were.
The Collector Cards and Fan Club Magazine.
These are all right, but not much to speak of, except for the real hard core Lord of the Rings fanatic. Theyre ok; I keep them together with the box and bookends.
The only thing I didnt like is that the release of the extended cut version seemed to have been a plan to make more money by the film makers. I bought the DVD of the theatrical version right away in August 2002, not dreaming they would release an extended cut. I think they will do this again with the Two Towers, but I cant promise you I will have the will power to resist falling for the same scheme again!
All in all, $50-60 is a good deal for this whole gift set, and the price may decrease depending on where you shop for it. A set that is intact, and unopened, might gain collectors status in years to come, so those ebayers among you, thats my tip. Get an extra one and squirrel it away for later sale (silly grin). I was pleased to have a free ticket to see The Two Towers (My Two Towers Review: http://www.epinions.com/content_84367216260), and that turned out to be a good $8 value. Consider it costs $30 for the extended cut 2 DVD set, and $20 for the National Geographic film, and then you have the price of the whole gift set. But, you have the bookends, which arent sold separately, and the cards and fan magazine, and two extra appendices DVDs, and the DVD content. You have a really nice price for this gift set at between $50 and $60, and for the Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth/J. R. R. Tolkien fan, it cant be beat!