LOTR: The Fellowship Of The Ring Extended Edition 5-Disc Set [Blu-ray]

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is available in multiple formats and editions, each with their own flair, features, and cover art. Depending on whether you are a casual LOTR fan or an avid one, different sets are available to suit your Blu-ray or DVD needs. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition 5-Disc single set is for the superfans, featuring the best picture and number of bonus features that money can buy. The Fellowship of the Ring is one of the most widely recognized books and films in the world. Its story, about Frodo’s journey to destroy the One Ring, is a tale of friendship and trials, joy and pain. In The Fellowship of the Ring, nine beings set out to save the day, and all nine are important to the ultimate outcome. It’s a strategy other hero stories have employed in the past and in the time since, but the bonds forged in The Fellowship of the Ring are especially compelling.

It’s been over a decade since Peter Jackson completed the first film in his trilogy. At the time, studios and fans alike waited—and hoped—expectantly that Jackson’s vision could match the intentions of Tolkien and still provide a great storytelling narrative on film. Anyone who expected a movie to feature every single moment from a thousand page book was probably sorely disappointed by the results, but also probably a little crazy to begin with. Creating a word-for-word copy was never Jackson’s intention. Creating a masterful retelling that maintained the integrity of the novel’s characters and the book’s lush landscape was. If The Fellowship of the Ring hasn’t become a classic already, it will be, and watching the film in 1080 p with remastered audio only serves to supplement its epic status.

Are you looking for Cinema Blend’s reviews of the Extended Edition 5-Disc singles sets for The Two Towers or The Return of the King? We’ve got them! The 5-disc Fellowship of the Ring set offers bonus features on every disc, which is a feat, but even the menu page is prettily done and easy to navigate through. After finishing the film, fans can look into commentary that runs throughout the entire movie. There are four options to choose from: “Director and Writer Commentary”, “Cast Commentary,” “Production Team Commentary,” and “Design Team Commentary.” Each of these is interesting in its own right, and features different sorts of information due to the different experiences of the cast and crew members.

It’s fascinating to watch the film from different angles of the process, but it would probably be better to tackle these at different times rather than all in a row, like I foolishly attempted. One cool feature within the commentary: if you are partially through the movie and want to switch from one commentary to the other, you can simply pull up the menu and switch commentary without starting the movie over again! Because the movie is so long, it has to be split up into two discs, like an old school DVD set. This isn’t really inconvenient with the commentary, but it was far more annoying when I was in the middle of watching the flick.

Disc 3 is titled “From Book to Vision.” This features a slew of extras about Tolkien, Middle-earth, and creating the story in a New Zealand landscape. “J.R.R. Tolkien – Creator of Middle-earth,” is a biography of the late author that discusses his early life, his never-ending quest to work on stories about Middle-earth, and his disdain for editing. “From Book to Script,” “Visualizing the Story,” “Designing and Building Middle-earth” pretty much provide every detail concerning creating a visual world from the terms and stories in Tolkien’s works. The latter segment even has a design gallery that can be viewed as a slideshow. Plus, some of those designs even had audio commentary. Seriously, this set takes hours to get through, but it’s quite the adventure.

The final features on Disc 3 are some of the coolest with the set, at least if you are a person that has a compulsion to buy any books that come with a map in the front or back. The segments “New Zealand as Middle-earth” and “Middle-earth Atlas” feature maps that are interactive. Details emerge as you click on locations. The map locations in the “New Zealand” bonus feature look at how filming locations were chosen to fit the landscape of the scene. The “Middle-earth Atlas” map allows buyers to click on locations and see timeline-specific film sequences, as well as trace Frodo and Gandalf’s journeys.

Disc 4 spends time looking at the actual filmmaking process. “Filming The Fellowship of the Ring” has several segments within the section. Cast interactions are discussed, and they all sort of crack jokes about Elijah Wood constantly sleeping on set. There are so many great details and stories I don’t have space to relate, here, but needless to say, everyone seems to have been fairly close knit.

Also on Disc 4, there is a really awesome set of post-production sequences that show how scenes were filmed from multiple angles and then placed together into the final footage. You can even watch each camera angle individually. “Digital Grading” “Sound and Music” and “The Road Goes Ever On” offer similar segments that discuss different aspects of putting together the film in detail.

Disc 5 is mainly around for its raw documentary. Different aspects of shooting are uncovered and some of the challenges and interesting shooting tactics used when filming are looked at. This is cut together pretty well, but be forewarned “The Fellowship of the Ring Behind-the-Scenes” segment means it when it says “raw footage.”

This set is arduous, but in a fun way. There’s a lot to get through, and even some extras-within-extras, and it is probably best when taken at a leisurely pace. However, if there was ever a series that had the fan base to contain so many extras, the Lord of the Rings trilogy would certainly be it. For fans with a true depth of caring, I can’t imagine a set with more information and appeal.