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Martin the Warrior
November 13th, 2002, 11:44 PM
Time for the LOTR thread.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Special Extended DVD Edition" actually has two methods of release. The first is the simple four DVD-set (two discs for the movie, two discs for the extras) which comes in a green slipcase fashioned to look like a timeworn leatherbound book (the door to Moria is etched on the backside). The fold-out section which houses the DVDs (the kind you see Season Sets use) includes, on the back, an Alan Lee painting of the Fellowship entering the gates of Moria. Opening it up you will see two "sections" you can unfold: To the left is the "Special Extended DVD Edition" and to the right is "The Appendices" (Jackson chose to call the extra discs "Appendices" since Tolkien had lengthy Appendices in the actual book). Opening the Appendices side reveals only the two pages with the extra discs. Opening the movie side shows the second movie disc and a flap that contains Christopher Tolkien's map of Middle Earth with a red dotted line tracing the route of the Fellowship. Opening that flap reveals the first movie disc and the booklet for the set (which contains an introduction from Peter Jackson, a scene listing for the movie with asterisks denoting new scenes and two asterisks denoting extended scenes, and two "maps" showing where to find what on the extra discs).

Also available is a gift set edition (what I picked up) that includes, in addition to what I outlined above, the National Geographic special (on DVD) with two never-before-seen featurettes, a pack of cards for the LOTR CCG, a sample of the LOTR Fan Club's official magazine (an interview with Peter Jackson about the DVD, basically), a free ticket for The Two Towers, and a set of bookends depicting the two Argonath statues. The bookends are extremely well-done, very heavy, and finely sculpted. I plan on using them as display pieces, actually (they're that good). While the gift set is twice the amount of the normal version, if you can afford it, it's well worth the money.

Okay, enough about the packaging. Unlike my SW post, this time I will focus on the movie, as I've barely touched the extras here (which, according to Jackson's intro, amounts to roughly five and a half hours of documentaries plus image galleries). I'll come right out and say, though: all the extras focus on Fellowship. There's nothing on the listing about The Two Towers. In fact, you could say the DVD is Two Towers-less (see the end of my post, though).

So, with thirty extra minutes of footage, what do I have to say about Fellowship: Extended Edition? How about, "Wow."?

For the most part, the new scenes are integrated seamlessly and only someone who has seen the original version numerous times would know anything is amiss. The first change you'll notice is that the "Fellowship" title is now shown while you see Bilbo writing at his desk (Frodo reading in the forest comes later). Following the prologue, we're shown Bilbo writing his book title, "There and Back Again, A Hobbit's Holiday by Bilbo Baggins". He then turns the page and begins to write "Concerning Hobbits" (we will ignore the fact that TaBA,AHH is the subtitle of The Hobbit and that "Concerning Hobbits" is the prologue of The Lord of the Rings), which you hear as a narration while many of the scenes of daily Hobbit life we saw during Gandalf's approach (plus a few new ones) are played (they do not reappear during Gandalf's approach as a result). It's a general introduction to Hobbits and the Hobbit way of life. Gandalf and Frodo's conversation is slightly longer (which, in my opinion, throws the timing off, but that could be due to the fact that I'm used to the original version). Later on, a few extra lines clarify that the relatives knocking on the door while Bilbo has tea with Gandalf are none-other than the Sackville-Bagginses (who reappear during Bilbo's party).

I won't go through every single addition, though, as there is just too-much and I'd be writing this forever. Needless to say, they are plentiful, they are wonderful, and they need to be seen.

The movie is divided into 47 "scenes" (with scene 48 being an extra set of credits, nineteen minutes long, listing all the Charter Members of the LOTR Fan Club). Of those 47 scenes, six are denoted as being "new" scenes ("Concerning Hobbits", "At the Green Dragon", "The Passing of the Elves", "The Midgewater Marshes", "Gilraen's Memorial", and "The Departure of the Fellowship"). Of the remaining 41 scenes, 20 contain additional footage, meaning only 21 of 47 scenes (including the credits) are exactly as they were in the original cut.

While the DVD doesn't contain any new featurette on (or even the trailer of) The Two Towers, it does have a TTT easter egg. On the second movie disc, on the last scene selection page, if you push down past the "48" on the numerical listing to the right, you will highlight a previously invisible silhouette of two towers. Pressing enter will play the special three and a half-minute preview of The Two Towers that was tacked onto the end of Fellowship in theatres last March (the one that wasn't officially released on the internet, which made that strobing bootleg version the only way to download it). There's a second easter egg of the MTV Movie Awards parody of the Council of Elrond, but given the nature of that parody, I won't tell you guys how to get to it-- find it on your own. ;)

As before, feel free to discuss the movie, the DVD, the special features, or to ask any questions.

Lord Servone
November 14th, 2002, 05:11 PM
I watched it yesterday because I got out of school early... don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said...I really liked the new scenes...can't really say what my favorite was...I did like the extended fight scenes, I guess. I also liked the scene between the forest and big river scenes, where they are given their gifts and stuff...

Haven't checked out all of the featurettes yet or looked for the easter eggs, but I might do that during the weekend... Oh, I did watch the one about the making of the music....pretty interesting.

Upon watching it though, an old question that had been forgotten returned to me... what's the difference between orcs and goblins? Are the goblins the ones that climb walls and were trying to kill the fellowship in the mine whilst the orcs were the other ones...

Treerose
November 14th, 2002, 05:58 PM
Upon watching it though, an old question that had been forgotten returned to me... what's the difference between orcs and goblins?

Good question, Servone. I think they're the same... Tolkien called orc-like creatures goblins in The Hobbit, and in TTT, at least, I remember him using "goblin" interchangeably for "orc" a few times. So it sounds to me like they're the same, and that this is just another instance of Tolkien's ideas/names evolving as he wrote. ;)

DVD sounds great. I mentioned it to my dad when I was talking to him the other day, and I could hear the wheels turning in his head. <g> Suffice it to say, I think I'll have a LotR DVD to watch come Thanksgiving break. ;)

Tree

~~~~

"From here on, the bassoon may play anything at all."

~Written in the bassoon part of one of Charles Ives' orchestral works~

MoonShadow
November 14th, 2002, 06:06 PM
Ooh... *hopes that she will be able to get her hands on one in the library*

It sounds... really good! Maybe I should wait till Christmas so I have more time to watch it...

Martin the Warrior
November 14th, 2002, 06:26 PM
can't really say what my favorite was..

I'll have to rewatch it, but a few of the scenes that stand out in my mind are:

- Aragorn singing the Lay of Beren and Luthien while the Hobbits sleep.
- The extended Council of Elrond (easily my favorite scene from the books) where Gandalf utters the Ring inscription in the Black Tongue (the effect it had on Rivendell was chilling).
- The extended meeting with Haldir ("Greetings Legolas, son of Thranduil. You are also known to us, Aragorn of the Dunedain.")
- The extended first meeting of Celeborn and Galadriel ("He was engulfed by both Shadow and fire. A Balrog of Morgoth.")

Of course, all of it is excellent.


what's the difference between orcs and goblins?

That question has been on my mind ever since the movie described the Uruk Hai as crosses between Orcs and Goblins. So, I tried researching their origins in the LOTR appendices, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and all other LOTR related resources I had. My conclusions were: To Tolkien, they were the same thing.

To Peter Jackson, however, Goblins are smaller, more insect-like in movement, and are what the Fellowship face in Moria. Orcs are taller, stronger, and what we saw the Last Alliance fighting in the Prologue (and are probably what the trio who asked Saruman, "What orders from Mordor, my lord?" are).


Treerose
DVD sounds great. I mentioned it to my dad when I was talking to him the other day, and I could hear the wheels turning in his head. <g>

Try building up the gift set, Tree. ;) Those Argonath bookends are really something. Feel free to use my description of the two versions in your pitch. ;)

Well, I'm about 75% through the first extras disc. Once I finish it I'll post a run-down of what it contains and a general review of it.

Grath87
November 14th, 2002, 07:22 PM
So far I am extremely satisfied with the extended dvd! My brother and I purchased the regular 4-disc not the gift package..too much money!

The new scenes are great, you can see why they've been cut as most of them have comedy that draws away from the feeling of the film. But it's GREAT to see in an extended dvd!

The intro with the extended scene I think should have been left in. The bar scene is great, and gives you a real feel of hobbit culture, I also think that should have been left in.

Goodies galore :o> 2 discs full-packed with great features, I've only managed to watch some of the second appendice and the movie.

So far, it was $25 well spent! (My bro paid the other half)

~Kathryn

Martin the Warrior
November 15th, 2002, 04:38 PM
Okay, I've finished both Appendices and here's what they have to offer (with a few thoughts on them sprinkled throughout).

The subtitles of each disc are very appropriate, with disc one being "From Book to Vision" and disc two being "From Vision to Reality". Disc one deals with all of the pre-work done on the film: the designing, the set building, the script-writing; and disc two deals with the actual filming, CG work, sound editing, and scoring.

Having finished both discs I can tell you that I was right in my earlier assessment-- nothing from The Two Towers is included. Unless there are more hidden easter eggs (more than likely), the hidden-preview of TTT seems to be it.

Okay, now, specifically focusing on disc one-- it's divided into six sections, plus has an Introduction from Peter Jackson (explaining how to navigate), a Text-based Index, and the DVD credits. First comes "J.R.R. Tolkien: Creator of Middle-Earth", a 20-odd minute "biography" featurette focusing on the life of Tolkien and his motivation behind creating Lord of the Rings (once again Rayner Unwin appears).

Next comes "From Book to Script", where Peter Jackson and Phillipa Boyen (two of the three script-writers) talk about the process of adapting LOTR to the screen; about Jackson's initial pitch to Miramax for two movies; about how Miramax turned them down; about how they went to New Line, who asked what made them think this was a two-movie project? They needed three movies! And all subsequent revisions. All in all, a very interesting segment to watch, where you can catch glimpses of the script that includes dialogue that never made it into either version of the movie.

Next is the "Visualizing the Story" section, which is where all the pre-visualization portions are kept. To start off, you've got a straight-up documentary explaining the process (using rough CG cuts to plan out scenes in addition to storyboarding). After the documentary you have three example areas to explore, plus an additional segment. The first are the early storyboards, which are assembled by running the storyboards in sequence, like a static animated movie, with amateur actors providing the voice-overs. Sometimes the storyboards will be peppered with CG animatics. Of the three examples they provide, the longest would be the extended prologue. Initially, it seems, the narrator was to be Frodo, not Galadriel. It was much longer, explained who the elves and dwarves were, mentions "The Children of Iluvatar" and, in general, provides a clearer picture of the end of the Second Age (the Elrond/Isildur scene is included as a part of the prologue here, with Isildur claiming the Ring and putting it on to escape Elrond). The next storyboard sequence is the "Orc Pursuit into Lothlorien", which was cut as the entrance into the woods in favor of the Gimli scene ("I have the eyes of a hawk," etc.) I'm not sure which entrance I like more, though, because the Orc chase is extremely well-done and establishes the Lorien elves as very effective fighters (or snipers, as the case may be). The final storyboard sequence was the "Sarn Gebir Rapids Chase", which was cut because the landing flooded before they could film the scene. It is, essentially, the Fellowship being forced back into the water by the ambushing Uruk Hai, who then snipe at them from the shores. The next sub-section is "Pre-Viz Animatics", which just shows you the very basic CG animatic of an entire scene-- first of Gandalf's approach to Orthanc, then of the Stairs of Khazad-Dum. Then comes the "Animatic to Film Comparison" section, which allows you to see the finished movie scene alongside either the storyboarded scene or the pre-vis animatic scene. The first is the Nazgul Attack in Bree, which compares the film to the storyboards, and the second is the Bridge of Khazad-Dum (the Balrog scene) which compares the film to the animatic. Finally, the last segment of the "Visualizing the Story" section is the Bag End Set Test. When the Bag End set was mostly completed, Peter Jackson and the crew were there to check it out and, having a script in hand, decided to act the scene out themselves to help get a feel for how the actual version would go. Jackson took on the role of Bilbo, a man holding a head on a broomstick played Gandalf, etc. Very rough scene, with Jackson playing Bilbo almost opposite to the way Ian Holm wound up playing him. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating look at the work and thought that went into the scene.

The next section of the first disc is "Designing and Building Middle-Earth", which consists of three 10-40 minute featurettes and a huge gallery of design images. The first featurette is "Designing Middle-Earth", which has a lot from Alan Lee and John Howe. It shows some of the location scouting, set building, etc. Next is "Weta Workshop", which takes us inside the prop studio and details how much effort was put into creating the pipes, the weapons, the armor, the models, the costumes-- just about anything you can think of. The final featurette is "Costume Design", which is essentially just that-- the costume designer talking about the fabric and styles she used, plus the little touches on the costumes like the removable-stitching on Aragorn's sleeve for, presumably, when he'd want to remove them during the summertime. Finally, there are the design galleries, a collection of close to 1,500 (I'd say) still images ranging from models, concept sketches, fashion sketches, and finished costumes. Occasionally a picture will have a symbol next to it, which denotes that the artist responsible for that piece has included a bit of audio commentary about the cration of that picture. The galleries are divided into two main sections-- "The Peoples of Middle-Earth" and "The Realms of Middle-Earth". Peoples focuses on the characters and creatures, Realms on the many locales. Like I said, I'd say they total 1,500 still images in all and it will take close to two hours to speed through them all.

Next comes "Middle-Earth Atlas", which is a huge interactive map of Middle-Earth. It's a way to "trace the journey of the Fellowship". If you select an area, you'll watch a movie scene from the area and then be able to choose to continue and a red line will trace the path the Fellowship took. While not terribly involved, it is a rather nice feature.

Finally, there's "New Zealand as Middle-Earth", which is a series of 2-minute segments (as well as a map) showing us where in New Zealand each Middle-Earth locale was filmed at (Amon Hen is actually three separate locations, for example-- one place for the shore with the boats, another for the forested area where the fighting/Boromir's death takes place, and yet another for the ruins).

And that completes the first disc of extras. Next comes Disc Two, which I'll review later tonight. I'd have to say Disc Two was even better than Disc One. ;)

Grath87
November 15th, 2002, 06:45 PM
Yes, did you notice how , in "Making of the Fellowship" (when the cast is talking about one another), the hobbits seem as close as they are in the movie! They are hobbits in real life..and it's really cute! hehe :oP

I think that the Gift-Giving should have been left in, that was a great scene!

~Kathryn

Martin the Warrior
November 16th, 2002, 12:18 PM
Okay. Disc two. As with disc one, there are six sections to choose from, in addition to an Introduction (this one done by Elijah Wood), an Index, and DVD Credits.

The first section is the one I enjoyed the most, "Filming The Fellowship of the Ring". There are three documentaries here, as well as a Production Photo still gallery. The first documentary is "The Fellowship of the Cast" and is a very funny, interesting look at all the cast members and the friendships they forged with one another. A ton of funny stories (usually coming from Pippin or Merry) are told and I was sorry when this segment came to a close. The second documentary is "A Day in the Life of a Hobbit", which follows the Hobbits around from early-morning, when they put on their feet, till the end of the day's shoot. Given that putting on the feet is such an exhausting process (the actors have to stand for over an hour to let the glue set), Peter Jackson reveals that the worst crime he could commit as a director was to make them put their feet on and then not film them (an offense Sean Astin kept tally of. ;)). The last documentary is "Cameras in Middle-Earth", dealing with the actual filming (and is just as interesting and funny as the first). Sean Bean's aversion to helicopters is especially amusing. As a side-note (Tree), since I'd mentioned with the last DVD how surprised I was that Christopher Lee (Saruman) even knew the term "Maia", let me say I was even more impressed this time around as he launched into a near-perfect recitation of the inscription on the One Ring-- in the black tongue. (Apparently, Christopher has been a fan of Tolkien for decades, has been reading LOTR once every year for just as long, and has actually met J.R.R. himself years ago.)

The next main section is "Visual Effects", which has three featurettes and one still gallery. The three featurettes deal with "Scale" (how they filmed the Hobbits), "Big-atures" (the models), and "Weta Digital" (the CGI shots). The design gallery is of all the locale models, from Orthanc to the Argonath.

The next section is rather interesting, "Post Production: Putting it All Together". Here we have one documentary, "Editorial: Assembling an Epic" decribing how they edited the movie together. And then they have an "Editorial Demonstration: The Council of Elrond", which is very interesting. What this does is play six sets of raw footage (shown in two rows of three at the top of the screen) and the final scene itself underneath the six. A yellow box moves around the six shots to show which one is being shown in the final shot, meaning you can now see Elrond's reaction to a line when the movie has a close-up on Aragorn, etc. Very interesting sequence to see (you can watch each set of "Raw Footage" by itself, as well).

The fourth section is "Digital Grading", which is a short documentary explaining the grading process (overlaying a color to change the lighting of the picture) and how it was used in the movie.

The fifth section is "Sound and Music", which contains two documentaries: one on how the sound effects guys created the various Orc sounds, etc. and one focusing on Howard Shore and his score (Tree, you should like this one).

The final section is "The Road Goes Ever On...", a short seven-minute documentary about the film's premiere and final thoughts. Thus ends the second disc of extras.

And that, my friends, concludes the review of the LOTR Extended Edition. Put all three of my posts together and you'll get the full idea of what this set has to offer. Easily the finest DVD I've seen. Given that an Extended Edition of TTT has already been confirmed, I can't wait to see what they have to offer us next year.

Treerose
November 20th, 2002, 09:00 PM
The fifth section is "Sound and Music", which contains two documentaries: one on how the sound effects guys created the various Orc sounds, etc. and one focusing on Howard Shore and his score (Tree, you should like this one).


Oooh.... does it show the orchestra recording the music, like Across the Stars did??? No matter what, I do need to see this. <g>

Tree

~~~~

“I guess you thought I was conducting, but I wasn’t.”

~Eugene Ormandy~

It takes guts for a conductor to say that...that's really unusual. ;)

Martin the Warrior
November 20th, 2002, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by Treerose
Oooh.... does it show the orchestra recording the music, like Across the Stars did???

Yep. Quite a bit. :D


Kathryn
I think that the Gift-Giving should have been left in, that was a great scene!

Peter actually addresses this in the sample magazine/interview with the gift set edition. New Line asked for the cut (they were desperate to get the movie under three hours, even to the point of accepting 2 hours, 58 minutes) and he argued against it. He said (paraphrasing), "Okay, you can cut them, but this stuff is used in the later movies. Nobody will know where they come from." It went back and forth on the subject, until finally he asked if they would release the Extended DVD before The Two Towers was in theatres so that the people who wanted to see this stuff would have the opportunity before the next movie. New Line agreed to release it a month before TTT's release, that satisfied Peter, and he made the cut. And here we are.

Treerose
November 21st, 2002, 10:18 PM
Yep. Quite a bit.

Oooh.... Okay, not that I needed convincing before, but... I really need to see that now! ;)

Tree

~~~~

Musical tidbit: When David Oistrakh (famous Russian violinist of the 1900s) was a little boy, he'd get out of practicing by cutting his bowhair or the strings on his violin. He'd typically do that just when the shops were closed, so his parents couldn't replace the strings for awhile. But when they threatened to cease taking him to the Opera, he stopped. (Me, I would have smashed the whole violin to get out of going to an opera, but... <g>) It's great to read stuff like that. So even David Oistrakh didn't always want to practice. ;)

Madd The Sane
June 19th, 2003, 09:14 PM
I like Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended version has a lot in it for those who haven't read the book before.

Rillflag27
June 19th, 2003, 11:29 PM
My friend who is obessed with Harry Potter and LOTR. He got the extended version for his B-Day and I watched *most* of it. It was cool.