Lord Of The Rings, The: The Motion Picture Trilogy 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 253, January/February 2021

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Peter Jackson
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy" from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. The 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." The 4K Dolby Vision™ remastering process was overseen by Peter Jackson. Both the theatrical version and the extended version are in the collection in 4K. In addition to Dolby Vision HDR, the set features a Dolby Atmos® Immersive Sound soundtrack remixed specially for the home theatre environment.

Special features are similar to previous releases.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed in Super 35 on 35 mm Eastman and Kodak Vision film stock using a combination of the Arricam ST, Arriflex 35 IIC, Arriflex 35 III, Arriflex 435, Arriflex 535, Arriflex 535B, Mitchell Cameras, Moviecam Compact and Moviecam SL camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. As each film in the trilogy has previously been reviewed, the following is a generalized report on the appearance of the remastering, which applies to each film. Each film in this trilogy benefited from a new 4K restoration by WETA Digital, which involved a full 4K scan of the camera negatives and visual effects filmouts (with digital VFX upscaled from 2K elements) as well as new color timing made possible by HDR enhancement. Both the theatrical and extended versions of the films, as to be expected, are visually identical. While there are numerous improvements to the visuals, the most striking is the color palette, which now is vivid and naturally hued throughout with a wide and nuanced color spectrum. There is a wonderful increase in fine detail, density, and refined contrast levels, thanks to the HDR treatment. Blacks are deeper and richer and shadows are more revealing. White levels are brilliant. Resolution is nicely enhanced with nuanced detail exhibited throughout. Each film is as great as the other chapters in the trilogy in every conceivable way. This represents the absolute reference quality for this trilogy, which will thrill fans of the saga. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack was remixed specially for the home theatre environment. The new mixes enhance the dynamics and seemingly sonic nuances of the three films in the trilogy while extending the surrounds to four channels.

The Immersive Sound element represents the most noticeable improvement to the otherwise excellent holosonic® ear-level soundtrack. While not aggressive in impact, Howard Shore's orchestral/choral is extended to the height layer, which adds far greater spherical surround dimensionality. Other elements are comprised of wind, nuanced atmospherics, an occasional sound effect, such ghoulish sounds, and a spider, running water, and dialogue extension in some scenes. Overall, while at times subtle and lacking in fulfillment potential, the treatment is a welcome element to provide a whole new sonic experience to those with a height layer loudspeaker system in their home theatre. (Gary Reber)