The Lord of the DVDs

ASIN: B000067DNFWarner Home Video Rated PG-13For all of those planning to buy the new Special Extended version DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, you’d better schedule some time off work to watch it because this sucker is packed.

New Line Cinema and director Peter Jackson made it clear earlier this year that consumers would have a choice when it came to adding this classic to their home library. The two-disc version, containing the original theatrical feature and some semi-special supplements, came out earlier this year and was worth the 20 bucks.

Die-hard fans now have a reasonably priced four-disc option, stacked with special feature documentaries and an extended version of the film with 30 minutes of new footage. I can’t think of any DVD available that comes close to the magnificence of this one.

The film, already brilliant, becomes a better movie with the new scenes. Apart from some all-new sequences, the additions are mostly what Jackson refers to as “character beats,” little moments that help to establish the characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe.

There’s more humor between hobbits Merry and Pippin, more evidence of Gimly the dwarf’s love for the Elvin queen and an extra moment of Gollum following Frodo and friends. Extra scenes include an enchanting moment during which Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin) observe a parade of elves in the forest and the Fellowship’s journey through a marshland.


Four different commentaries offer amazing insights into the movie. The DVD goes beyond remarkable with the “Appendices,” two discs full of originally produced documentaries totaling more than six hours. This doesn’t include the extensive photo galleries, set designs and storyboard-to-film comparisons that can also be accessed.

The quality documentaries provide a treasure chest full of info on the film. Part 1, titled “From Book to Vision,” includes everything from a biography on Tolkien to an examination of the WETA Workshop—the factory responsible for making the tremendous amount of props and miniatures for the movie.

Part 2 deals with casting, the filmmaking experience and post production. It includes extensive interviews with cast members and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. We even see actor Sean Astin’s bloody injury to his foot.

Speaking of blood, there were rumors that restored violent footage would change the film’s rating from PG-13 to an R. While there’s some extra carnage included in the fight scene, it remains relatively tame.