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Special Extended DVD Edition

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 250 minutes, 4 discs, 4 commentaries, 13 documentaries, galleries, photo galleries

STUDIO: New Line

RELEASE DATE: 12-14-2004

ANALYSIS: I watched the RETURN OF THE KING on DVD when the theater version hit DVD. It was a little clunky and unevenly paced at times. The Extended version adds 50 minutes back into the movie and ROTK runs more smoothly. I was more interested the storylines dealing with the humans and I was the least interested in the stiorylines dealing with the Hobbits.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen sparkle just like the one on THE TWO TOWERS Extended Edition. Colors and blacks are great, and image detail is amazing.

The ROTK EE also has very amazing sound. You can hear the movie in English 5.1 Dobly Digital EX, English 2.0 Dolby Surround, and English 6.1 DTS ES with the option of English or Spanish subtitles. Dialogue is clearer than the theater version of ROTK on DVD except the sound effects (and music) do still drown out the words being said a couple of times.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Like the other two Special Extended Editions on DVDs, the discs of extras is a vast treasure trove of info on the movie. The four aduio commentary tracks on the first two discs might take a very long time to listen to since the extended version of ROTK is four hours long.

13 documentaries are on disc three and four. Two documentaries that stuck out to me on disc three were J.R.R. TOLKIEN: THE LEGACY OF MIDDLE EARTH and FROM BOOK TO SCRIPT: FORGING THE FINAL CHAPTER. THE END OF ALL THINGS AND THE PASSING OF AN AGE (both on disc four) also pulled in my interest. Then it was interesting to watch teh tribute to Cameron Duncan (who died very young) and see his two short films. He would be a great talent in the years to come if it wasn't for the luekemia that he fought for years.

THE LEGACY OF MIDDLE EARTH shows how his bond with a close group of friends while he was growing up was the basis for the Fellowhsip of the Ring and that his love for his wife was reflected in the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen. FROM BOOK TO SCRIPT shows a couple fo abandoned scnes that they filmed. Too bad Peter Jackson couldn't have included as deleted scenes outside of the documentary instead of showing parts of the scenes and talking over them.

Also included on discs three and four are production galleries with photos and sketches, and an interactive map of Middle Earth.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The Special Extended Edition of THE RETURN OF THE KING will thrill fans of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the extras are top notch as weel.

this DVD Review is (c)3-15-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia