For the first time ever, prepare to travel to Middle-earth in stunning quality. On December 1, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will rerelease two of its most epic properties when “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies debut on 4K UHD + Digital.
In 2001, Peter Jackson upended the blockbuster industry with the magnificent scope and scale of his take on “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The sheer depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic texts was almost impossible to imagine accurately depicted on screen, yet Jackson accomplished the impossible – and continued to build on it with “The Two Towers” and his magnum opus, “The Return of the King.”
Then, nearly a decade after his first trilogy wrapped, Jackson returned to Middle-earth to adapt Tolkien’s original novel, “The Hobbit,” into an equally grand spectacle. While it may not have reached the same level of critical or fan acclaim, the second go-round still racked up seven Oscar nominations across the three films.
Perhaps the biggest perk of the new boxed sets – outside of the beautiful remastering – is the fact that each comes with both the theatrical and extended editions of the each film. That means that if you opt to bring home both sets, you’re getting 12 movies and over 36 hours of footage. Talk about a marathon.
Hopefully “Lord of the Rings” fans will be able to get by on the films alone, because these versions don’t come with any new bonus features in tow. For that, die-hard fans will once again have to open their wallets come summer 2021 when the “Middle-earth Ultimate Collectors’ Edition” arrives on 4K UHD. That edition will feature theatrical and extended versions of all six films, along with new bonus content, previously released Blu-ray discs of “The Hobbit” Trilogy, and remastered Blu-ray discs of “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.”
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of “The Hobbit” Trilogy and “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy will feature Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. They will also feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.
The Nuts and Bolts
4K Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper and more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.
For the complete 4K Ultra HD experience with HDR , a 4K Ultra HD TV with HDR, an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) cable are required.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.