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Platinum Edition Extended Version DVD Box Set
Reviewed by Álfta Óðinssen
I must admit that I was a bit worried about how the extra footage in this extended version of the movie would affect what I viewed as near a perfect movie as has ever been made (see Leiðurstjarna Reviews for my original review of the theatrical release). I have seen extended versions of movies before and many times the extra material ruins the flow of the movie and it becomes obvious just why it was cut out of the original release. I was hoping that this would not be the case with the extended version of LOTR. This extended version would be 4 hours long and the box set would include 4 DVD's. Before purchasing the set I had seen that the composer of the score for the movie (see my original review of the score in Leiðurstjarna Reviews) Howard Shore had been called back to write over 30 minutes of additional score for the extended version. This was a good sign. So it was with great anticipation that I settled in for 4 hours of movie viewing goodness. I was not disappointed. I was quite surprised how much extra material there was. It seemed like extra footage was added at every turn, but unlike other extended versions, it fit in seamlessly. The extra score that Shore composed fit in just as seamlessly. What I found is that the extra footage added many nuances that were missing in the original release. It made an already rich film, all the more rich.
After the initial prologue we get new introduction narrated by Ian Holm (Bilbo) and we get to meet with more of the hobbits and get a deeper feeling for the character of this race of folk.
Aragorn's character received a good number of extra scenes that serve to further develop his character. We hear him sing an ancient Elvin lay about an Elvin maiden who gives up her mortality to marry a human man, mirroring his own romantic life with Arwen. We see him kneeling at the grave of his mother and hear of his reluctance to take up the sword of his ancestors and thereby take his rightful place as king. In a later scene that builds beautifully to the scene where he resists the temptation of the ring and thereby overcomes his greatest fear, Boromir accuses him of running from who he is. It is in that later scene where he successfully resists the temptation to take the ring, that, at that moment he accepts his wyrd and becomes the king he is destined to become, even though he will not take the title officially until later in the series. It is when he faces up to that thing he feared most that he gains the strength to meet his own wyrd. This is a lesson beautifully depicted that we can all learn from.
Included here in touching scenes is how Gimli falls in love with Galadriel. This really brings a new dimension to his character and is something, after seeing, I could not imagine being missing from the film.
There are a great number more additions to scenes that serve to bring out more nuances, but I'll leave the rest for the reader to discover. It is safe to say that the extra footage is not only seamlessly integrated but that I cannot imagine watching anything other than the extended version now.
But that is not all you get! This box set is packed with extra features. The first two discs contain the movie and 4 complete feature long commentaries. The first is by the director Peter Jackson and the screen play writers. The second commentary is by the design team and the third is by the production and post production team. The final commentary is by the cast. If you watch the movie and the four commentaries, you have 20 hours of programming alone, and that is not counting the two other discs! The second 2 discs are filled with various features about Tolkien, his work and the making of the movie. There are far too many to list but one could imagine just how much would be on two DVD's. And even the packaging of the set if beautifully done and there was included in my box set a free ticket to The Two Towers. Since I would have been going to see the Two Towers anyway, and considering that you could get the box set at Amazon.com for $25.00 and that, on average a movie ticket is about $10, I ended up getting this set for $15.00 and that is a heck of a deal. It should not be a surprise after reading this review that I give this movie my highest recommendation.
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