If you missed the last edition of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, or the Edition before that, or the Edition before that, well then, Warner has you covered. This year, Warner has unleashed the “Middle Earth” 31 Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition which brings together the epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in both Theatrical and Extended editions. And there’s also those “Hobbit” movies with the same deal, but you can just read the book and call it a day, if we’re going to be honest.
“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is still some of the most amazing and impressive filmmaking of all time. It takes the original JRR Tolkien literature and fits it in to three absolutely spectacular movies. The trilogy hasn’t aged at all since its initial release, and they promise to be as timeless and immortal as the original “Star Wars” series. Whether it’s the Theatrical Cuts or the brilliantly detailed Extended Cuts, “The Lord of the Rings” deserves to be experienced by every movie buff alike. “The Hobbit” movies to a lesser extent feel superfluous and are almost a chore to endure.
Despite the brilliant casting of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, the original ring bearer, “The Hobbit” painfully stretches the book in to a dull trilogy. It invents new characters, concocts new dull subplots, and injects material from Tolkien’s other literary works to pad what should have been a breezy, exciting prequel. While certainly not the worst prequel series in existence, “The Hobbit” movies are just unnecessary.
The Middle Earth 31-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes with a redeemable digital code for each film and each version of the films. All 30 discs for the films, 4K or standard, contain no bonus features except commentaries which are found on the standard Blu-ray discs of the extended editions. This set comes with a 64 Page paperback booklet featuring costuming, photography, characters, props, set designs and still images as well as a few small write ups. Also included in the package are a set of 7 two sided Travel Poster Art cards relevant to a location from each film, as well as a “Rivendell” card.
There are all three parts of New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth, a slew of the original trailers for the films, as well as Legacy Trailers, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy Super trailer. There are also the same Director and Writers Commentary, Design Team Commentary, Production/Post-Production Team Commentary, Cast Commentary and Easter Eggs including the MTV Council of Elrond, Theatrical Preview of The Two Towers, MTV Best Virtual Performance, Interview with Dominic Monaghan & Elijah Wood, and MTV Ben Stiller & Vince Vaughn “Sequel” Interview with Peter Jackson.
The only new disc extra is a standard Blu-ray disc in a small envelope with 3 featurettes honoring the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Hosted by Steven Colbert and held over zoom courtesy of the Alamo Drafthouse, most of the cast were reunited for three special conversations. The Fellowship of the Ring conversation is forty minutes and features Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin and Elijah Wood. The Two Towers conversation is thirty two minutes featuring Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen. Finally, The Return of the King conversation is thirty minutes and features Sir Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, and Director Peter Jackson.
Also on this disc is The Festival De Cannes Presentation Reel, clocking in at twenty six minutes, and is presented in High Definition.