The Lord of the Rings series has had a number of home video releases over the years, as the original films debuted at a time when VHS still existed, only for the trilogy to also see DVD and Blu-ray releases. Additionally, the sprawling nature of the franchise resulted in Peter Jackson offering not only theatrical versions of the films, but also extended editions, expanding the intense journey even further. This release strategy was continued with his The Hobbit films, which landed on both DVD and Blu-ray, as well as earned extended editions. No matter how many copies you might have already purchased, Jackson recently noted that the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases of both trilogies come with visual mastering that creates a unified vision of the franchise, making for an experience that feels unified instead of one separated by years of filmmaking advancements.
"It was interesting going back and revisiting these films because I realized how inconsistent they were," Jackson shares in a new video promoting the upcoming release. "And that's really due to the way in which the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot first, about 20 years ago. The Lord of the Rings was shot on 35mm. The color timing was done on an old-fashioned mechanical way for the first Lord of the Rings movie. Then we switched to digital color timing for the 35mm negative for the next two."
Unlike with the original extended editions of the films, which saw Jackson working on cut footage and deleted scenes to ensure the visual effects matched the quality of the rest of the films, the effects themselves in these 4K releases haven't been upgraded, but merely by giving a new mastering to the films, he feels as though they've earned quite an upgrade.
"They look like they were done today, not 20 years ago," Jackson said of the effects. "This process, the way I see it, it's not about making the film different. It's simply taking a 20-year-old movie and making it feel like it's a modern film."
He added, "Great to be able to have all the films looking like they were shot at the same time, finally."
Both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies are available now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Coming in 2021, however, is an ultimate collector's edition that will contain all six films, as well as new bonus features.
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