When it comes to highly anticipated Blu-ray releases, the Lord of the Rings saga is one of the most frequently mentioned titles, right up there with Star Wars and Indiana Jones. We even included it in on our list of 2010's Most Wanted Blu-rays. While we still may not have any news yet on those last two titles, the Rings trilogy is finally here in high-definition, and we've got our copy right here to dig into.
As most fans are already aware, though, this set has one major drawback. It includes only the theatrical versions of the films, not the extended cuts previously released on DVD. If you want all that extra extended footage you'll have to keep on waiting for the inevitable special-edition double dip, which will most likely be timed to the premiere of the first installment of the prequel film, The Hobbit, in 2011 or 2012. That may be asking a lot of consumers, who still haven't gotten over the fatigue of three successive DVD editions, not to mention the box sets and limited collector's editions that have come since.Click on the image above to watch our video review for The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray.
But with the extended edition Blu-rays still looming far in the distance, some fans may want to pick this up for an instant fix of Tokein's Middle-earth in high definition. Return to the Shire with Bilbo and his Hobbit companions as they begin their quest to deliver the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. Along the way, you'll gain a new appreciation for details like the delicate architecture of the Elvish city of Rivendell, the vastness of the mines of Moria and the dark, craggy landscape of Mordor. And thanks to a DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1, you'll feel like you're right in the middle of the climactic battle scenes like never before.
Unless you've been living in exile for the past decade, you probably don't need a recap of the movies themselves, but if you want to read IGN's take on the initial theatrical releases back in the day, you'll find reviews at the following links:
All three theatrical versions receive a score of 9 in our book, leaving room at the top for the more complete extended editions. Thus, the final movie score is an aggregate of the three films as a whole.
Score: 9 out of 10
Video and Presentation
These films are not exactly new releases, and it shows. The first installment came out back in 2001, nearly a decade ago, when the idea of high-definition home video was still a few years away. For such a highly anticipated release, you'd think New Line would put some time and effort into making the picture as clear, detailed and brilliant as possible. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case here.
Beginning with Fellowship, the saga starts out with an overly saturated palette that gets darker and more monochromatic as the journey continues. The image quality progresses less reliably, however. There's an overall softness to the picture, and the level of depth isn't always consistent from one scene to the next. That may be a fault of digital noise reduction (DNR), a process used to smooth out grain and other flaws. Unfortunately, the side effect of that process is a reduction in the crisp, sharp picture you expect from a Blu-ray presentation.
The good news is that the presentation gets better with each successive film. Two Towers still shows some evidence of the dreaded smoothing process, but it's less obvious and doesn't interfere with the underlying detail quite as much. Definition is a bit stronger here too, with a more three-dimensional look to enhance the larger scale of massive action scenes like the battle of Helms Deep. The drawback of the improved transfer is the artificial quality of the visual effects, which no longer blend as seamlessly into their backgrounds as they did in standard definition.
In Return of the King, we get the best-looking transfer of the three. Softness and edge blur are less of a problem here, making for a clearer, crisper picture. Textural details like hair and clothing, as well as natural elements such as bark and foliage, stand out far more. Black levels seem stronger here too, but nothing is lost in the deep shadows. Fans discouraged by the look of the first film may not be completely satisfied by the time they reach the end (or the many endings), but they may find the higher quality here somewhat balances things out.
Score: 7 out of 10
Source : http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/04/02/the-lord-of-the-rings-the-motion-picture-trilogy-blu-ray-review