Do You Bring Home The Rings Today Or In November?
New Line Home Entertainment, through Alliance Atlantis in Canada, is releasing The Fellowship Of The Ring on VHS and DVD today.
But here’s the rub, and a thrifty consumer’s dilemma: The DVD release — despite being juiced up as a two-disc set with an immaculate widescreen transfer and strong behind-the-scenes extras — is just a teaser of what is to come.
For that future release, Rings director Peter Jackson is extending his epic, making it three-and-a-half hours long. In addition, all-new documentary materials and other extras will be layered in for what should become the definitive set.
“I’m a huge fan of special edition DVDs,” Jackson says in an interview shown in tomorrow’s DVD release, “and I really think it’s a great opportunity to be able to restore back into the movie about 30 minutes worth of extra footage.”
The timing is appropriate, of course. Installment two of the saga, The Two Towers, will be released in December and the special edition DVD will be used to whet appetites.
As for today’s DVD release, it is excellent on its own. The movie is presented in all its visual and aural glory on disc one. On disc two, the special features introduce newbies to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien and to the astonishing ways that Jackson turned Tolkien’s classic into a movie trilogy. These extras will not be repeated in November.
There are three non-critical documentaries plus 15 vignettes covering various specific Rings topics. Unfortunately, they all seem to draw on the same set of cast & crew interviews — so interview snippets are repeated to exhaustion.
The first, Houghlin Mifflin Welcomes You To Middle-earth, introduces us to the late Rayner Unwin, who greenlit The Hobbit as a 10-year-old adviser to his publisher father and later published The Lord Of The Rings himself.
The Fox TV special, Quest For The Ring, is routine fare. But the SCI-FI Channel special, A Passage To Middle-earth: The Making Of The Lords Of The Rings, is more comprehensive and better presented. The 15 vignettes, running from 90 seconds to five minutes, flesh out the story.
Other bonus materials include the Enya video for May It Be, three trailers, other self-promotions and an interesting home-movie style look at Jackson at work on The Two Towers, a teaser that includes exclusive footage.
So my advice to Lord Of The Rings fans is as simple as New Line’s line of hype: Bring home the power of the Ring now — and again in November. Plus, you know you won’t be able to wait.