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The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy [4K]
(Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, et al / 9-Disc 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment now bring forth 'The Hobbit Trilogy' and 'The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,' from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, for the first time on 4K UHD on December 1st, 2020.

This critically acclaimed epic trilogy follows the quest undertaken by the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and his fellowship of companions to save Middle-earth by destroying the One Ring and defeating the evil forces of the Dark Lord Sauron.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the simply stunning 'The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy' in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this December 1st, 2020.

For my money, this expansive 'The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy' 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' collection sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy' presented to us as a magnificent 9-Disc collection with a sheet for a Digital HD Code. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10 Aspect ratio: 2.40:1 and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color throughout all three movies.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably a lot of the opening battle scenes and castle cavorting), which is now interestingly different, and more "alive" with this incredible 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos and English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movies themselves, well, let's start from the beginning, shall we. 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' (2001) kicks things off. The story for Lord of the Rings is as quintessential of a fantasy adventure as, well, The Hobbit.

When I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy back in the early 1970's, I recall saying to myself that the story would make a wonderful movie.

Well, my imagination, of course, found life in The Fellowship of the Ring, a truly profound epic that set the standard for film fantasy, just as the books did for the written word.

I can recall upon first seeing it during it's initial release, I couldn't have been happier with the amount of detail it offered while remaining true to the original adventure.

Everyone imagines what a story and characters look like in their own mind; it was as if Peter Jackson tapped a great cosmic consciousness to deliver a tale that captured the tone and pacing of the novel dead on.

I felt that the readers of the trilogy had a leg up on the characters and locations of Middle Earth, as they are revealed in the film quickly and with nominal explanation.

For example, when the Black Riders appear for the first time, it's difficult to grasp what they're all about, other than the fact that they're after the ring.

Strider's explanation of the Nazgul is perfect - ring wraiths who were once men, neither alive nor dead, who always feel the power of the ring.

Coming to the movie with that understanding ahead of time helps the viewer have a greater appreciation of the action taking place.

The real magic of the movie for me is the seamless manner in which the various races coexist and interact with each other. Though levels of unfamiliarity and distrust appear, can anyone coming out of the movie doubt that elves, dwarfs, hobbits and wizards actually exist.

Even orcs and the evil Uruk hai have a place in this world, for without the danger they pose there is no triumph.

Up next was 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' (2002). The Two Towers can only be explained in one word: Beautiful. This film left me breathless. I was hoping for a film that could stand in the same depths of the Fellowship of the Ring, and I must say that it has surpassed the film completely.

There also are some new characters and actors. David Wenham is a surprisingly talented young actor and I think it's great that they actually have cast someone that really looks like Sean Bean.

Bernard Hill also impressed me. Probably best know for his role as the captain in 'Titanic,' I think I still have to say that Viggo Mortensen is my favorite overall though.

Sure Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee are also more than great, at all times, but Mortensen really puts some passion and effort in his character.

That all said, Gollum gives an astonishing performance too! The poor misunderstood beast, or the darkened soul creature whose cares are only based on the One Ring.

The performance given in CGI is at times very human. The facial expressions given could strangely give this character a personality as you would see in any great actor.

Gollum's voice is still haunting, even when the beast appears to be the loving guide to the dark gates of Mordor. For these reasons and more, Gollum has become my second-favorite character in the film, knocking down Legolas from the Fellowship.

Lastly we got 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' (2003). I think a lot of people (myself included) were worried after The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers after seeing the battle of Helm's Deep.>p> How was Peter Jackson ever going to top that great battle? Well, with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King he topped it alright! The battle for Middle Earth is like nothing you've EVER seen before, trust me!

For me, the greatest moment was when the riders of Rohan charged, it was really a moment in which you felt the true meaning of fighting and dying with honor.

Also great moment during the immensely large battle were the fights against the oliphaunts, just when you thought the battle was over, those large creatures appeared! yet another incredibly emotional moment.

The characters are possibly at their best in this movie. No characters need introductions anymore and we get to see the deepest of their emotions in this movie. Even Gollum's! These are all Widescreen Presentations (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and features all three (3) Theatrical and Extended Movies on the nine (9) discs.

This superb 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 9-Disc collection of 'The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy' also features a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

Sean Astin announces 'Lord of the Rings' in 4K!

'The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy' 9-Disc Amazon Purchase Link