The Fellowship of the Ring ExtendedThis is a review of the 2002 4-disc Extended Special edition. For my review of the cinematic cut click here.

The theatrical cut of “The Fellowship of the Ring” runs to 178 mins. So if you thought a three hour movie is long, think again. As a special early Christmas present for fans before “The Two Towers” was released in December 2002, we were presented with this gorgeous DVD box-set which included a half hour’s worth of extra footage, some all new score by Howard Shore and two discs stuffed to the brim with special features documenting every aspect of the production.

It’s made quite clear that Peter Jackson was personally responsible for putting this DVD set together as it’s filled with the same meticulous attention to detail that made the original film so special. He clearly already had this in mind when editing “The Fellowship of the Ring” for the cinemas and was thus able to get away with dropping some great scenes that fans of the book would love but don’t contribute hugely to the story. With the immense amount of material that was shot it’s very nice to see some of these scenes reinstated. But what of this extra footage? Can it improve an already perfect film? Firstly it should be noted that the new scenes and music merge flawlessly with the cinematic cut, but not just extra scenes plonked in between existing ones but rather whole sequences re-edited with the bonus scenes. This does take away from the movie experience somewhat in terms of pacing but my verdict is as follows: As a film fan I must prefer the theatrical cut. The story just flows along nicer and for LotR illiterates might be easier to understand but as a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” I can really appreciate these scenes: The passing of the elves, some more Aragorn at Weathertop, and Lothlorien has been extended to include the gift-giving scene. So it’s not just the action and battles that get extended, every character in the fellowship is fleshed out more thoroughly.

The special features too are in compliment to and not in repetition of the stuff on the regular release. These documentaries give a unique insight into the making of the films and some of the incidents that are already legendary such as an encounter between a shard of glass and Sean Astin’s foot. The audio commentary also, provided by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens is interesting as it is entertaining. This is truly the way DVD releases should be done.

Extended Film

Extended Score

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