Now then, the big announcement news today is that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has finally made their Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition 4K and Blu-ray box set official for release on 10/26. From the studio’s official press release:
31-Disc Set features the theatrical and extended versions of the six Middle-earth films in 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and on remastered Bu-ray
Ultimate Collectors’ Edition also includes Bonus Content never before released for Home Entertainment, collectible packaging, art cards, and more!
“BURBANK, CA, September 9, 2021 – Celebrate 20 years of adventure and friendship as Warner Bros. releases the Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition, timed to the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The 31-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga contains new special features along with the theatrical and extended versions of all six films in 4K Ultra HD and on Blu-ray discs remastered from the 4K master. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be released on October 26.
“The Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes the theatrical and extended versions of the six films from New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures in 4K UHD with HDR – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
“The Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes in unique “Puzzle Box” collectible packaging and includes a 64-page booklet featuring costumes, photography and production notes from the film, and art cards featuring travel posters and images from iconic locations throughout Middle-earth including The Shire, Lake-Town, Erebor, Anduin, Rohan, Minas Trith, and Rivendell.
“Also included are the original Cannes Film Festival presentation reel, and footage from the recent Alamo Drafthouse cast reunion featuring director Peter Jackson along with cast members Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellan, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortenson, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood.
“4K Ultra HD showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, and more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before. The 4K remastering process was overseen by Peter Jackson.
“The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will feature Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will also feature 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.
“Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition contains the following special features:
- Cannes Film Festival Presentation Reel
- Alamo Drafthouse Cast Reunion: The Fellowship of the Ring (with Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin and Elijah Wood – RT: 39:38)
- Alamo Drafthouse Cast Reunion: The Two Towers (with Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortenson – RT: 32:24)
- Alamo Drafthouse Cast Reunion: The Return of the King (with Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, and Peter Jackson – RT: 29:48)
And once again, here’s the cover artwork…
In other 4K UHD news today, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has revealed that they’re going to be releasing John Waters’ Cry-Baby (1990) on the format. Street date is currently listed as “coming soon” but expect a new 4K scan of the original camera negative with Dolby Vision HDR. Hats off to Kino Lorber Studio Classics for doing so many great deep catalog titles on the format!
Meanwhile, Ronin Flix has announced plans to release the shocker I Spit on Your Grave (1978) on 4K Ultra HD as a 3-disc set, mastered from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. A bonus Blu-ray will include the 2019 documentary Growing Up with I Spit on Your Grave along with all of the previous Ronin Flix special features. Look for that to street on 10/26.
In less good news on the 4K front, StudioCanal is apparently re-releasing their 4K Ultra HD edition of James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day in a new 30th Anniversary Edition on December 6th, complete with fresh packaging and a new Endoskull replica. Unfortunately, it’s apparently still the same heavily DNR-scrubbed 3D master used for the image. I know people who’ve seen that original 4K scan and restoration who report that it looks fantastic. If StudioCanal would release that, I’d be happy to buy it. As it stands, I couldn’t even bring myself to review their original T2 4K, it was so horrifyingly bad. I mean, it’s embarrassingly bad. As in, it should never have been released, and the powers that be at StudioCanal should have known it was terrible. And the fact that they’re re-releasing it now without correcting it makes me doubt their judgment as a company. Even thinking about this is making me angry. Not only should T2 fans NOT buy this new 4K set, they should go on social media and politely request that StudioCanal fix this disaster for the new release.
Don’t believe me that it’s bad? This is the message that appears when you play the film in 4K Ultra HD…
Why the hell does a 4K Ultra HD release need a message about “This 3D Version” when it’s not actually in 3D? Because someone at StudioCanal got lazy (or didn’t know the difference) and grabbed the actual 3D master to use for their 4K release instead of the proper original 4K master. The problem with that, is that the 3D master was scrubbed of all film grain and fine image detail in order to make 3D post-conversion easier... WHICH IS THE LAST DAMN THING YOU WANT TO DO FOR AN ACTUAL 4K ULTRA HD RELEASE!
Anyway, enough said.
In 4K better news, Paramount Plus has just released a brief teaser shot for the forthcoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Director’s Edition restoration that’s currently underway. Here’s what that looks like (be sure to watch it in full HD)…
And before you ask… YES, this will come to physical Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD eventually (probably late next year) after “an exclusive window” on Paramount Plus. But hey—they helped to pay for this 4K restoration, so we should all be grateful to them for it. I certainly am!
Also, while we’re talking YouTube teasers, Warner Bros. has just released the first trailer for Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections (and you’ll definitely want to make sure to watch this one in HD)…
I love The Matrix. By my reckoning, it’s one of the great sci-fi films of all time—easily Top 5. Yes, the sequels were a bloated mess. But I give the Wachowskis a huge amount of credit for ambition. And if Lana has another high concept story to tell in this world, I’m damn sure down to watching it with an open mind.
Okay, we’ve got one last item for you today… it appears that Lloyds is auctioning off all of the vehicles used in the making of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road later this month. Is anybody out there in the market for a slightly-used Doof Wagon? Here’s the link (and the picture from the online auction catalog!)…
All right, we’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for more upcoming Blu-ray and 4K titles, with Amazon.com pre-order links if available (note that the Indiana Jones SKU is the 4K Steelbook edition coming soon in wide release)…
Back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned...