As its twentieth anniversary approaches, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is being remastered for 4K UHD, alongside its companion, The Hobbit trilogy. Both adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels will be available in a handful of different packages, as has become tradition for Jackson’s series.
First, both trilogies will be released in separate box sets on December 1, 2020. Theatrical and extended versions of all six movies are included on 4K UHD discs, along with codes for digital copies. This should be a relatively simple release, sparse on bonus features, but having both cuts of the films in one package is a welcome change from previous releases. In Canada, each set will retail for $114.99. Best Buy will carry exclusive SteelBook variants of the December releases as well.
Next summer (around the same time as Amazon’s new Tolkien series), another version of will follow : the monstrous 4K Ultimate Collector’s Edition giftset. This will include the remastered versions of both cuts of all six films in one package, on 4K UHD and standard Bluray, alongside new bonus content.
At press time, retailers have only listed The Lord of the Rings in ultimate giftset format, despite the announcement claiming both trilogies will be included.
The news was delivered by star Sean Astin via TheOneRing.net’s Youtube channel. Astin mentioned that Jackson himself is handling the remaster, which should be encouraging on the technical side. With The Lord of the Rings shot in 35mm using as many practical effects as possible, it should clean up nicely in the hands of its director. What remains to be seen is how the computer generated elements will mesh with the rest – the technology used in the first trilogy is almost twenty years old now, and The Hobbit was very reliant on CGI as well.
All three movies of The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the King, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King – were huge critical and commercial successes, winning handfuls of awards including Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The Hobbit trilogy – An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of Five Armies – were less successful, but still technical marvels in their own way. Maybe audiences will find new appreciation for it when they revisit Tolkien’s beloved world this December.