The Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring (2001)
|Cast:||Sean Astin, Sala Baker, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Marton Csokas, Megan Edwards, Michael Elsworth, Mark Ferguson, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Lawrence Makoare, Brent McIntyre, Peter McKenzie, Sarah McLeod, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, Ian Mune, Craig Parker, Cameron Rhodes, John Rhys-Davies, Martyn Sanderson, Andy Serkis, Harry Sinclair, Liv Tyler, David Weatherley, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood|
|Released:||Wednesday, December 19, 2001|
|Studio:||New Line Cinema|
|Rating:||Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.|
The Lord of the Rings collectively tells the story of Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit who battles against the Dark Lord Sauron to save his world, Middle-earth, from the grip of evil. In the trilogy of films, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Frodo and his Fellowship of friends and allies embark on a desperate journey to rid the earth of the source of Sauron's greatest strength, the One Ring -- a ring that has the power to enslave the inhabitants of Middle-earth. The trilogy chronicles extraordinary adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth and reveals how the power of friendship, love and courage can hold the forces of darkness at bay.
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I'm planning a trip this weekend, so naturally, I'm finding myself once again considering the diminishing returns problem. It's the mathematical rule that makes every extra dollar spent after a certain point more like burning money, every extra lane added to a road after a certain point more like pouring concrete for the hell of it, and every extra pixel of visual resolution after Blu-ray unnoticeable by most viewers.
I had the good fortune to see The Two Towers and Return of the King. As cinema projectors have ever displayed picture of a quality as near the master as can be imagined, such being necessary for such a great explosion of display size to be appreciated by audiences, this puts me in a particularly good position to evaluate how well the new pretender to masterful display, Blu-ray, stands up in this release of The Lord of the Rings.
As far as I recall, it is quite as gorgeous as it was the last time I had the opportunity to see these films with such high resolution. As it was, the classic photography illuminates the story such that it is difficult to imagine someone ever making something brighter.
The minor trouble is that it is not quite the time that it was then. It seems astounding that the MASSiVE-generated battles could have lost their ring of truth in less than a decade, but they have. That can't be faulted to the Blu-ray; surely, should I go back in time and revisit the LotR cinema viewings of yore, I would have just as much a critical eye.
The audio threshold has been passed; even among those who appreciate the improved visuals of Blu-ray, most can't perceive the improvements in audio compression, and it's unlikely that any new audio or video compression and decoding technology will subjectively improve upon the Lord of the Rings presentation you can get now. Nevertheless, we have yet to see how much further we can inch forward from its incredible sights.
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