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January 14, 2005

Peter Jackson talks of Lord of the Rings Ultimate Box Set

— Posted by John Campea

ROTK_12.jpgI make no secret of the fact that I love Home Cinema, and with the current state of the local Cinema offerings, I often prefer it to the Cinema itself – although nothing can beat that big screen experience, yet – but there is one thing that really gets my goat about the whole marketplace of DVD movies, and that’s the Special Edition.

It’s now totally accepted that the first version of a movie released on DVD will be the bog standard movie, with trailers and a few small extras, perhaps a commentary of some description, and that’s your lot if you’re lucky.

Wait six months and along comes the Special Edition with surprising new footage, deleted scenes, extra commentaries, all those interesting additions to a DVD (not such paltry things as photo galleries, TV special “making of” documentaries, etc.

It’s so much an ingrained part of the common release culture it’s insane. Nowhere can you see it more than with the Lord of the Rings DVD’s. When the first set of released were announced you could even find the release dates and further extras for the Special Editions due out some months later. So naturally, those were the ones I ordered and waited for, avoiding the first DVD’s like the plague.

So now what happens? Coming Soon, that bastion of front line reporting, comes out with snippets from a USA Today interview with Peter Jackson that there is more additional footage to be shown and an ultimate box set is due.

The set will included the three extended versions (not combined into one film) and likely won’t arrive in stores for another two or three years.

“I don’t want to add more footage,” Jackson says. “There’s as much in there as we want. Eventually you are just going to go backward and weaken the films.” Instead, he would prefer to simply show the unused deleted scenes and explain why they were cut.

Jackson would also like to include feature-lenght documentaries, made by longtime associate Costa Botes, on the making of the movies. “There are no commentary or interviews. It’s like a reality TV show,” Jackson says.

He adds that the bloopers, or “bleepers” as Jackson calls them, would also be a new feature. They were previously only shown to the major cast members as a farewell tribute after they finished filming.

No real surprise on that release, I think we could have all seen that one coming, but with more footage still available? It is good though that he can stick firm to his beliefs and not have them added into the movie, that the movies are now complete.

Now I can, at a stretch, understand the distinction between the Special Editions and the Box Set. The Director’s complete work is on the Special Edition and the…actually, stop. The more I think about it the more I can’t see why. All the material was available at the time, and yes it’s obvious to say that they are a business and they need money. That argument can also be used of the ticket touts dealing with tickets for the Tsunami gig, or ridiculous prices at the Cinema.

All the footage has been there already, everything to make the complete DVD. Let’s face it, the first release was to capture the people who are desperate to buy it, and perhaps want the original movie. That being said, I have a load of DVD’s that have both options, and on X-Men it even intercuts the deleted scenes straight into the movie if you require.

The second release was to get all those who wanted the extras and the Directors Edition, and re-sell to the first group. With the final release aimed at all the previous purchasers once again.

It’s a big money making scheme against the purchasers. I hate it. Although there is an easy way round it, wait for the Special Edition if you know there’s one due.

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