Last week, Warner Home Video released the theatrical cut of the Lord of the Rings films on Blu-ray, prompting speculation about the differences between the new release and previous ones, and invoking fanboy frustration at the absence of the Extended Editions in a high-definition format. (Click here to check out my review here on Cinematical.) Subsequently, I spoke to both Rings effects guru Richard Taylor and DVD and Blu-ray producer Michael Pellerin, each of whom offered opinions and insights into the process of upgrading the films and fleshing out their already-substantial spate of bonus content. And while Taylor's considerable expertise on Lord of the Rings unfortunately didn't extend to the home-video iterations of the films, Pellerin provided some new and specific information about both this Blu-ray release, and potential future ones, that will no doubt have fans of the franchise buzzing with excitement.
During a telephone interview last week for Hollywood News, Pellerin explained first and foremost that the transfers on last week's release were different and for many reasons better than even the high-definition versions that were used for cable broadcasts of the trilogy.
"They actually went in and created entirely new HD masters of these three films," Pellerin explained. "So all three of them are new masters; even if you've seen them broadcast, the Blu-rays are actually newer masters that were approved by Peter [Jackson] and his director of photography."
Meanwhile, in terms of the audio, Pellerin indicated that this release actually afforded Jackson and company to repair some of the shortcomings of previous releases. Pellerin revealed, "we were able to do was [get] Chris Boyes and Michael Semanick, two of the guys who mixed the original films, to actually go back and supervise a new near-field mix of Fellowship to bring it in line with Two Towers and Return of the King."
"This is something that has never been told to the public or anything and no one's ever known about it," Pellerin continued. "But they were able to go back and fix the mix and bring it in line so that it actually replicates the theatrical experience and matches the two other films."
Most excitingly, Pellerin hinted at the possibility of some 20 hours or more of new materials that might one day appear on a boxed set that Jackson planned since starting the saga. "There's also another approximately 20 hours of materials and ideas that we specifically saved for future use," Pellerin said. "The tone of these materials is not so much about filmmaking process – as we already covered that already – but instead about the experience of living and making these films for 10 years, which goes way beyond the movies themselves, capturing what it was like to go through this experience – the human side of it."
Check out the full interview at Hollywood News for more details. But let us know: would you be interested in another day's worth of extras for the Lord of the Rings films given the wealth of bonus content already available? Leaves us a comment with your thoughts below!