My Two Cents

Our reviews of Lord of the Rings & Hobbit in 4K are up, plus upcoming title news, Cyber Monday sales & more

November 30, 2020 - 4:10 pm   |   by
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Afternoon, everyone and happy Cyber Monday. We hope you’ve all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, for those of you here in the States. And for everyone else, we hope you had a great weekend.

We were very busy here at The Bits over the weekend. I’ve completed our in-depth review of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy in 4K Ultra HD from Warner Bros. The disc streets tomorrow, but we’re hearing that supplies are a little short so it might take another few weeks for everyone who ordered to get their copies.

For those of you who want the short version, the set is fantastic. It includes all three films—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King—in both the Theatrical Cuts and Extended Editions on separate discs (the Extended Editions are split over two UHD discs, as they were on Blu-ray and DVD). There are no special features in the set beyond a Digital Copy code. However, the new 4K remasters are spectacular. Truly, these films have never looked better—not even during their original run in theaters. The 4K-remastered image falls a bit short of reference quality, but trust me when I say that they’re so much better than their previous Blu-ray versions that there’s just no comparison. And the new HDR color grade is breathtaking. Not to mention the sound—each film includes a new Dolby Atmos surround sound mix that absolutely IS reference quality. So I highly recommend that you all check out my review here. [Read on here...]

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I’m also working on our in-depth review of The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy in 4K Ultra HD. That’s currently in progress (you’ll find it here) but all of my A/V comments are in and I’ll be adding some film comments and final thoughts later today. Suffice it to say that the image quality is essentially reference quality (as the films were originally shot in 5K) and the Atmos sound is once again demo-worthy as well. Revisiting these films over the weekend in 4K with HDR and Atmos has been a real thrill.

So what else is new?

Well, our own Michael Coate posted a great 60th anniversary retrospective on Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones last week in his History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits. It features a new roundtable discussion with animation historians and classic TV experts, including Jerry Beck, Steve Cox, and Herbie J. Pilato. It’s a great read if you missed it amid all the big 4K and Blu-ray reviews, so do check it out here.

We’ve also got a few new tentative street dates for a handful of upcoming Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD titles. First look for Paramount’s Love and Monsters on 1/5/21. Warner and DC have the animated Batman: Soul of the Dragon due on Blu-ray and 4K on 1/26/21. And we expect Universal to release The Croods: A New Age and Greenland (for STX Films) sometime in December or January as well—both are still TBA. We’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits accordingly.

Also, we’re starting to hear rumors that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is cooking up a Blu-ray release of the classic Babylon 5 TV series, which would presumably involve some kind of upsampling and remastering. But a number of European retailers have set a Babylon 5: Complete Collection for tentative Blu-ray release in March. We’ll keep our eyes on this and post as we learn more.

Also, today is obviously Cyber Monday, so don’t forget that Amazon is continuing its major sales on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD titles and just about everything on their site. If you’d consider clicking through one of our links here at The Bits whenever you start shopping with Amazon this week, we’d surely appreciate it!

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Also, Zavvi is running holiday sales on Blu-ray, 4K, and Steelbook titles through next week. So be sure to click here to visit Zavvi US and here to visit Zavvi UK to take advantage of them. Specifically, Zavvi is running 2 for £30 4k Ultra HD deals (US link, UK link) and 3 for £30 4k Ultra HD deals (US link, UK link). Do give them a look.

Finally today, we need to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor David Prose. David appeared on screen in many TV and film projects over the years, including A Clockwork Orange, Vampire Circus, the Doctor Who serial, Jabberwocky, Casino Royale (1967)... he even played Frankenstein’s monster three times over the years. But it’s for his performance under the mask and cape as Darth Vader in Star Wars that he’ll best be remembered. David was 85. You can read more about him here via the BBC.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned...

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)



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