While it may seem that there would be nothing left to say after the bevy of features on the extended Fellowship, the four commentary tracks and two discs of supplements on The Two Towers remain informative, fascinating, and funny, far surpassing the recycled materials on the two-disc theatrical version. Highlights of the 6.5 hours' worth of documentaries offer insight on the stunts, the design work, the locations, and the creation of Gollum, and--most intriguing for rabid fans--the film's writers (including Jackson) discuss why they created events that weren't in the book. Providing variety are animatics, rough footage, countless sketches, and a sound-mixing demonstration. Again, the most interesting commentary tracks are by Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and by 16 members of the cast (eight of whom didn't appear in the first film, and even including John Noble, whose Denethor character only appears in this extended cut). The first two installments of Peter Jackson's trilogy have established themselves as the best fantasy films of all time, and among the best film trilogies of all time, and their extended-edition DVD sets have set a new standard for expanding on the already-epic films and providing comprehensive bonus features. --David Horiuchi
Also included is a box within a box containing yet another bonus DVD, this one devoted to the creation of the Sideshow Weta statue series. Some 24 minutes long, this documentary is introduced by Peter Jackson, who shows us his own extraordinary collection of statues; Jackson and Weta supremo Richard Taylor explain how they insisted that these models were created by the same artists who had worked on the movies, ensuring complete authenticity (the actors themselves are suitably appreciative). Taylor narrates in detail the whole production process. There's also a printed 44-page companion piece specifically devoted to Gollum, showing his evolution from early sketches to final on-screen character. --Mark Walker
Well, this review is about to tell you!
DISCS 1-2: THE FEATURE
FEATURE (approx. 214 minutes) -
A new version of the second installment in the epic trilogy! The film includes over 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage incorporated into the film, made especially for this video release:
-Widescreen (2.35:1) version of the Special Extended Edition
-Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound
-DTS ES 6.1 Surround Sound
-Stereo Surround Sound
-Four audio commentaries by director and writers, the design team the production team and the cast featuring more than 30 participants including Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom and Academy Award® winners Richard Taylor, Howard Shore, Randy Cook...and many more
DISCS 3-4: THE APPENDICES
Two discs with hours of original content including multiple documentaries and design/photo galleries with thousands of images to give viewers an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:
-Adapting the book into a screenplay & planning the film
-Designing and inspiration for locations in Middle-earth
-Storyboards to pre-visualization
-Weta Workshop visit - See sculptors in action as they create the weapons, armor, creatures and miniatures from the film
-Atlas of Middle-earth: Tracing the journey of the Fellowship
-An interactive map of New Zealand highlighting the location scouting process
-Galleries of art and slideshows with commentaries by the artists
And much more!
-Sending actors to battle - preparation for sword fighting
-Principal photography: Stories from the set
-Digital effects including motion capture and "Massive" (a program to create armies of Orcs)
-"Bigatures" - A close-up look at the detailed miniatures used in the film
-Galleries of behind-the-scenes photographs and personal cast photos
-Post-production - editing it all together
-Sound design demonstration
And much more!
DVD-ROM CONTENT: Includes access to exclusive online features
I for one will be purchasing this Special Extended Version come November 18th. The Special Extended Version of Fellowship of the Rings was definately the best buy of DVD's in 2002 and I believe this will be no exception. Come onnnn...I know you wanna buy it! We all need out PRECIOUS!