It’s going to be your best look at Middle Earth yet — The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies are finally getting a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release, with preorders now available and shipping starting from December 1st in the US. That’s just in time for the holidays.
The news was shared by none other than Samwise Gamgee himself via fansite TheOneRing, with actor Sean Astin announcing the remaster in the video below. “Now, because it’s in 4K UHD you know it’s going to be the most incredible home-viewing experience possible,” said Astin. “Peter Jackson oversaw the remastering himself, and I can say that working with Peter was the adventure of a lifetime, and the friendships that I made will last forever. Enjoy.”
The Lord of the Rings is going to be particularly delightful to see in 4K UHD, as the original trilogy was shot on 35mm film using a great deal of practical effects (including massive miniatures) which means scaling up the resolution should work quite naturally for the most part. As for The Hobbit trilogy (which was shot digitally with copious CGI), well, some people enjoyed those films and some people didn’t. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
That’s not all, though. In addition to the two 4K UHD trilogy boxsets — which will include both the theatrical and extended versions of all six films — there’s also an Ultimate Collectors Edition with new bonus content and remastered LotR Blu-ray discs that’s due to arrive in summer 2021. So, if you’re desperate you can grab the 4K UHD editions of the films now, or you can wait until next year for the most complete and advanced versions.
According to The Digital Bits, the remastered films out this year will support the Dolby Vision and HDR10 High Dynamic Range standards, as well as Dolby Atmos audio.
It’s a bit confusing trying to track down all the different editions and prices currently available, but here’s what we found at the time of writing. Prices may change.