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Expecting A Ringing Success

5 Nov, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

Fans of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring can expect to be well rewarded for the wait between DVD editions of the film.

It's no secret that the extended version debuting next Tuesday has more than half an hour of additional footage, but the lingering question has been whether New Line Home Entertainment could pull off an extended version that didn't look contrived, as so many extended versions do.

The answer appears to be a resounding “Yes.”

The word on everyone's lips after New Line treated a few lucky reporters to an advance screening of the extended cut last night was “seamless.”

This version is a treat for movie fans in general, not just Rings fans, because it's truly amazing how viewers walk away feeling satisfied without ever noticing where much of the new footage is.

There are a few scenes that anyone who saw the first version will recognize as extended – notably the backstory on Galadriel's gifts to the members of the fellowship and a few extended battle scenes.

But the real magic is in the smaller insertions, the details woven in so skillfully that they make the tapestry of the story richer in an almost subliminal way. These micro extensions are so small that anyone who's read the book will have to think twice about whether they saw that detail in the last movie or just imagined it because they knew the story.

All that remains to be seen is how well the two special editions – one a four-disc boxed set and the other that set plus a handful of Rings memorabilia -- will sell. The volume of copies of the first version sold means a lot of people may be reluctant to shell out for another copy, at least out of the gate.

But there's also a significant group, myself included, that didn't care to buy a copy of the first version because we knew this one was coming. In my case, that's all about the extended film, not the extras, which may hold treasures of their own.

I'm predicting that not only will the extended version do well in this new release, but that copies of the first version will start showing up in used DVD bins in droves as consumers learn how good the extended version really is and start trading off the copies the new version relegates to mere stopgaps.

Like the story, the lure of the Ring is strong and the temptation great. And the spoils will go to those who stuck out the journey, whether their fans or filmmakers.

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