New Line Holds Screening for <I>Towers Special Extended Edition</I> DVD30 Oct, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange
New Line Home Entertainment last week unveiled The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Special Extended Edition DVD contents, fresh from production, which DVD crafters said were finished Sept. 15.
Press and select fans viewed special screenings of both the extended version of the film and the multiple hours of DVD extras. The four-disc set arrives Nov. 18 at $39.99.
An extra 43 minutes of footage is added in the extended feature, including several comic scenes with Pippin, Merry and other characters. An additional scene with Gollum features his culinary musings as he gleefully swallows a wriggling worm.
The extra scenes “give the story just a little bit more time to breathe,” said Mike Mulvihill,VP of content development, New Line Home Entertainment. “There is a lot of humor added. I don't know if there's more levity now. There's also a lot of darker moments.”
In an added dramatic scene with brothers Boromir and Faramir, not in the book, viewers learn more about their relationship with their father, and of Faramir's struggles in his favored older brother's shadow. In the making-of documentaries, viewers learn more about Faramir's newly created story arc and the decision to deviate from the book.
“[The new Faramir scenes are] probably the most significant component of this edition,” Mulvihill said.
Also more fully developed is the relationship between Eowyn and Aragorn, of whom viewers learn more about his lineage.
Extensive differences occur at the end of the film, with an additional scene of the forest attacking the orcs at Helm's Deep and, in another with Faramir, more foreshadowing of future doom for Frodo and Sam.
DVD extras delve into the development of Gollum's CG character and the particular challenges in Towers' book-to-screen translation.
“The adaptation of this book was more difficult than the other two, because of the way Tolkien presented it and because it was the middle book,” Mulvihill said. “The other challenge was Gollum. His performance had to be equal to [the performances of the other actors].”
A helpful feature in the audio commentaries is onscreen identification of who is speaking, said Jess Bowers, senior DVD author, LaserPacific Media Corp. The disc has four multiple-participant commentary tracks, which is one reason the feature is split into two discs.Because the appeal of the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring caught retailers somewhat by surprise, they have upped their orders of the Towers extended edition, said Matt Lasorsa, New Line SVP of marketing. The extended edition initial shipments are running 35 percent to 40 percent of volume of the theatrical release DVD, he said. By comparison, initial shipments of the extended Fellowship were only about 10 percent of theatrical version shipments, he said.
“I think last year there just wasn't a precedent to look at,” he said.
An insert in the Limited Edition Collector's DVD Gift Set — packaged with a Smeagol sculpture — will advertise a limited edition Gollum figurine (only 7,500 produced). Also, those who bought the theatrical edition can get $5 off the extended or $10 off the gift set version.