PictureThe 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is quite outstanding. The image is surprisingly sharp with plenty of fine details on show, even at over 2.5 hours long and presented on one dual layered disc, the encoding is outstanding. There are compression artefacts to be seen here and there and edge enhancement is also present, albeit only noticeable in the brightest scenes, but even with these small niggles the picture looks truly three dimensional.
Colours are well saturated with no signs of bleed or bloom and blacks are solid with excellent shadow detail to be seen. Skin tones also look natural with close ups benefiting from good detail like lines and pores being visible. This is very nearly reference quality.
SoundPresented in Dolby Digital 5.1 the sound track is just as good as the Two Towers with an aggressive mix which is hugely dynamic and enveloping. Even during the quiet passages the sound has a real atmospheric feel with surrounds used constantly and LFE levels to move mountains. Dialogue remains intelligible throughout even during the massive battle. This is reference quality audio mixing which will keep that grin on your face right to the end.
ExtrasThe extras contained within this theatrical release are really quite disappointing and repetitive. First up are three documentaries, The Quest Fulfilled: A Directors Vision and A Filmmakers Journey: Making Return of the King are your usual PR promotion pieces with the same clips and interview quotes being used in both. The third is the slightly better National Geographic beyond the Movie - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King which discusses the themes of the movie and compares this with actual history. Wrapping up the disc are two trailers for the film, one more for the Video Game, some short films made for the internet and finally a 6 minute super trailer for the trilogy.
VerdictThe film is stunning, the picture and sound are reference quality but the extras let the side down.
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