The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring 4K Blu-ray Disc Review

As we have already covered part 3 in this trilogy on an audio episode because it is Lady Phantom’s #1 film ever released, we go back in time to the start of it all with this 4K Disc review. Scroll down to see the critics thoughts on this flick and the grading of the newly revamped 4K version. Movie reviews and disc quality reviews are color coded for your convenience, BillChete in orange and Lady Phantom in blue respectively.

IMDb Storyline: An ancient Ring thought lost for centuries has been found, and through a strange twist of fate has been given to a small Hobbit named Frodo. When Gandalf discovers the Ring is in fact the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron, Frodo must make an epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it. However, he does not go alone. He is joined by Gandalf, Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Aragorn, Boromir, and his three Hobbit friends Merry, Pippin, and Samwise. Through mountains, snow, darkness, forests, rivers and plains, facing evil and danger at every corner the Fellowship of the Ring must go. Their quest to destroy the One Ring is the only hope for the end of the Dark Lords reign.

Movie Review:
Okay fanboys hold onto your hats as I set a few things straight on this Lords starter. Before I bash anything I want to give credit where credit is due. The perspective of characters is impeccable, probably the best ever filmed. With so many short people and large creatures, the filming, CG interaction, cut scenes and production values is off the charts astounding. The vast set pieces of valleys, mountains, caves, etc. is incredible and super realistic. This has huge landscapes and it is extremely well portrayed on film. I bought this fictitious “Middle Earth” land. It works, period! The camerawork and post production values will never get enough credit as it makes this “world” work. Onto the acting, to me there is two standouts; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Ian McKellen as Gandalf. All others were fine, but I feel those two deserve the most praise. I would be remiss not to mention John Rhys-Davies as Gimli who was personally my favorite as he brought the levity, and his lines worked to keep me entertained. The score is fantabulous, it’s on another level also. Each track works alongside what is happening on screen and it raises the tension all the time. Now…let’s discuss this convoluted story that has many things unexplained. On my second watch through this trilogy, I did understand more, specifically with the help from the wife who has read the books also, but I shouldn’t have to read books to know what’s happening. First off, all of the character names, locations and kingdoms are mind-warping complex. There’s one ring that rules them all and that is the basis of the whole story, yet…they gloss over this in a 5 minute narrative prelude. This “evil being” named Sauron has passed all this evil into a ring…what??? That’s hogwash, yes I know it’s fantasy, but centuries have gone by and “he” is basically conjugated as a myth or legend until Bilbo Baggins finds it 60 years before. What the heck has happened for thousands of years and why all of a sudden is this ring “gaining so much power?” I’m sure lovers of this will have an answer, but I have found all too often in the fantasy world “it is what it is.” Well, I need some exposition, some understanding of this world you created. If I was watching this as an action movie it would work more, but the dry acting by some of the leads, Aragorn (Strider?) and Boromir makes me wince. I will tell you that Lurtz is one bad-ass villain! Incredible makeup and prowess that would make any horror movie proud. This “fellowship” that is formed by Elrond is laughable. We have 4 hobbits that never fought in their life taking on Sauron’s Orcs with ease. Yes, there is a 3 minute training exercise that was pitiful. Where the movie ends is on the weak side to, the explanation why they separate doesn’t hold water in my opinion. Still though, I did enjoy a bunch of things; the Cave Troll, Balrog and the effects were off the chart great. This is the best movie in the franchise as it does setup the story and is more interesting how the characters interact initially. We will be reviewing Part 2 soon so bookmark this page!

Ah. What a wonderful movie this is! It tells the story of how Frodo Baggins came to have the One Ring of power and the beginning of his journey to destroy it, along with eight other companions. I simply love this story and the themes that it’s about: love, friendship, loyalty, and doing what’s right. A day may come when I dive deep into the symbolism of the story, but it is not this day. Hehe. This is the movie that got me into all the Middle Earth lore, so it has a special place in my heart. Plus it’s really good! The acting is great, by everyone. Especially Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett. The production design and cinematography are beautiful, and they will hold forever. There are so many beautiful landscapes! The visual effects are pretty seamless throughout, with very few exceptions. The makeup and costumes are intricate and beautiful. If I had to point out a negative, it would be that there are quite a few plot points that are hard to understand if you haven’t read the book and/or if you don’t watch the extended edition, which is not what we’re reviewing right now. This being the first movie of the trilogy, some things needed a bit more clarity. The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, and it’s one that I just can’t listen to without thinking of the events of the movie. The sound effects are also incredible. This is one movie that lives in my heart forever, along with the other two.

4K Disc Quality:
Thankfully Peter Jackson had his hands all over this new 4K version as he wanted this series to look like The Hobbitt movies that came later…so…he DNR’ed the f*** out of it and diminished the grain, YES, it’s impressive! This is a very modern looking movie that I am happy to report. Coloring is great, but not stellar. It should’ve used more HDR to get the super-rich colors that is possible. The contrast ratio is much improved over the standard Blu-ray. Colors are deeper in tonality but not at reference quality. Detail is razor sharp in most scenes especially when a character face is large on screen. What I’m most impressed with is that the movie doesn’t look fake with the raised saturation levels and wider color gamut. The visuals just plainly work. Audio is pretty rad…the new Atmos track fills the room with sound and you FEEL the bass. Surrounds are working in this movie religiously. With this movie having an intense soundtrack and oodles of sound effects, it is glory to your ears. Huge step-up for watchers who have invested in a complete multi-speaker sound system. Props to this release, as a bunch of time was spent improving the look and feel of this juggernaut of a movie. Buy it now, do not hesitate if this is your thing!

This is one good looking 4K presentation. There’s no grain, and everything looks clear, detailed and beautiful. The black levels are great, and the white ones are also very good, with a few standout scenes. There are some specular highlights that look beautiful, although not many. I would’ve liked to see more contrast, though. Unfortunately, the use of HDR is not as good as I hoped for; also, the colors look kind of muted when they shouldn’t be. Yes, there are very colorful scenes, but they aren’t the norm. The sound is very good. The bass is deep, and very rumbly at the right times. The surrounds make you feel like you are in the middle of the action, especially when there are fights and in the Balrog scene. Atmos is underutilized, but when you hear overhead sounds, it’s effective. The dialogue track is clear, but funnily enough, not as clear as I remember from the Blu-ray. It’s all in all a very good presentation, but I think I expected more.

Breakdown of “The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)

Movie Rating  
BillChete:  7 (Rental) Lady Phantom:  9.5 (Buy)

4K Blu-ray Disc Grade  
BillChete:  B- (Worthy) Lady Phantom:  B (Worthy)

Average 4K Disc Grade