The Lord of the Rings JVC DVD Player - A Review

By Elbren

DVD Sleeve and Sticker
Wow. Normally I get new technology as soon as it's released; but, I hadn't bought a DVD player. It's probably all of those VHS movies that I own that had dissuaded me, I suppose. However, when New Line announced the JVC DVD Player with Special Lord of the Rings Packaging and Bonuses, I knew that I couldn't wait any longer. I mean, what luck! I was going to buy a DVD for myself for the holidays anyhow, so why not get THIS one?

So, I did.

And, wow. I'll get to the Behind the Scenes Footage in just a minute. First off, let's look at the box. Yep, it's a keeper. No new images here, and yes, the image of Gandalf holding the One Ring with the fire tongs still bothers me. But, I'll still keep the box :)

Inside of the box are goodies!! Well, there's a DVD player, too, but let's look at the Lord of the Rings stuff!! Staring me in the face as soon as I open the box, (very carefully, I might add), is none other than Frodo Baggins, and he's holding the One Ring in his open palm. It's one of the cool movie pins of the first one sheet poster! I saw these at DragonCon but could never track one down. Now I gots me own, my preciousss!

AOL and Frodo Pin
The 17 minute Behind the Scenes footage CD sleeve with CD was next. The collage graphic on the CD sleeve is similar to the collage on the box, but a wee bit different. On the CD sleeve, Aragorn has taken the position between Frodo holding Sting and Gandalf staring at the One Ring. It's the Decipher card graphic of Aragorn that we've all seen where Aragorn is looking to his right and looking like he's just been up against a few Nazgul. It's interesting that Gandalf is almost glowing with red color and Aragorn is a really odd shade of greyish-blue. On the back are quite a few movie credits, the familiar silhouette of the Fellowship walking in single file across the shadowy plain, and the menu listing of the actual DVD, (we'll get to that in a moment).

There is also an AOL CD that has some rather cool LOTR packaging; ye olde spooky graphic of the Nazgul sitting in the road with the light behind him is all over this goodie, (even the CD itself has the Nazgul graphic upon it). I put the CD in just a bit ago: it has a screensaver, a wallpaper, and a puzzle game on it. We've seen all of this on the Official Site, so nothing new here. Nice graphics, though.

And next was a little surprise that I hadn't been expecting: a sticker!! (I'm a sticker nut!) It's the collage graphic that's on the box, (the one where Saruman has taken the position between Frodo holding Sting and Gandalf staring at the One Ring.) It's probably a 4 x 6 sticker, so fairly nice-sized. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it's cool!!

Now, the Behind the Scenes footage! The menus, graphics, and music are all very, very nicely done. Just what we've come to expect from anything LOTR that's associated with New Line. And then the footage begins...

I just let the DVD play through the first time, sat back, and enjoyed the show! "A Glimpse into Middle Earth" shows the landscapes and rivers of New Zealand as Peter Jackson and others explain why New Zealand was an ideal
setting for Middle Earth. The scenery is indeed gorgeous. We hear and see many things that we've already experienced in the three movie trailers, but a few things are shown that are new and one of them is a nice, NICE view of the side of Caradhras!

By the way, throughout each of the chapters of the DVD, you can't help but notice the smiling excitement of the cast and crew, and in some scenes, their dedication, especially the Weta folks in Chapter 3, is clearly evident. As we've heard before, detail, detail, detail...and it's there! The meticulous care taken to create Middle Earth cannot be missed; my hats off to Peter Jackson and crew.

But, back to the DVD. In Chapter 2, you get to see how Alan Lee and John Howe were recruited to add their visions to the films. The statues that you get to see in this chapter are incredible!

Chapter 3, Creating Middle Earth, you get to see SWORDS, ARMOR, MONSTERS, HELMS AND MORE!! WETA is absolutely amazing. The suit of Gondorian armor that you get to see, not to mention the row of Elven swords, is breathtaking. It's not MY vision of an Elven sword or Gondorian armor, but they are beautiful nonetheless. And yes, I can accept them as Elven swords and Gondorian armor for the simple reasons that the detail and care put into them makes them seem incredibly real and incredibly Middle-earthy...does that make sense?

Chapter 4, Characters of Middle Earth. You get the Fellowship broken down by race and then highlights of that race. The Hobbits were first and you get to see a good deal of Hobbiton and Weathertop, (nice shot of Weathertop where the ruins are very prominent.) Lots of Elves here and a rather humorous shot of Cate Blanchett, (who is brilliant), standing on a box, dressed elegantly as Queen Galadriel, but Cate's wearing what we call duck shoes! (I think some folks call them rain shoes or boots.) Orlando Bloom, with his in-production mohawk, talks about Legolas's prowess with weaponry and you get to see an incredible scene where I think Legolas has just received the Bow of Galadriel: Legolas takes this really nice looking bow, his face alight with wonder, and he draws back the string and pretends to fire an arrow. Frodo, I think, is standing right next to him. VERY cool! There's much more in this chapter: Liv Tyler talking about Arwen and Aragorn's love, Legolas petting a horse, (Bill the Pony? Nor sure...), and more.

Chapter 5 is called The One Ring. Not nearly as much here as in the previous chapter, but you do get to see how they view a scene being filmed from behind the camera. In fact, throughout the whole DVD, you get to see
and hear Peter describe how various things were decided and shot.

I especially enjoyed hearing Sir Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, and Cate Blanchett discuss Tolkien's mythology and how they helped bring it to life in the film. I've gotten the impression, at times, that perhaps Cate, while having enjoyed making the film, was not necessarily a Tolkien fan and perhaps had little interest in Middle Earth. Shame on me for thinking that! While she may not be a Tolkien nut, (or perhaps she may be a more subdued one :), she did indeed appear to be familiar with Tolkien and the literary Galadriel. Of course, we know that Sir Ian and Christopher are masters of the art and that Mr. Lee is a long-time Tolkien fan.

Is this whole package worth the $199? Well, if you don't have a DVD player but have been planning to get one, AND you're a Tolkien fan...BUY THIS JVC Limited Collector's Series DVD Player!! The DVD player is very good quality and the LOTR goodies make it a "don't miss"!
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