Two of cinema’s great franchises turn 20 this season, and both are getting the deluxe 4K treatment next week. And we wants it, precious.
New 20th anniversary home releases of Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the full eight-film “Harry Potter” saga arrive in stores Tuesday, Nov. 16. Yes, it has already been two decades since we packed theaters to watch young Elijah Wood and younger Daniel Radcliffe hoist massive, legendary stories on their shoulders.
The “Middle-earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition” includes all three “Lord of the Rings” films and all three “Hobbit” films, both in their theatrical and extended home-video presentations. (The latter are definitely preferred for “Lord of the Rings.”) Buyers of this $250 set get 4K and Blu-ray Discs of each film; a bonus disc featuring three cast and crew conversations with superfan Stephen Colbert; and the 20-minute “Fellowship of the Ring” excerpt shown at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival (the holy grail of “LOTR” ephemera for fans); a 64-page book of photos and sketches; and seven Middle-earth postcards.
Sadly excluded from this set: the “appendices” from the original DVD releases of the extended versions. These documentaries are perhaps the most comprehensive supplements of their type, a virtual film school. If you haven’t seen them, might I suggest typing “LOTR appendices” into your YouTube search bar?
The “Middle-earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition” could make for a good holiday gift for a “Lord of the Rings” fan. – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Mr. Potter
Muggles get more films for much less money when they buy the $140 “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary 8-Film Collection,” a 17-disc set that includes everything from “Sorcerer’s Stone” to “Deathly Hallows” on both 4K and Blu-ray formats. The discs are packaged in a miniature replica of the Hogwarts Express steam train, and come with a 32-page book of behind-the-scenes photos and a faux train ticket. All eight films also come with “Magical Movie Mode,” an interactive commentary track.
Excluded from this set: the “Fantastic Beasts” prequel franchise, which hasn’t wrapped up yet. The third installment, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” hits theaters on April 15, with “Hannibal” star Mads Mikkelsen replacing Johnny Depp in the role of evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald.
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who watched all three extended versions of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy on New Year’s Day, and is leaning toward the “Dark Knight” trilogy for 2022.