Do your Middle-earth discs freeze?

Freeze Middle-earth Discs

For clarity’s sake, I’ll ask that again …

Do your Middle-earth discs freeze?

“Freeze” as in: stop; pause; halt; momentarily cease to function; 1 frame turns into 10 frames or more?

Long story short, 3 out of my 5 Middle-earth films discs pause on an image for just a split-second and then continue playback as normal.

I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it certainly isn’t an issue with the physical discs themselves; nor the dvd player …

I’ve noticed it years ago with my theatrical disc for The Return of the King. During the Siege of Minas Tirith, as Gandalf takes over command of the City, he says “Prepare for battle!”, and Gandalf (pause)just at that moment, the sound stops and the image pauses on the wizard’s face. Then the film continues.

Again, it’s only half a second but it’s noticeable.

Back then I thought it simply a scratch on the disc, since the issue didn’t repeat itself on the Extended Edition disc.

Thorin (pause)Then along came An Unexpected Journey and once again, the same thing happened.

As a frustrated Thorin confronts Gandalf in the valley of Rivendell, stating: “This was your plan all along. To seek refuge with our enemy.”

Around this time, the image pauses momentarily on Thorin’s face, before proceeding with the rest of the scene, and the film.

When I saw this, I immediately thought of the “scratched disc” issue and did not even think that it had also occurred in The Return of the King.

It was last week when I had my The Desolation of Smaug disc playing, that I remembered (and came across) the same thing. Bard has just heard the name “Thorin” and goes to seek out a tapestry – trying to recall the prophecy of the King Under the Mountain.

We get a close-up of Luke Evans’ pensive expression and lo! and behold… you guessed it, the image stops (including the music) for half a second, and then continues normally.Bard (pause)

As I said, I’ve played all these discs in different players, but they all stop at the exactly same point.

It’s curious that these pauses occur every time on a character’s face and in similar fashion. Could this be some sort of copyright marker that the discs are genuine? (crazy, I know).

For Peter Jackson’s King Kong, the studios had inserted three letters on screen during certain points in the film, to identify the original from pirated copies.

But in the case of The Hobbit, if they wanted to do something similar, I’m sure they wouldn’t disrupt the viewing in any way. Hence, my copyright theory is completely bonkers.

I have yet to review (and remember) whether the same thing happens with my The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers discs.

In the meantime, I’m wondering whether any of you out there have experienced a similar trend with these theatrical discs … come forth! 🙂

(Copyright of illustrations belongs to Warner Bros. and MGM studios)

17 thoughts on “Do your Middle-earth discs freeze?

  1. No, not that I’ve noticed, or at least not that I’ve remembered noticing. I suppose it’s possible that my mind could simply have glossed over such glitches. I only have the extended edition versions (so, no DoS yet), and in the case of LotR, I’ve only seen it on DVD (I’ll re-watch it on Blu-Ray at some point); but I’ll look out for any untoward pauses on the next viewing.

  2. I have extended LotR on Blu-Ray, and while I haven’t seen them in ages (sadness), this issue does sound vaguely familiar…can’t remember which or when though.

  3. I feel like I’ve seen this in one spot on my extended Fellowship DVD – it translates as a weird cut, and it’s the same every time. Part 1, I think. It’s more like a factory error than wear and tear, though.

  4. I always thought that sort of thing was a layer change, due to the how the player interacts with a multiple layer disc.

  5. You might be on to something. I only had this happening with the old DVD’s of the extended version of the LotR. I thought then it was the player , well playing up or the disc being scratched. Maybe it is a manufacturing artifact.

  6. I don’t recall it ever happening on any of my extended edition Blu-Rays, and I don’t have the theatrical versions. Very strange. I don’t think it happened on my brother’s LotR extended DVDs either, which I watched for years until I bought the Blu-Ray, but it may have and I just don’t remember.

  7. It’s happened to me.In the FOTR,there’s a slight pause in Rivendell,I forget where it was exactly,but I have been wondering for awhile if it happens to anyone else.I haven’t noticed it anywhere else.

  8. the same thing happened to me with my desolation of samug blu ray disc.
    I had the idea that it was the changing layer moment or my blu ray player or that the movie is so heavy that makes troubles to the disc.

    It is annoying because the blu ray are expensive and you expect a good performance.

    1. Hi Gil thanks for sharing your experience. I have to admit that I haven’t yet tried watching The Hobbit on blu-ray. I never noticed this issue on my LoTR blu-ray; but both Hobbit and LOTR standard dvd had the same “glitch” …

  9. I have the widescreen DVD set of the first 3 movies and all of them started freezing around chapter 24-26. I have tried different DVD players and all do the same. I am quite frustrated. This did not happen a year ago. I checked the DVDs for scratches and there are none.

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