Thoughts on the Middle-earth Limited Collector’s Edition

*NOTE* I feel I should explain myself for the lack of posts on this blog for over a month, but any reason would hardly be sufficient. Suffice to say, real life stuff gets in the way; but hurray! I’m back for the day!

Middle-earth Limited Collectors Edition

Word is out that Warner Bros. will be releasing a much-anticipated (as well as dreaded) box set containing all 6 Middle-earth films. The release is expected to take place on October 4th, and whilst the set promises to be a definitive version, there are some well-justified concerns.

First off, what are the details of the set? (in a nutshell)

  • Set includes a total of 30 discs
  • All 6 extended edition films in blu-ray
  • Includes all the previously-released bonus features
  • 100-page sketchbook

My reaction (in point form):

  • All 6 films in 1 set: perfect
  • Aesthetically it looks absolutely gorgeous
  • Leather-styled disc cases: big thumbs up
  • The Red Book of Westmarch prop: another big thumbs up
  • Alan Lee and John Howe sketch-book: Yes! yes! yes!

Okay, so here’s the issue …

The set has been announced on Amazon and was originally listed with a mortifying price tag of $800 – which is absolutely outrageous.

We all love and obsess over these Middle-earth films but to buy this set over the ones we already own would be ludicrous.

Which leads me to another point.

I already have the two blu-ray box sets for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The lure of this new collector’s edition, with its faux leather cases and that wonderful sketch book, is too overwhelming.

The word “limited” also sets my heart racing at the possibility of missing an opportunity to grab a copy for myself if I don’t act now.

*What should we do then* I hear you ask.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the stated price is most likely to be revised. Amazon, in fact, have already removed the price tag (perhaps it’s free?), so we might get a lower figure which would make it less taxing for us to decide on whether or not to purchase.

Nonetheless, don’t expect a very cheap price.

You can find out more about this release here.

What do you think? Are you interested, or perhaps you’ve already pre-ordered your set?

Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Till next time …

23 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Middle-earth Limited Collector’s Edition

  1. Great to see you back!

    I’m not sure if I will get the set myself (I already have the EEs of the LotR on DVD), but I am happy we’ll finally be able to see, as a fanbase and lovers of Tolkien, the work and heart that went into these movies.

    1. We already can see that with the existing sets. This set actually robs us of any new insight we were expecting by PJ’s decade of promises about unreleased documentary material. It’s a real slight to fans, and one that I won’t be forgetting next time I consider purchasing Warner Bros tickets or home video releases going forward.

  2. I think this set is only for the most dedicated and completist of Tolkien collectors. Yes, it does look great, but, on this occasion, given the price-tag, I am rather glad not to be such a completist. There are only two reasons that I buy new editions or releases of Tolkien-related material that I have already got: either to replace old, worn-out copies, or because the new editions contain new material. I bought all of my Hobbit and LotR blu-rays within the last three years or so, and they do not need to be replaced. If this collector’s set had included a mass of new “extras” (as I am sure it could have done: given the immensity of the production, there must have been a huge amount of behind-the-scenes video shot, and a retrospective documentary on Peter Jackson’s version of Middle-earth would also now have been timely), then I might have faced a difficult decision. As it is, the only new material of interest appears to be the sketches, which is not nearly enough to justify the overall cost. So, no, I shall not be buying that.

  3. What a shame that WB is doing its best to cash-in as much as possible. Would it be “nice” to have extras? Sure, but these “deluxe” sets that come out long after the “ultimate extended” edition has been released are some of the most obvious examples of blind greed from an industry that rarely makes films I want to see anyway.

    I guess my point is that it’s GREAT when I go to the theater and see something that was worthwhile — such as The Hobbit films. However, I am not that starved that I’ll pay hundreds for some deluxe/ultimate simply to get a book of cool addendums like sketches, commentary, etc.

  4. Wow… That’s expensive. Still, it is collectors and it does have all six movies with everything attached. On the other hand, if there’s nothing new (other than the format and the sketch book, then it’s also a bit unrealistic to charge so much.

  5. Oh my goodness is that a plan of Bag End?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!??!??!? I am drooling over the computer!!!!!! But it’s ever so slightly expensive……. :-/

  6. Not if I already own everything in that matters to me (complete extended and theatrical editions of the Hobbit films plus their bonuses / extras). Because the thing is that in 10 years there will be a new tech format anyway.

    1. There’s already a new format. It’s called UHD Blu-ray, and it’s pretty glorious when done right. That said, the buy-in on UHD Blu-ray is a LOT higher than the cost of this $800 set, so I can see why they’d release this on Blu-ray only. 🙂

  7. I’ve been saving for years for this. My problem is that there are scenes we know exist and were filmed but never made it to the Extended Editions. I’d gladly pay an outrageous price if those scenes were part of it. If not I will stick with y current collections. Good to have you back James!

    1. Couldn’t agree more. This is not the “Ultimate Edition” we were promised. I’ll keep an eye on how the cost is valued at, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be skipping this (as much as I find it beautiful) … Also, it’s good to be back! 🙂

  8. I can’t think of any lure that would induce me to pay even a quarter of that price for some movies I already own, and I’m as die-hard as fans come. The set may be gorgeous, but they’ve really overshot here.

  9. This is another example of how cheap Warner Bros. is. This edition is mediocre, at best. The Hobbit extended blu-ray’s are a perfect example of what a poor job WB is doing with this franchise – they didn’t even include booklets. The packaging on the LotR blu-ray boxed set is terrible compared to the original DVDs. They aren’t even trying to honor Peter Jackson’s efforts, much less those of Professor Tolkien. Just more corporate American greed.

  10. Yeah, no way am I getting this, even if it’s a lot cheaper when it actually comes out.

    The sketchbook and the packaging seem very nice, but it’s all just aesthetic. If this included new special features like the highly desired deleted scenes and outtakes, then that might be somewhat tempting, but buy all 6 movies again – at more than full price – just for a more elaborate box? No. The Hobbit Trilogy EE box set only came out last year, too. It’s not even in the same solar system as being worth it.

    1. I agree too, though I think it looks brilliant. The sketch-book would be amazing. But like you, if they added deleted scenes I’d consider buying it (provided it was affordable). Without them, no way.

  11. While I’m certainly interested, I already have all of the extended editions on Blu-Ray. As beautiful as this is, I would probably pass unless I could get it for a fantastic price. (Though that Red Book of Westmarch is totally killing me. I would love to buy that on its own.)

    1. I know right? That Red Book of Westmarch is so temptingly-beautiful … but no, I’m withholding the impulse to buy. Doesn’t do the price justice. Definitely not.

  12. I wouldn’t mind it as a present. It looks gorgeous and is probably the best looking edition so far. However, I feel that the theatrical versions should have been included. And now, since I finally upgraded my TV for 3D, I also think, that The Hobbit films are only here in 2D (especially since they were shot stereoscopically and produced with 3D in mind) is a bit of a missed opportunity for me.

    Overall, I’m happy with the EE Blu Ray sets as they are and probably will not buy this, at least not for that price tag, but it’ll make my wish list and maybe one of my relatives will grant me that wish, but otherwise I’m quite content with what I have.

  13. Hi there. I definitely won’t buy this incomplete “Ultimate Edition”!

    Instead I decided to buy the Japanese LotR Extended Edition blu-ray release.The slipcases are created in the same beautiful style like the green, red and blue “LotR Extended DVD Edition” back in the day (still cannot understand why the Hobbit movies weren’t released in this style).
    They look awesome together in a shelf and are ultimate enough for me until Warner finally decides to give us more content for our money.

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