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Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

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NOTE: These commentary tracks are only available on the "New Line Platinum Series" release (the "Special Extended Edition" DVD)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Peter Jackson, and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens Rating:8.4/10 (72 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by TommyT on June 7th, 2004:Find all reviews by TommyT
The cast commentary is great but I've always found Boyens, Jackson & Walsh's thoughts more interesting because they delve so deeply into the story behind production & pre-production.
Reviewed by mikl on June 1st, 2005:Find all reviews by mikl
This is a really good commentary. Jackson, Walsh and Boyens talk a lot about the struggles they had adapting the book, about what to use, what wouldn't work on the screen and what they came up with themselves. Jackson also talks a lot about the scenes that were cut from the theatrical version and why they were cut - the conclusion is always "pace reasons" when can get a bit tiresome to listen to, but the rationale to put them back in is really interesting.

This commentary really tells you why it was so important to make an extended edition and it's not to exploit the fans! It also gives really good insight into why each scene became what it is, they obviously gave every detail a lot of thought! Very recommendable!
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 27th, 2007:Find all reviews by pat00139
This is very good. They start out by talking about the prologue, and then move on through the rest of the movie. They talk about the differences between the book and the movie, between the theatrical version and the extended version, the production, the story, the writing difficulties they came across, the characters, the actors, the effects work, some techniques used for shooting and pretty much anything else you can ask for. They have a great love of Mr. Tolkien, which shows through during this track. They explain the many changes they had to make. All the reasons are understandable. You only have a certain amount of money and running time to fill in, so putting all the book into movie format would have been far too expensive. I was sad to hear that the main reason the stuff was cut for the theatrical version was mainly for pacing reasons. It's really annoying to know that quality is compromised simply for running time. This track never really seems long, and there isn't too much dead time save for a few seconds here and there every ten minutes or so. Very good track and definitely worth listening to.
Reviewed by Fate on July 20th, 2011:Find all reviews by Fate
These three are really a joy to listen to. They have such a great chemistry when talking about the film (which I guess should be normal since Peter and Fran are of course husband and wife). Philippa Boyens is the real gem on the crown though, she is probably the most enjoyable to listen to of all the people involved with the commentary. They together make a great trio, finishing each others thoughts, telling stories together, and really just talking about the film and filling it with interesting information for the audience.

They mainly discuss all the new scenes added to the movie, about why they didn't make it into the theatrical release, as well as what the scene adds to the movie now that it's added back in. Usually this leads to talks about pacing and/or time allotment, or in the case of what the scene adds to the film, talks about sub-plot and character growth. From time to time they talk about how they got certain shots that you would wonder about, which is nice hearing about how they blended various effects and camera tricks all for one shot. They talk heavily also about location, frequently hearing Fran or Philippa ask Peter where a particular scene was shot, which lead to location being a large part of what is talked about among the three, not so much that it becomes distracting, but almost. They occasionally mention who directs certain scenes when it's not Peter, since all three of them have directed part of the movie, it's nice to hear more than one person talk about a particular direction for a scene, compared to just hearing Peter talk about it.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this commentary is how they talk about the reasoning behind a line of dialog, or a interaction between characters. These little insights could go unnoticed just watching the film on it's own, but hearing them explain it when it happens adds new character traits and in a way new plot lines at times that you might not have caught before. Through this, you really get transported into the referenced characters mind and it really adds to your experience, to say the least without spoiling anything. Hearing the little moments of levity the cast and crew shared and them talking about bloopers is also nice to have, and of course hearing about comparisons/differences between the book and movie that others have mentioned.

This is easily the best commentary track for the movie, consider this my review for The Two Towers and Return of the King, I will add anything specific to those versions under those films, but this neatly sums up the commentary of Peter, Fran, and Philippa through out the three movies. Hope you enjoyed my review.
Reviewed by Magneat-o on May 27th, 2016:Find all reviews by Magneat-o
These three are very entertaining and achieve a nice even pace. No one talks over each other much and all have something to say. It's full of info about the development of the film, the planning, the special effects and lots of stories from the shoot. Really a rewarding listen.
Commentary 2: Production designer Grant Major, costume designer Ngila Dickson, creative supervisor Richard Taylor, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, supervising art director Dan Hennah, art department manager Chris Hennah, and workshop manager Tania Rodger Rating:6.6/10 (31 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 2nd, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
A very interesting track. Youíd think the design aspect of a movie wouldnít be too interesting, but itís fairly nice to listen to. You get a sense of the insane lengths some of the people went to to try to make this movie perfect. For example, for the scaling issue, they made different size looms so the stitching would look smaller on the hobbits and bigger on the bigger people, and they chose woods with different size grain for the scenes in, for example, Bag End, so that the table would look proportional with the two different size people. Those are just two examples of such unimportant things that these people thought of. Itís really amazing the things they say in here. They talk about the prosthetics (they made 1800 hobbit feet), the miniatures (up to 24 feet high), the images (the balrog and the mine entrance and things), the clothing (the ringwraiths actually have embroidering on their cloaks) and every other design detail you would want to know. Itís quite fascinating; this is one of the aspects of movie-making that isnít usually explored much in documentaries and things, so it was really insightful to have an entire commentary track devoted to this kind of thing. Worth listening to very much.
Reviewed by Fate on July 20th, 2011:Find all reviews by Fate
This is a good track if you are interest in this aspect of film making. The problem is, after watching all the appendices that accompanied the Blu-Ray edition, much of this is slightly redundant in retrospect to all the documentaries. I probably won't be listening to this track for the next two films, and just watch all the bonus documentaries instead. That being said, all of these people really have a love for their work, and know what they are talking about and keep it interesting.
Commentary 3: Producer Barrie Osborn, executive producer Mark Ordesky, director of photography Andrew Lesnie, editor John Gilbert, co-producer Rick Porras, composer Howard Shore, visual effects supervisor Jim Rygiel, supervising sound editors Ethan van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins, animation designer Randy Cook, visual effects art director Christian Rivers, visual effects director of photography Brian Vant Hul, and miniatures director of photography Alex Funke Rating:6.9/10 (32 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 2nd, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
From what I can gather, Osborne and Ordesky are together, Porras and Rivers are together, Rygiel and Cook are together, and Van Der Ryn and Hopkins are together. The rest seem to go solo. As far as technical commentaries go, this is a great one. There is only about 15-20 seconds total dead time, and all the people involved are interesting and are passionate about this project. The effects people have their work cut out for them, and they go and explain how they accomplished the shots, be it with forced perspective, matte paintings, miniatures, blue screen, CGI or a combination of any of these techniques. Something I found interesting was that Gollumís cave at the start of the movie was real size but was made up of a bunch of miniature rocks/boulders they used during the rest of the shoot. The sound people talk about how they accomplished some of the sound effect heard during the movie. For instance, Mike Hopkins explains how he got the elves to sound the way they sound. He recorded the actors at normal speed then slowed down their voices to accommodate the slight slo-mo used when the elves are on screen. Howard Shore talks about the music and its evolution. He talks about how the fellowship theme builds up and changes through the movie, and points out the many different themes used in the various places in Middle-Earth. Out of all the 13 people, my favorite was Alex Funke. He seemed the most enthusiastic and interesting. Being the miniature DP, he talked a lot about how some of the shots were accomplished, especially the many shots of Orthanc and its underground caves and things. All these people had a lot to say and they were all worth listening to. Some them even got into talking about the characters and the story! Interesting all the way.
Commentary 4: Actors Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, and Sean Bean Rating:7.9/10 (59 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 2nd, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
These guys seem to be having heaps of fun. As far as I can tell, the four hobbits are together, as are Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean, while the rest go at it solo. The four guys talk about a lot of goofing off from the shoot, such as ĎTigí the game and how uncomfortable the feet were and such things. These 4 guys are a blast to hear. They seemed to have so much fun filming together, and it shows here. Orlando Bloom seems to just say Ďthis is so greatí or Ďthis is so beautifulí or Ďheís such a great personí. At times, he does get into his character and how he tried to think about how to bring an elf to life. Sean Bean talks about his character and mentions some funny moments (such as his hike through the woods). Liv Tyler doesnít speak much, but when she does, she talks about her impressions of her character and how she thought Arwen would feel in a given situation. John Rhys-Davis talks about Gimli, his make-up and what he does during a usual shoot. Oddly enough, he also talks about what can go wrong with too much free time while on a shoot. Kind of depressing, but might explain a few things. My favorite people to listen to during this track were Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee. They are such accomplished actors, and are terrific at what they do. I donít usually like solo people who are spliced into commentaries, but these two guys had so many interesting things to say. Sir McKellan talked about Gandalf, the book, and life in general, as well. I would love to hear more from him. Christopher Lee is apparently a huge Tolkien fan, and so he fills in some of the gaps that might not be too obvious. He also talks about the subtle differences between the book and the movie. He apparently really wanted to play Gandalf. I really would not have minded that at all. All in all, this is a great track, which could probably be listened to over and over again without getting boring. Itís definitely a good commentary track to start with if youíve never heard one. Itís definitely a good track to hear even if youíve heard many of them.
Reviewed by Numes on January 14th, 2007:Find all reviews by Numes
This is the way a cast commentary should be!

This commentary was taken from multiple sources, see the previous review for the breakdown. Normally I don't like commentaries from multiple sources, but this was done perfectly. They put the comments by actors during the scenes that they had something to do with and I didn't feel like I was losing out on a lot of good comments. There were never downtimes and all of the comments were insightful, even if some of them were playful. I do wish that I could have listened more to Christopher Lee, he had such a genuine love for Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings books, he was very knowledgeable and his comments were excellent.

Listen to this commentary or the Peter Jackson commentary last, as they are the best. I'm assuming you want to end on a "high note"
Reviewed by Fate on July 20th, 2011:Find all reviews by Fate
This is a great cast commentary. The only people that are really talking together and having conversations are really just the hobbits, everyone else seem to comment on the film solo for the most part, even if they are together.

Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are a lot of fun to listen to, you really get the feeling they did bond filming their scenes together and have a good time together. Something many of the other actors on the commentary mention as well. These four have the most laughs and their track benefits greatly from the four of them being together. They add a great deal of info to their scenes and never seems to be a dull moment. They mention new scenes quite often when they see them, and generally talk about their relationships with each other and the other members of the cast and how those relationships bloomed through out filming.

Orlando Bloom doesn't really add much to the party, but he isn't necessarily a total bore either. This was his first movie and probably his first commentary track, and in a way I enjoyed Orlando Bloom before he became "Orlando Bloom" if you know what I mean.

Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, seldom have much to say but when they do, it's great and overall it adds to the scene in question or their character. Liv focuses more on her character and her relationship with Aragorn and being an elf. Sean B. does the same but also talks about the shoot and being he his more involved with the Fellowship has more to talk about in relation to the film.

Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, these three are the best of the cast. Obviously they are all very accomplished, very experienced actors, so easily they are the most interesting and informative.
Sir Ian McKellen seems to truly enjoy talking about the film which makes it such a joy to hear an actor such as himself talk about this film and his character, and I look forward to hearing from him again in Return of the King.
John Rhys-Davies was a surprise for me, I did not expect him to have so much to add to the commentary, but any time he spoke I very much enjoyed his point of view, although you do start to feel like he felt left out with what his make up did to him and the scale issue of him having to film much of his scenes alone. This adds to his credit as a great actor, but after hearing him speak about the film in the commentary, the rest of the cast truly missed out on his company during off times (he frequently did not go out with anyone) as well as during shooting. You will have to listen to the commentary to understand what I am talking about. For me he added a great deal to the experience.
Christopher Lee perhaps knew most about the world of Middle-Earth, he truly loves this material, and he quite often talked about the books more so than anyone, adding lots of useful information, that if you are not familiar with the books, is really interesting and enhances your perception of the story. Lee along with the previous two I mentioned, really are what makes this commentary almost prefect and a must for any fan of the film.

In conclusion this commentary is great, a must listen after the director/writer commentary. All the behind the scenes info and references to the books and the mythology of Middle-Earth and the casts relationship with one another, truly make the film a more joyful experience. Look for my other cast commentary reviews on the next two films. Enjoy.
Reviewed by Dreasimy on March 6th, 2012:Find all reviews by Dreasimy
If you have never watched the movie with the actor commentary (but you probably have or you wouldn't be here) please do. I have literally had some of the biggest laughs of my life while watching it. I actually watch it every time I need to laugh. I love the movies, the other commentaries were great too but there is something, particularly about the actors who played the hobbits that just make me giggle so much I can't hardly stand it and it is a unique experience.

Aside from that, as everyone has already said, all the other insights the actors bring are great!
Reviewed by Magneat-o on May 27th, 2016:Find all reviews by Magneat-o
I usually hate actors joking and laughing during commentary because the result isn't usually very funny to anyone else but them. Not in this case. The actors are letting you in on the joke and it's a good one.