Lord Of The Rings 4K -- Peter Jackson Talks About Giving The Films New Life

The director of the fantasy trilogies speaks about the various enhancements of the new 4K re-releases.


The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies are now available in 4K UHD, and director Peter Jackson has spoken about the process of updating the movies and some of the issues that came along with it.

In a new video promoting the 4K release, Jackson said the six movies lacked consistency in their coloring and other elements, due to the evolving way in which the movies were shot. Updating them for 4K gave the team an opportunity to go back and address this.

"It was interesting going back and revisiting these films because I realised how inconsistent they were," he said. "And that's really due to the way in which the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot first, about 20 years ago. The lord of the rings was shot on 35mm. The color timing was done on an old-fashioned mechanical way for the first Lord of the Rings movie. Then we switched to digital color timing for the 35mm negative for the next two," he said.

For The Hobbit series, the movies lacked consistency for a variety of reasons, including how scenes on outdoor sets were filmed at different stages in the day. With the 4K re-releases, they were able to tweak individual colors.

Jackson also said that the process was not solely about increasing the crispness of the picture--the director said it was important to preserve the "cinematic look" of the films, while also boosting the overall fidelity.

"Great to be able to have all the films looking like they were shot at the same time, finally," Jackson said.

When updating the Lord of the Rings for 4K, the team noticed that imperfections in the visual effects were more pronounced. Some of the shots did not hold up, Jackson admitted. So with the re-release, the team went back and removed or painted out some of these oddities and imperfections.

To be clear, however, the VFX are not upgraded or enhanced. But Jackson said of them, "They look like they were done today, not 20 years ago" as was the case for the first Lord of the Rings movie.

And speaking about the entire process of updating The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for 4K UHD, Jackson said, "This process, the way I see it, it's not about making the film different. It's simply taking a 20 year old movie and making it feel like it's a modern film."

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies are currently available to buy separately, for $90 USD each. Each box contains the theatrical and extended edits, as well as a code to get the 4K movies on Movies Anywhere service.

Warner Bros. is releasing an Ultimate Collector's Edition in 2021 that comes with all six movies and "new bonus content."

In other Lord of the Rings news, Harper Collins is releasing a new Middle-earth book that will, among other things, explain who can grow beards.

Amazon is currently filming a very expensive TV show based on the fantasy series in New Zealand, while there are multiple Lord of the Rings video games in the works, including an MMO and a title featuring Gollum.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 61 comments about this story