The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on these 4K UHD Discs. Overall, the Dolby Vision picture seemed solid.
Sharpness appeared excellent. The movie always remained nicely crisp and distinct, and I noticed only the slightest instances of softness or fuzziness.
Jagged edges and moirť effects created no concerns, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. As for print flaws, the image seemed free of any form of defects.
Black levels came across as deep and dense, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly thick. The 4K UHDís HDR added oomph to contrast and whites.
Fellowship enjoyed a stylized palette that varied dependent on the location. For example, when we entered elf territory, the film adopted a heavily golden tone, and other climates might desaturate the image.
The colors always remained nicely vivid and vibrant, and they showed no problems related to bleeding, noise, or other concerns, even when we entered some red-dominated areas. The HDR contributed greater range and impact to the hues as well.
Speaking of colors, the Extended Edition Blu-ray brought controversy because parts of the film were retimed and given a heavier green orientation. This seemed to be gone for the 4K EE. (The recolored domains didnít impact the theatrical Blu-ray.)
I never thought the green became problematic, as itís not like Fellowship suddenly looked like The Matrix. The green tone tended to be pretty light, and the movie already used a stylized palette.
Still, Iím glad the 4Ks reverted to what appear to be the original hues. Perhaps some will find color variations I didnít, but when I compared with the BD, I thought the 4Ks seemed to lack the mild green.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Fellowship was strong, though it came with one minor concern: heavy bass. The original 2002 DVD came with overwhelming low-end throughout the film, and some vestiges of that still appeared here. This was especially true in the early moments, as I thought the prologue suffered from bass that threatened to overwhelm the story.
Unlike the old DVD, however, the track became more balanced pretty quickly. Most of the film displayed low-end that was still loud but not as oppressive. Bass occasionally veered toward the excessive side of the ledger, but I thought it was appropriate most of the time.
The soundfield offered a wide and engaging piece. All the channels received active usage throughout the film, and they created a nicely vivid and life-like environment.
Music showed fine stereo presence, while effects appeared from all around the spectrum. Those elements blended together neatly, and they moved cleanly from speaker to speaker.
Surround usage was effective and accurate without becoming overwhelming or gimmicky. None of the filmís scenes stood out to me as anything particularly noteworthy, but the package mixed together to become a fine and seamless whole.
Audio quality seemed strong. Dialogue sounded natural and crisp, and I noticed no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was bright and vibrant and displayed positive range.
Effects appeared clean and distinct, and they lacked any signs of distortion. Except for the early examples of too heavy bass, I thought this was a stellar track.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Dolby Atmos mix added a bit more life and range to an already excellent track.
As for the Dolby Vision picture, it looked tighter and more dynamic than its Blu-ray predecessors. Actually, the increased resolution of 4K made some of the ďseamsĒ show more than with Blu-ray, so I noticed a few slightly soft shots that didnít display those signs on BD.
However, the overall impression remained strong. While I wonít call the 4K a huge upgrade over the Blu-ray, I thought it offered clear improvements and it became the more satisfying version to watch.
Unlike the five prior home video versions of Fellowship I reviewed, this 4K UHD package includes zero extras. That situation will become rectified in summer 2021, when a deluxe package will emerge.
Not only will that set include all the missing bonus materials, but also it will encompass the whole Tolkien saga, so itíll match the Lord of the Rings trilogy with the Hobbit flicks in one big six-movie set. It also promises some new extras in addition to the eight million hours of content already released.
That leaves this version of Fellowship devoid of extras. This package also lacks a Blu-ray copy of the film, so we get just the 4K discs.
Note that the six-movie package due in 2021 will include Blu-ray versions of the movies sourced from the transfers used for these 4K discs. In addition, the remastered Blu-rays will earn their own release in late 2021.
It took me a few viewings, but I finally figured out why so many people love The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I donít know if Iíll ever reach their level of fervor, but Iíve come to really enjoy the flick and think it works quite well. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture and audio but it comes with zero bonus materials.
That latter factor may prompt some fans to want to wait for the 2021 release of the Rings trilogy mentioned earlier, as itíll contain copious supplements. If you only care about the movies themselves Ė and perhaps already feel sated with the massive collection of features on the prior DVDs and Blu-rays Ė then this movie-only set may seem sufficient.
Note that as of November 2020, you can only purchase this 4K UHD version of Fellowship as part of a ďThe Lord of the Rings Motion Picture TrilogyĒ package. This includes all three movies Ė both theatrical and extended editions - for a retail price of 89.98.
To rate this film visit the review of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING