Peter Jackson directed three “Lord of the Rings” films and three “Hobbit” films over the course of nearly 15 years, and now he’s back at it again this month with the 4K remasters of all six Middle Earth-set films. The Oscar-winning filmmaker made remastering his epic franchise a priority after a re-watch of the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy proved a bit irksome due to visual inconsistencies among the three installments: “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers,” and “The Return of the King.”
“It was interesting going back and revisiting these films, because I realized how inconsistent they were, and that’s really due to the way in which ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was shot first, about 20 years ago,” Jackson says in a new video interview (watch the full discussion below). “‘The Lord of the Rings’ was shot on 35mm. The color timing was done in an old-fashioned photo mechanical way for the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie, then we switched to digital color timing for the 35mm for the next two. Being able to tweak individual colors we just couldn’t do 20 years ago, so it’s fun having all the toys now. We didn’t have all this stuff to play with in the old days.”
Jackson switched things up entirely for his three “Hobbit” movies, shooting the prequel trilogy on digital cameras and using “a whole different technology” during the color timing process. These filmmaking decisions gave “The Hobbit” a look and feel separate from “The Lord of the Rings” movies. By remastering all six films in 4K, Jackson hopes to finally bring a visual continuity to his Middle Earth franchise.
“It’s always a meddle to make something feel consistent that was shot over a long period of time,” Jackson says. “Even though they are six movies, it didn’t have a consistency with the look of the film just due to the time they were made…It’s great having all the films looking like they were shot at the same time.”
The Middle Earth series is now available on 4K Ultra HD on Blu-Ray and Digital via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Watch Jackson’s full video interview for the remastering below.