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Dreaming In 3D: Lord of the Rings

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I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s epic take on JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The battles, big and small; the heroism and sacrifice in the face of evil are all things that resonate. As immense as the trilogy can seem, its strength is in the telling of the personal tales of love, loss, grief and nobility. And the measure of Jackson’s achievement is in portraying the grand and the intimate with equal and deft skill.

I have three versions of the trilogy DVDs in my collection: the original standard definition, the extended version, and the Blu-ray. I’ve probably watched them enough that there are visible scratches on all discs, and if pushed, I’d probably be a likely candidate to purchase a newly released “very special edition.” If only.

If only someone decided to adapt Lord of the Rings to Blu-ray 3Da (and if only I had a 3D TV). A tall order, I know, but if done right, I believe it would bring an entirely new dimension (as it were) to experiencing the movie trilogy.

I had the privilege of seeing each of the movies: Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King at our local IMAX. At the time I imagined that the experience was as close to 3D as we were going to get. There is a depth of field that brings you into the craggy mountain caverns and high above the cliffs (the movies were filmed among the otherworldly landscapes of New Zealand). You could practically reach out and touch the giant Eagles sent by Gandalf to rescue Frodo and Sam Gamgee in Return, so real they seem on the giant ultra high-definition IMAX rendering.

A 3D version would one-up even this experience, and although it would play on a television and not on the enormous screen of the IMAX theater, the special high tech glasses used with new 3D TVs like Sony’s Bravia, effectively cause the image to fill your field of vision. (Actually they do this by blocking the periphery, really immersing you in the action.)

So, why for TV? Why not just re-release the movies to 3D IMAX altogether? I think the potential of 3D TV is in providing special tracks and features (like embedded games) to enhance the viewing experience—something impossible within the theatrical release experience.

The beauty of 3D TV is its ability to immerse the viewer directly into the action. But what if there were customizable 3D points of view (POV, something impossible to do in theatrical release)? We can ride with the Rohirim—the horsemen of Rohan—at Helms Deep or stand within in the crowd at the top Minas Tirith in Gondor as Aragorn is crowned (and he and Arwen finally kiss!). We can attend Bilbo’s party at the start of the first film and walk alongside the Fellowship as it begins its quest for the One Ring. We can even swim alongside Gollum as he catches a fish. For the less easily frightened among us, we can become embroiled in the final battle in Gondor and stand with Eowyn as she confronts the Nazgul towards the end of Return of the King.

This would make an irresistible package, and one for which I might just decide that a 3D TV has become a new household necessity. And I have heard rumors that Lord of the Rings might be in line for a 3D retrofit. Peter Jackson? New Line? Legend 3D? Are you listening?

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics. Her first Historical Fantasy novel, The Apothecary's Curse is due out from Prometheus Books (Pyr Imprint) October 2016. A noted entertainment writer, Barbara is author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.. She has contributed short stories to two anthologies, and chapters in a non-fiction book on spirituality and pregnancy. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality.