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New Line Cinema

Peter Jackson didn't pull a Lucas on Lord of the Rings, but here's what did change in the 4K remasters

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Dec 7, 2020, 10:24 AM EST

Peter Jackson recently revisited Middle-Earth to remaster his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies in 4K Ultra HD. The undertaking allowed the celebrated director to go back to the original films (for example, The Fellowship of the Ring turns 20?! next December) and update their visual effects with modern tools. But don't worry, this isn't a Star Wars Special Editions-type situation of a director going back in and adding a bunch of stuff that wasn't there originally.

"Visual effects technology has advanced a lot in 20 years and when they became ultra-crisp and sharp with the 4K process, we realized that some of the shots were not holding up too well. So, we got the opportunity to go back and remove and paint out any imperfections," Jackson explains in a new video posted by Warner Bros. "I should make it clear: we didn't upgrade or enhance any of the effects shots. They're exactly the same as you're used to seeing them, except they do look as if they were done today rather than 20 years ago."

In doing so, he was also able to make both trilogies feel like one seamless unit, despite the fact that The Hobbit adaptations were shot years later and at a much higher frame rate. "They now feel like it's one big, long film, telling the same story and looking and sounding the same," Jackson added. "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. I'm very pleased with the opportunity to do this. It feels, in many respects, like I finally reached the end of the journey and finished the job at last."

Jackson's Middle-earth saga spans six films and two trilogies, with Lord of the Rings films The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King released from 2000-2003. Jackson returned to Tolkien's universe with the prequel trilogy based on The Hobbit, with An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies rolled out from 2012-2014.

Watch his full rundown of what you can expect from the 4k remasters below:

The 4K editions of all six J.R.R. Tolkien films are now available on Blu-Ray and Digital.