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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Fantasy Literature > J.R.R. Tolkien: Master of the Rings DVD/CD set

J.R.R. Tolkien: Master Of The Rings (DVD/CD set)


Picture: C-   Sound: C-   Extras: C   Documentary: C   CD: B+



Eagle Vision has teamed up on several projects with Warner Bros., including Janet Jackson In Hawaii, have released a CD/DVD set on J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord Of The Rings books.  The CD turns out to be the highlight of the two, offering ten impressive instrumental pieces by legendary Yes musician Rick Wakeman.  A member from the band’s glorious vintage years, Wakeman has had a long and impressive string of solo projects that have often emphasized orchestral luster.  This disc is no exception.  These pieces rival the score that the feature films compositions by the ever-impressive Howard Shore has produced.  However, these are meant to function more with the book, requiring both more knowledge of the books and imagination/participation in the listening.


The content is a basic introduction, and explanation of the world is basic, though has reliable detail.  The success of the films makes these explanations less exclusive than before, but they are still accurate.  New fans might just find them boring, however.  Warner obviously wanted this set issued as a way to help the films succeed, so it serves its purpose, but this should either be for 1) Wakeman fans, 2) persons trying to learn about the subject, or 3) diehard Tolkien/Rings fans.


Extras include 50 stills that could have been much larger in presentation, an “Interactive Interviews” section where various experts answer supposedly common questions about Rings and/or Tolkien, and there is an “Inspirations” section with music by the band Mostly Autumn inspired by the Rings and comments by Wakeman, Ken Hensley, and Roger Dean.  Dean is responsible for some of the most amazing record album art ever made, especially for the progressive rock band Yes.  Additional art by Dean is also featured throughout.  Additionally, a 16-page booklet with artwork and notes is in the gatefolded, double-alpha pak packaging.


The hosting portions of the documentary are written and presented by Robert Di Napoli, edited and directed by Chris Gormile, runs over 81 minutes, and features many new interviews.  There are also generous amounts of still art and archival interviews throughout.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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