Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1 could be considered one of the darkest entries into the Harry Potter universe. In this installment, Lord Voldemort is preparing to begin his all-out war against the Muggles and Wizards. He is desperate to hold onto his power and besides killing Harry, winning this war is how he will ultimately reign.
Of course this spells big trouble for Harry and stalwart friends Ron and Hermione. They need to track down and destroy the Horcruxes, the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction. They are not alone in their quest. The trio is spirited to safety by The Order of the Phoenix who use Polyjuice potion to create decoy Harrys confuse Voldemort.
From there the trio must run from Voldemort and his minions, while taking a number of bold chances. They sneak in to the Ministry of Magic to find clues, journey into the wilderness, and through it all, fight to stay together. In Harry Potter lore it is probably their most difficult battle but the one that will mean the most in the end.
While I’m not the most ardent Potter fan, I did find this film engrossing. There is a coming-of-age quality to the trio’s adventures. On their journey they can no longer turn to their professors and mentors for help and advice. Hogwart’s is no longer a safe haven and they must rely on each other and their magic like never before. But this is not an easy road and the chance that confusion and fear could break their once strong bond is always hanging over their heads.
The movie looks beautiful and the transfer to Blu-ray has been masterfully rendered. Colors, skin tones and landscapes are crisp and radiant. Great care has been taken to preserve details of the snow covered mountains, icy lakes, as well as the gorgeous simplicity of Privet Drive and the lights, sounds and confusion of the London streets. It all serves to make this a film you’ll want to watch more than once.
I originally saw this film in an IMAX theater and surmised that the Blu-ray surround sound would be hard pressed to beat that experience. However, Warner has done an surprisingly excellent job with the sound quality. The audio captures the every nuance of the quiet moments, while the more violent scenes such as the deatheater attacks, crackle and boom with intensity. To put it simply: you are there!
Maximum Movie Mode: A BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE (Disc One; 168 minutes) After enjoying the film, you might want to watch it again with the Maximum Movie Mode switched on. Here you’ll find a wealth of behind the scenes footage, “Focus Point” featurettes, interviews with the production staff, appearances by many of the actors, readings from the Deathly Hallows novel by Tom Felton, tons of trivia and plot discussions. It’s all hosted by Jason Isaacs (the older Malfoy). This is a well put together feature and one even the staunchest fans will find fascinating.
Focus Point Featurettes (Disc One, 19 minutes) These featurettes are part of the Maximum Movie Mode but here is a way to watch them on their own. You’ll find “Last Days of Privet Drive”, “Hagrid’s Motorbike”, “Magical Tents”, “Death Eaters Attack Cafe”, “Creating Dobbie and Kreacher”, and “Return of Griphook” fascinating viewing. They contain many behind the scenes looks at the filming. There are also interviews with the actors and production staff.
Behind the Scenes Featurettes BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE (Disc Two, 32 minutes): Have a look at “The Seven Harrys”, “On the Green With Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James”, “Dan, Rupert and Emma’s Running Competition”, “Godric’s Hollow/The Harry and Nagini Battle” and enjoy some humorous behind the scenes moments.
Deleted Scenes (Disc Two, 11 minutes): “The Burrows Shed,” “The Dursley House,” “Dudley and Harry,” “The Granger House,” “Ministry of Magic Lifts,” “Tent,” “Rabbit Chase in the Forest” and “Ron and Hermione Skimming Stones” are eight deleted scenes featured in this extra. They are immensely watchable and it would have been good to see a couple, like the redemptive “Dudley and Harry”, in the actual film.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Grand Opening (Disc Two, 6 minutes): A featurette, which shows the opening festivities for the Harry Potter theme park in Universal Studios, Orlando. J.K. Rowling and other luminaries are on hand for the celebration.
Behind the Soundtrack (Disc Two, 4 minutes): A brief overview on how the soundtrack music shapes the scenes.
Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 240:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 239:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
50GB Blu-ray disc
3-disc set (2 Blu-rays, 1 DVD)
Warner Brothers deleted the preview of the Deathly Hallows Part 2 from the promotional screeners but it is included with the official release.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is available as a Blu-ray combo pack, DVD, On Demand and for digital download.
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