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"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" {Blu-ray combo pack} - (Wayne's Review)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
4/15/11
Special Features:

Maximum Movie Mode, featurettes, DVD, digital copy of the movie, BD-Live enabled

Rated: PG-13

Review:

The Harry Potter films continue to get better with each succeeding film for me. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I" is the action thriller of the Potter films. Fans already know what's going to happen and for those who don't I'm not going to spoil it except to state up front that the film doesn't have a conclusion but ends on a great cliff hanger. ***

Quite honestly I it took me a while to get into the Harry Potter films. I hate Chris Columbus as a director--he has a generic style that reminds me of watching an original movie on ABC Family. As a writer he's also just not very good at developing characters. Luckily, Columbus was working with fool proof material in the form of J.K. Rowling's novels. Columbus a mediocre filmmaker at best wisely stepped away as the films became darker and more complex because, quite honestly, the material would have been out of his league as a director and writer. He let others more talented and with the skills necessarily to tackle the material step in. Kudos to him for recognizing his limitations as a film director and writer. ***

Having said that, I will admit that with each successive film I've grown to like this franchise more and havne't been disappointed yet. Yes, they weren't exact replicas of the books but that's a good thing--the film has to stand on its own outside of the literary work and tells a story with a much different approach. The limitations and ability to tell a story visually are different and, of course, each reader has created their own movie in their head. I was pleasantly surprised by both the fidelity and the departures the filmmakers tackled in telling this rich story which echoes the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in terms of the complexity of the storytelling but with a nice, unique point-of-view. It's also been a pleasant surprise to see the actors in the film return to their roles and continue to bring more to their portrayal each time. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray looks exceptionally good--the image is crisp and true to the theatrical presentation of the film. The grainy look of the film is intentional as is the often washed out colors during some sequences. The look of the film is much more subdued with colors that are often muted to reflect the much more serious and dangerous elements of the story. ***

The audio sounds terrific with a strong 5.1 lossless mix. ***

The DVD that is included has a substandard transfer. I'm not sure what Warner has thinking here as many people will just be buying the DVD (perhaps they were thinking that most folks would be watching the show on their car DVD players to keep the kids occupied).

Special Features:

Special features include a featurette on shooting the scene for the seven Harrys. We also get "Maximum Movie Mode" the interactive feature that acts as a commentary track taking you behind-the-scenes of the movie while you're watching it. ***

We also get a promotional featurette on the creation and opening of the theme park in Florida. There are a number of deleted scenes which while they don't necessarily add to the film per se do give us some additional character moments. There's also a featurette on the cast playing golf (!)which seemed kind of stretching. There's also a featurette on the recording of the soundtrack. ***

There isn't a disc with a digital copy for those who use such things--you have to download the digital copy of the film. Demerits to Warner for advertising it on the package which implies that there is a digital copy disc inside which is a bit misleading. This isn't the first itme Warner has done this with the digital downloads--they did this also for a season of "Supernatural". ***

For those that are interested Best Buy has an exclusive Blu-ray disc that includes two featurettes that take you behind-the-scenes including the scene set in Picadilly and the location shooting of the film. Some of the interviews are recycled from other material on the set but there's also footage that isn't included in any of the other featurettes. ---

Final Words:

The film certainly deserves five stars--it's a terrific, entertaining and thrilling ride. The transfer for the Blu-ray is stellar and the extras including the "Maximum Movie Mode" are good if not as exceptional as I'd liked (I'm assuming they're saving material for one of those "Ultimate" boxed sets). ***

Over all this is a good set with the film being exceptional. Potter fans will enjoy this set.

 

 
 
 
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