Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I
Warner Home Video
Cast: Daniel Ratcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes
Extras: Maximum Movie Mode, Additional Scenes, Featurettes, DVD version, Digital Copy
For many years now we have followed Harry Potter and his friends at Hogwarts through their adventures as they tried over and over again to stop Voldemort's evil. With each adventure they seemed to come a few steps closer to the final confrontation, but so far that showdown has been elusive. "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" is the final chapter in the Harry Potter saga – book-wise, that is – and given its depth, the filmmakers have decided to split the story in two parts. I am sure commercial aspects to milk the franchise for one more film had absolutely nothing to do with it. So here now, we have the Blu-Ray version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I" and I was definitely eager to check it out.
Tis movie, more than any other in the series, requires that you are familiar with the backstory, as the plot picks up immediately where it left off in the last Harry Potter movie. And even though I was familiar with the plot, it took me a few moments to piece it all back together.
The film is, in essence a huge escape from Voldemort as Harry, Hermione and Ron try to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes which would allow them to forever defeat Voldemort. But the path is fraught with danger and a number of nasty surprises. The biggest challenge is that they have to go the way by themselves, without the help of their powerful allies, the Order of the Phoenix. It is a test of their characters, mettle and their magic skills.
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" has a decidedly different tone than any of the previous film in the series. It is slower, more deliberate and more character-centric. While it does have great action sequences and suspense, the focus on the film is how each of the three main characters deal with the challenges in front of them, how they handle, leaving behind their loved ones, and even losing some of their allies – and hope with it – along the way. It will require some adjustment for many fans, I'm sure, to see how dark and brooding the atmosphere has become and how the characters – and the storyline – has matured, but the rewards are well worth it, as the series becomes more involving with every new installment. The only real detriment right now is that we have to wait another year for part 2 of the film. I do have to admit, though, that I was surprised how abrupt and anticlimactic this part ended.
As expected, Warner Home Video is dishing out a top notch high definition transfer with this release that is flawless and of reference quality. Without any blemishes or artifacts, the level of definition evident throughout is simply ravishing, adding another dimension to the film as a whole. Colors are natural and well saturated, but it mostly the black levels and shadows that make this transfer so remarkable. With visual depth to boot and an incredibly sharp image, this transfer is every bit the blockbuster you'd expect it to be.
Accompanied by a high definition DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track, the audio presentation is as powerful as Harry's magic. This track can teach your sound system a thing or two about aggressive surrounds and dynamic channel allocation. It is staggering how the immersive the audio is at times, throwing you right in the thick of things, bombarding the listener with sounds from all direction, creating a truly rich ambiance that perfectly matches the pictures.
Needless to say that "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" is filled with bonus materials that add to the overall experience. First and foremost among them is the Maximum Movie Mode, a video commentary mode that covers various aspects of the film as you watch. Filled with details, presented onscreen by the actors and filmmakers, this mode gives you a look behind the scenes, reminds you of past events in the series and how they tie into how the story is developing as you go along, and explains in more depth the characters and their motivations. This experience is such a rich tapestry of bonus materials and behind-the-scenes tidbits that it is hard to imagine anyone would need more.
But there is more. Like a series of deleted scenes and a featurette about the soundtrack. Also look for special effects featurettes and other behind the scenes clips.
The release also contains the DVD version and a Digital Copy of the movie.
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" is another phenomenal entry n the franchise that will leave you wanting for more. The Blu-Ray release is not only a visual spectacle but also a technical presentation that shows just how far home video has come. Get it now!