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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2011

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"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

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Synopsis

With the demise of Dumbledore, Voldemort has steadily grown in power as he seeks to rule over the land.  He has overthrown the Ministry of Magic with his own minions, as they seek to rid it of mudbloods and build a more perfect race of wizards and witches.  Of course Harry stands as the one person that everyone expects to be able to take on Voldemort, though not on his own.

After the fall of the Ministry and an attack on Harry and his friends at a wedding, everyone has to quickly move underground for their safety, and that of their families.  Harry knows that they must seek out and destroy the rest of the Horcruxes before Voldemort can obtain them, though he isn’t sure where to even start looking, or how to deal with them once he has found them.  He is joined in his quest by Hermoine and Ron, who are also trying to keep their families safe at the same time as they are trying to stop Voldemort.

 

Specifications

  • Warner Brothers
  • 2010, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 26 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Codec:  AVC
  • 1080p
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
  • Directed by David Yates
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Harry Potter is a dark film, and not nearly as young child friendly as a parent might think if they haven’t seen a film since the first one.  I know that it started out even darker than I had expected, though I have only seen the films and never read the books.  I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the Potter films, especially once the direction of them switched to people like Alfonso Cuaron, and it’s good to see that David Yates has kept that quality going.

Of course, Deathly Hallows was a massive book that Warner Brothers decided to split into multiple films, so people like myself that have not read the book have this film as more of an appetizer before the finale this summer.  However, while I was worried that breaking it up into two parts might lead to a slow, boring first act, I was pleasantly surprised to be entertained the whole time and can’t wait for the series finale now.

Technical

Watching Harry Potter, I really can’t find anything to fault the movie on visually or audibly.  Shadow detail, of which the film is filled with, is rendered superbly.  Most of the outdoor shots are fairly dreary, with a bit of a washed out, overcast look that comes across perfectly.  I never saw, or was at least distracted by, any grain in the image or distracted by any compression noise or any other flaws.

Similarly, from the opening Warner Brother logo, the soundtrack takes full advantage of all the speakers and never slows down.  Battle scenes surround you with explosions in all directions as wizards and witches fly around your head, but even quiet scenes use the surrounds to put you right into the environment of the film.  I might not pull it out as my reference piece to show off my home theater to friends due to the darkness of the image, but it really is reference quality in my experience.

Extras

The 3-disc package that I received features multiple featurettes, Warner’s Maximum Move Mode - Where you get a PIP image with members of the film contributing as you watch, additional scenes, a look at the opening of the final film (well, the retail copy has this, screener copies do not), as well as DVD and Digital copies of the film.