Media

Movie Renter's Guide Number 153 - December, 2007 - Part I

ARTICLE INDEX


"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"  (HD DVD Hybrid)

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixSynopsis
Lord Voldemort has returned, but few want to believe it. In fact, the Ministry of Magic is doing everything it can to keep the wizarding world from knowing the truth - including appointing Ministry official Dolores Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. When Professor Umbridge refuses to train her students in practical defensive magic, a select group of students decides to learn on their own. With Harry Potter as their leader, these students (who call themselves "Dumbledore's Army") meet secretly in a hidden room at Hogwarts to hone their wizarding skills in preparation for battle with the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters...New adventure - more dangerous, more thrilling than ever - is yours in this enthralling film version of the fifth novel in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Specifications

    • Warner Bros.
      2007, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 hour 29 min
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • 1080p
    • English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
    • English/French/Spanish DD+ 5.1
    • Directed by David Yates
    • Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

I've read all of the Potter books and have to say this one was my least favorite. In fact, it was REALLY hard to read. It's a frustrating story and while I think the director did a decent job of conveying that to the screen, they didn't quite nail it. But they did make it a more entertaining ride. I was really skeptical about how well this one would translate to the screen and overall I enjoyed it. It isn't my favorite by a long shot, but its far better than I was expecting. Warner has done a brilliant job with this series so far, especially in casting, and I'm looking forward to what they bring out next.

Technical

This is the second Potter film I've reviewed in HD. I reviewed The Goblet of Fire awhile back after importing it from the UK and had mixed results. This one improves in some regards, but takes a step back in others. Thankfully we aren't seeing any of the blocking artifacts with this one like we did with Goblet. Blacks are solid, though slightly stylized. Contrast is good, but there are times when the image seems a bit washed out. Some of the special effects don't hold up quite as well here as they did in the last two films, and at times it hurts image quality a tad. Some of the longer shots can be a bit on the softer side, but fine detail and close ups look spectacular. The film is on the desaturated side when it comes to color, but hues have nice balance and at times, plenty of pop. I don't think anyone will be disappointed with this presentation but I think it is just a tad short of absolute reference.

The HD DVD boasts a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack and its quite nice. Dynamics are startling at times and the use of the LFE channel is scary at times. There is definitely some room shaking bass in this track so be careful where you set the levels. I didn't care much for some of the score though, and the balance with the rest of the track seemed a bit off early in the film. Surrounds are used nicely, but a tad underused in some cases (the kittens scene is a good example). While I liked this track overall I wasn't nearly as impressed with it as I was with the last Potter film.

Extras

Warner has delivered quite the package with this HD DVD release. There is a full "In Movie Experience" supplement that covers production, interviews and commentary throughout the film via PiP, and a few web enabled features including the ability to share scenes (similar to 300). Warner also breaks into the marketplace (similar to Universal's Evan Almighty release) with ringtones and wallpapers for sale. Other features include a set visit and a production feature with the director.