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Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part I

ARTICLE INDEX


"Harry Potter Giftset Years 1-5" (Blu-ray)

Harry Potter Giftset Years 1-5Synopsis

The Harry Potter Limited Edition Giftset includes Harry Potter's Years 1-5, a Harry Potter DVD game "Hogwarts Challenge", along with a bonus disc containing over two hours of enhanced content, an exclusive "Harry Potter's Bookmark Collection", and collectible trading cards.

Specifications

    • Warner Bros.
      2007, Color, Rated PG/PG-13, 750 min
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • 1080p
    • English PCM 5.1
    • Various DD 5.1
    • Directed by Various
    • Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

This is easily one of the best HD collections to hit shelves yet. The entire Harry Potter collection is presented (finally) in HD and comes in a small mock travel case along with a host of other goodies. I've been a fan of the films and books for a long time now and heard whispers about their release since HD DVD premiered. Warner has done an amazing job bringing these books to life on the big screen and every drop of it can be seen in this collection. A must own for any fan!

Technical

Harry Potter has always been one of the films that Warner seems to take care of more than most. Given how much money each film has grossed and the popularity of the series, it's no surprise. All of the HD presentations here are excellent, with only a few blemishes holding them back from a 5 star rating. The first two films are probably the weakest of the bunch in terms of visual style. Both are shot with a very natural film look. Contrast can be slightly lacking with elevated black levels and at times a slightly flat appearance. Detail is still quite good though.

The series really comes to a new threshold visually with the third film, which may be the best looking of all of them. Contrast takes a big turn for the better, with deep blacks and sensational dimension. Fine detail is exceptional, and the image is almost completely devoid of any issues. This continues through the fourth and fifth years, with only minor issues popping up on occasion. I saw some aliasing in Prisoner of Azkaban, slight macro-blocking in Goblet of Fire and occasional softness in the newest film. It looks like Warner may have re-encoded Goblet since the UK release almost a year ago. Most of the blocking in the opening sequences is gone, but there are still some minor artifacts seen. Still one of the best looking collections out there!

Sound design in each film is exceptional, and all of the films are presented in uncompressed PCM 5.1 (I only received the Blu-ray release for my review). These films take full advantage of the surround soundstage with great panning effects and some of the best discrete usage I've heard to date. Using PLIIx processing will work nicely for those with a 7.1 system. Bass response is exceptional, with nice tactile presence and plenty of clean tight low and mid-bass. Balance throughout the series is impeccable, from the score to the dialogue to the sound design, all of these are worthy of demonstration with some highlights of course.

Extras

The box set includes all of the same extras you'll find on the individual releases of each film, plus some other goodies. Each film includes a load of great supplements such as deleted scenes/alternate scenes, interviews, production features, and trailers. Most of the content on the new release (Order of the Phoenix) is in HD. On top of that, the box set includes a Harry Potter PC game, collection of bookmarks, trading cards, an additional DVD with more behind the scenes footage, and each film has a custom case that looks like a book. This is by far the definitive collection for the films.