PictureThe 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer looks excellent for such a muted and dark film. For the majority of the running time the image appears sharp with excellent detail on show even in the shadows. Blacks are deep and solid and even though many of the scenes take place in the dark, everything takes on a three dimensional feel, colours are muted as intended. There are a few instances where digital artefacts are seen, most noticeably in the corridor scene within Hogwarts and it was also at this point on my review copy that the picture broken up severely. I checked the disc surface and could not see any marks or a scratch so I am unsure if this is just a fault with my disc or a manufacturing problem. Overall the picture quality here is above average.
SoundThe Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is surprisingly rather laidback for such an epic tale. While dialogue is intelligible and the front sound stage is wide and commanding, the surrounds are surprisingly under utilised. The score is dynamic and fills the entire sound stage with ease and the surrounds offer a few obvious sound effects, but there is a lack of envelopment from the rear speakers. Saying that there is a good depth to the front and the LFE channel is also active throughout, it just isn't as aggressive as the previous movies.
ExtrasI long for the day when we get a worthwhile behind the scenes documentary on the Potter movies, I mean there must be plenty of material available. Instead what we get are interactive tours of the sets, trailers, some short featurettes on the animals and the effects used, but it is criminal that these are so short and without any in depth value. The extras will keep your kids happy, but otherwise everything here is forgettable.
VerdictA new director, a darker more moody feel and more mature acting from the leads makes for interesting viewing. Only the screen play suffers slightly with a rather lacklustre ending. The kids will love it however.
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