‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1’ arrives on American Region free Blu-ray with a dark but detailed 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. As previously mentioned in the movie review, this one is visually darker than the other movies in the series and that might make you think that the picture would be muddy with not much to see, but you’d be wrong. There’s plenty of shadow detail on offer amid the carefully lit scenes. After the characters have been on the run and living in the woods for a few days, Harry’s designer stubble is picked out clearly by the transfer. What we have here is a wonderfully dense image which probably won’t fare quite as well on Standard definition DVD as it does on the High Def format. The sharper image of Blu-ray makes it all live on the screen but I found no visual evidence of ringing due to over sharpening at all. Although the colour palette is generally quite muted, when we’re served up a daytime scene filled with colour it really shines and lifts the heart. There was no noticeable grain to cause offence, yet the transfer retains a wonderfully filmic look. To sum it up, this is a very good looking image indeed.
The audio on ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 flavour and this is one of those mixes that makes full use of the surrounds to impress. As the seven Harrys and Death Eaters do battle above London they swoop in past your ears causing involuntary ducking. In the Cafe battle, the magic wand blasts explode around your listening room. At other times there are ambient rumbles to add presence to scenes while the Lift at the Ministry of Magic gives the subwoofer a good workout. The main stereo pair come alive with Alexandre Desplat’s atmospheric score – yet amid all the mayhem, the dialogue is clear and intelligible from the front centre channel. If you want demo material, then this is one to add to your list. Play nice with the neighbours though.
The version submitted for review was the 3 disc American Region free Blu-ray Combo edition. The bonus material is split between disc 1, which also hosts the movie, and Disc 2 which is dedicated to the Special Features. Disc 3 contains a DVD version of the movie as well as a Digital Copy.
Maximum Movie Mode (HD, 2 Hrs 47 mins) - Jason Isaacs ( Lucius Malfoy in Potter land) introduces and hosts this feature where he and other cast members as well as crew, interact with the movie to unravel the mysteries of the Dark Lord’s past. It includes book passage readings, video segments and Horcrux revelations. True Harry Potter fans will be enthralled by the diversions as the movie plays and take us behind the scenes.
Focus Points (HD, total 19 mins) - Some mini-featurette sequences can be viewed individually or in a ‘Play all’ mode. We are taken behind the scenes of the Last Days of Privet Drive, get a closer look at Hagrid’s motorbike, investigate magical tents, see how the Death Eaters attacked the Cafe, focus on the work that went into creating Dobby & Kreacher as well as the return of Griphook.
The Seven Harrys (HD, 5 mins) - This mini featurette takes a look at the special effects for the Polyjuice Potion scene near the beginning and explains just how the whole sequence was created including turning everyone in the room into our Harry.
On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James (HD, 13 mins) - Ron Weasley, Tom Felton together with James and Oliver Phelps take a golfing trip to the Celtic Manor and discuss the fun they've had together on set.
Dan, Rupert, and Emma's Running Competition (HD, 3 mins) - The three main stars tells us how much running they do in the movie and how competitive they became – particularly in the sequence where they’re evading the Snatchers in the forest. There’s also a commentary by Director David Yates.
Godric's Hollow/The Harry and Nagini Battle (HD, 6 mins) - The cast and crew discuss shooting Godric's Hollow and the battle between Harry and Voldemort's snake.
The Frozen Lake (HD, 4 mins) - A look at the filming of the frozen lake scene where Harry finds himself being strangled by the locket.
Sneak Peek from ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ (HD, 4 mins) - A tantalising teaser of an opening scene from the final movie. It doesn’t really give too much away and it features John Hurt – but Harry fans will have to see it for themselves as I’m not saying any more.
Additional Scenes (HD, 11 mins) - A collection of 8 additional scenes that basically flesh out scenes already in the movie. They don’t really add anything to the storyline so were probably removed to get the running time down.
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack (HD, 4 mins) - A look at the recording of the original score for the movie, composed by Alexandre Desplat and discussed by the producers.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Promotional Trailer (HD, 6 mins) - The main cast visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complete with a full size Hogwarts Castle, at Universal’s theme park in Orlando.
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ swoops on to American Region free Blu-ray with an impressive, moody but detailed 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This, the darkest of the movies so far, retains great shadow detail amid the atmospheric photography. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix is of demo quality with the full sound field coming alive with swooping broomsticks, explosions and ambient rumbles. A whole host of mini featurettes make up the bonus material, but the real jewel in the crown is the sneak peek at the opening scene from the forthcoming final movie in the series. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ has Harry, Ron & Hermione running for their lives as they try to track down the remaining Horcruxes which must be destroyed in order to bring down the Dark Lord once and for all. Great fun for Harry fans as well as a wider audience.
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