Quantcast

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Blu-ray Review)

I was really hoping that I would be getting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I to review on Blu-ray because not being the biggest advocate of the franchise these past ten years, I wanted to see whether I still liked the film or if it was an off night for me when I saw it theatrically.  And golly gee, was that a long sentence or what?  Alright, I will try my best to constrain and rope in my thoughts as I proceed on here.   Well, one thing’s for sure.  I already spilled the beans.  I am not a Harry Potter fan.  I have never read the books, but many have told me that they are fantastic.  And no, I have not taken very well to the films so far (#1 and #2 are sure fire cures for insomnia, in my opinion), but I was hoping just maybe, the seventh final two installments might be the charm.  Who knows? I know I won round 1, but only time will tell to see if the second part of Deathly Hallows lives up to its dark predecessor.  I’ll definitely keep an open mind.

Film  

So here we are.  It’s April 2011 and I ask, are all you Harry Potter fans dying with anticipation, or are you dreading your beloved franchise coming to a screeching halt this July?  Either way, you have to feel something, right?  In case you have no idea what is going on in the world around you, let me catch you up to speed.  I feel like a broken record here, but it’s a Blu-ray review and I must address all current and possible future fans of the franchise.  So bear with me please.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a two-part ordeal, directed by David Yates and written by Steve Kloves, based on the novel of the same name by an author that needs no fancy introduction, J.K. Rowling.  Like its predecessors, Deathly Hallows Part I stars everyone’s favorite boy wizard, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry James Potter, and his two best friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson).  One thing is for sure.  It’s nice rare treat to see all the same actors grow up, over the years, with no recasts, except of course for the tragedy of Dumbledore’s character many movies ago.

So in addition to the film’s three main stars I already mentioned, other familiar faces making an appearance in Deathly Hallows include Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter (hell yeah!), Warwick Davis, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Felton, John Hurt, Bill Nighy and many more (too many to list here).  The movie picks up right after the events of the sixth film.  Now remember I said I am not a Harry Potter fan?  Well I was not kidding you.  I have not even seen the 5th and 6th films, but I did catch myself up to speed as to the events leading up to this 7th film before I saw it theatrically.  And more importantly, last Black Friday, I did pick up all six of the Potter films on Blu-ray for a really fantastic price.  So when it’s all said and done, I plan on having one hell of a Harry Potter marathon towards the end of the year when I can watch them one-by-one on the glorious Blu-ray format.  I have to admit, I’m actually looking forward to that!  And I never thought I would hear myself say that.

So anyway, following Dumbledore’s death (events that happened in the 6th movie I am told), Voldemort has gained control of the Ministry of Magic and will stop at nothing to find and destroy the young boy wizard, Harry Potter.  On the run, Harry, Ron and Hermione aggressively search for Voldermort’s remaining Horcruxes with hopes of destroying them.  These Horcruxes are much like the “One Ring” from Lord of the Rings.  Wear them a little bit and you never know how you might act.  And even when you possess this so called Horcrux, it’s nearly impossible to destroy.  It was only by infiltrating the Ministry of Magic that Harry and the gang were able to acquire the first of three known Horcruxes, represented in a locket form.  I guess I can mention that it also takes a very special sword to destroy this item, but you’ll find out more during your viewing if you have not already.

During the course of their travels the trio comes across a strange symbol.  They later find out that this symbol represents the mythical Deathly Hallows.  The Deathly Hallows contains three objects: the Resurrection Stone (the ability to revive the dead), an Invisibility Cloak (the ability to hide from death) and the Elder Wand (an unbeatable wand).  So I think it’s pretty safe to say, someone very powerful might have great interest in this so called “unbeatable wand,” but where, oh where can it be?  Hmm…I will give you a hint.  You won’t have to wait until Part II to find out.  And that’s all I’ll say!

Even with this being my second viewing of the film, I was still intrigued throughout by the dark and ominous nature/tone of this film.  This is definitely not a kid’s movie.  Given the undertone upon which this film begins (the death of the patronage figure, Dumbledore), one can only assume that this is the Revenge of the Sith of the Potter franchise.   So what the heck?  What I still can’t figure out is how did I go all this time not appreciating the Potter franchise and all the sudden like this one?  I’m not sure I can really answer that.  All I can say is that this film had everything I was looking for.  It had zany action at times (although limited), tear-jerking moments (why oh why did my favorite character have to die), B-love story tensions and of course, Helena Bonham Carter.  I love her!  So I guess what I am trying to say is that it’s never too late to convert to becoming a fan of the beloved Potter franchise.  If it can happen to me, it can happen to you.  This film obviously ends on a cliffhanger, but don’t worry, it’s not as bad as Matrix Reloaded’s abrupt ending.

Video  

Like the darkness that surrounds the theme of Deathly Hallows, the picture is equally as eerie.  And I mean that in a very good way.  Yes, it comes as no surprise to many that the subject matter filling the frames of this film are shrouded in darkness, but never has the darkness ever been so remarkably beautiful.  How can I say this?  See for yourself.  Despite the strong shadows of the doom and gloom fasted in each frame, the characters and fine detail are near impeccable levels.  Deathly Hallows‘ 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encode is gorgeously rendered in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio widescreen presentation.  I know there’s a lot of yin-yang talk going on here, but honestly folks, this is probably the best I have ever seen a really dark picture look on the Blu-ray format.  I guess it goes without saying that the black levels are as ominous as the film’s subject matter and I love every minute of it.  Despite the darkness, colors all look accurate, including skintones.  If you are a fan of the film’s dark tone, then I can’t see your pupils really being dissatisfied here.  You can take that to the bank and cash it!

Audio  

Now if you think the video was bombastic, then you have not “heard” anything yet!  Warner delivers with a thunderous crowd pleasing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.  How do you do a film justice?  Well, it’s quite simple.  You give the audience what they want…a reference audio track.  Boom!  The LFE channel pounds out one sonic boom after another whether it’s a raging storm or a new spell to sweep you off your feet.  But wait!  There are also those things that are usually underutilized on a Blu-ray track.  I’m talking about the rear channels, but of course.  When the action sequences gear up, rest assured your rear speakers will be howling at you and probably cursing your name for making them work this hard.  But that’s a good thing folks.  Don’t worry.  Your speakers are inanimate objects. They will get over it like when you yell at your best friend.  Of course, I’m talking about your canine or dog to the layperson.  So let’s see.  In recap we have bombastic subwoofer moments and aggressive rear channel activity.    I like.  But let’s see.  What am I missing?  Oh yeah!  The dialog is all crystal clear and intelligible, pans across the channels/soundscape are P-E-R-F-F-E-C-T and the haunting score of Alexandre Desplat is marvelously captured.  Even the periods of calm tranquility sounds good.  How’s that possible?  Again, you are just going to have to check this one out.  This is the audio track you have been waiting for all year.  Have fun with it.  Eat it up!

Special Features  

The three-disc combo set contains two Blu-ray discs and a DVD.  The first Blu-ray disc showcases the film and the Warner Bros. trademark Maximum Movie Mode.  The second Blu-ray disc contains all the other extra Blu-ray goodies.  And guess what folks.  They are all presented in glorious High-Definition.  Yea!  The third disc, the DVD, houses a standard definition version of the feature film as well as a Digital Copy to feed your portable devices.  I’m pretty happy with this supplemental package.  Come on.  We will explore everything you will find here together below.

  • Exclusive Sneak Peek of a scene from the upcoming final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.  Although this wasn’t provided on the review copy I received because of security reasons, rest assured that the retail version would have this.  I remember how cool this was when I purchased Batman Begins so many years ago and was able to watch the first ten minutes of The Dark Knight.  Awesome!
  • Maximum Movie Mode – Host Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and various members of the cast and crew take us on an interactive journey through the film with a Picture-in-Picture presentation that showcases behind-the-scenes videos, Focal Point featurettes, interviews and much more.  Plus, you are able to revisit important moments from the previous two films to prepare for the final battle that will take place in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – Part 2.
  • Dan, Rupert and Emma’s Running Competition (HD) – Witness the competitive spirit on set and the rivalry between the three leads as they film the escape scene from the Snatchers in Swinely Forest.  Commentary is provided here by Director David Yates.
  • The Seven Harrys (HD) – You want to see how Daniel Radcliffe recreated the personalities of the different characters that transform into Harrys in the Privet Drive scene?  Of course you do!  Relax.  It’s all here!
  • On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James (HD) – Accompany Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Oliver Phelps and James Phelps for a round of golf and in return, get a glimpse into their 10-year friendship that developed while making the Harry Potter films.  Come on.  You know you want to.
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Promotional Trailer (HD) – Join in the fun with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and other cast members from the films as they partake in their first visit to the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • Additional Scenes (HD) -There are a total of eight deleted scenes available here.  I will leave it up to you as to whether these are worth watching. If deleted scenes are your thing, then have at it!
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack (HD) – This featurette examines and sheds light on the haunting, but beautiful score of Alexandre Desplat.
  • Standard Definition DVD of the Film (SD) – Boo!
  • Digital Copy of the Feature Film (HD) – Yea!
  • BD-Live Functionality

Final Thoughts  

Well, what more can I really say?  You already know they will double dip on this title down the road, but for the time being you can own one of the best Potter films, in my opinion, on the Blu-ray format complete with stunning visuals, reference quality audio and a High-Definition supplemental package that will keep you busy for hours.  I would encourage review readers, who have never seen the movie yet, to give this Blu-ray a chance to win you over.  You never know.  Like Life cereal, you just might like it.  The film is not going to be to everyone’s liking, but if you can sustain a slow burning storyline and have room in your heart for a darker motion picture, then maybe, just maybe, this might be the Potter film for you!  What say you?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I was released on the Blu-ray format this past Friday, April 15th.  Order your copy today!

Share

Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

2 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Writing Help

    Really entertaining movie.I already watched this movie for many times and still interesting for me.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I’m still undecided as to whether I want to see this by itself or until the second part comes out. I’d rather do them back to back.