Ralph Potts reviews the seventh installment in the popular film franchise which is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner – 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 146 minutes
Disc Format: BD-66
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS:X, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleason, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Issacs, Warwick Davis, David Thewlis, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy, Julie Waters, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton
Directed by: David Yates
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written by: Steven Kloves based on the novel by J.K. Rowling
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 28, 2017
I Reviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 when it was originally released on Blu-ray and have included my comments from that review here. New comments and ratings for the new Ultra HD video and DTS:X sound are below.
The Blu-ray included with this Combo Pack contains the same audio/video as the original Blu-ray release. Refer to my original review, linked below, to see my comments/ratings for the 1080p video and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel soundtrack.
Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction – the Horcruxes. On their own and on the run, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever…but Dark Forces in their midst threaten to tear them apart. Meanwhile the wizarding world has become a dangerous place. The long-feared war has begun and the Dark Lord has seized control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting all who might oppose him. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort…alive.
Deathly Hallows part 1 begins the final leg of the journey that will take us into the closing chapter in the struggle between good (Harry Potter) and evil (Lord Voldemort). Picking up where The Half Blood Prince left off we find Harry, Hermoine and Ron seeking out the Horcrux’s in an attempt to stop Voldemort. He and his minions have taken over the Ministry of Magic, invaded Hogwarts and have successfully turned the wizarding world into a dark place where no one can be trusted. The Order of the Phoenix takes a serious hit while trying to protect Harry. The skirmish results in Harry, Ron and Hermoine being separated from them and left to continue on their own.
With danger around every corner they must rely upon spells to remain hidden from prying eyes as they search for the Horcrux’s. With a little luck they locate one of them only to find that it can only be destroyed by the Sword of Godric Gryffindor which has disappeared. As they search for answers the trio struggles under the pressure of hopelessness while narrowly surviving dangerous engagements with Death Eaters seeking to capture Harry. With the assistance of a three handed down trinkets and a trail of bread crumbs that lead them into dire circumstances that come to test the limits of their unshakable friendship, they locate the missing sword, destroy the Horcrux and learn of the Deathly Hallows, three magical objects: the all-powerful Elder Wand, The Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. With the noose of Lord Voldemort’s power tightening Ron, Hermoine and Harry find themselves trapped by deception and facing insurmountable odds. Realizing now that Lord Voldemort seeks the Elder Wand as a means to kill Harry they are locked in a race against time in the hopes of discovering it before he does. Unfortunately time has run out…
I didn’t catch Deathly Hallows part 1 in the theater but both of my kids saw it. Neither of them seemed crazy about it so I opted to wait for it to come to Blu-ray. I have never read any of the Potter books and my only frame of reference for its world and characters is through the films. I am most decidedly a fan and enjoy each of the installments in the series for various reasons. The prevalence of carefree moments, romantic entanglements and whimsical allegory has taken a backseat to a foreboding sense of dread and the spiraling suspense that accompanies it. What remains constant is the unflappable bond between these three characters. The familiar dynamic of their relationship is tested in this film and we see glimpses of the individuals each is becoming. My kids described this movie as boring, I disagree. There is a lot going on as the stage is being set for the final installment. We say goodbye to a few more friends and are left to ponder how it will all come together and who will step up because there is no doubt that Harry, Hermoine and Ron will require some help if they are going to survive and win the day.
The rating is for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
UHD Presentation: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
- Visual Impact:
DTS:X Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Level of immersion:
- Soundstage integration:
- Audio object placement:
- Entertainment factor:
Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 64 Mbps, and lossless English DTS:X/DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.
For its presentation in Ultra HD Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD either sourced from 2K or 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.
From a cinematic perspective, as with each of the HP films, Deathly Hallows Part 1 was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in this presentation. This presentation bests the 1080p versions in most respects, offering imagery that, where possible, lifts the vail. Reminiscent of The Order of the Phoenix, this isn’t an overtly colorful film, however, there are elements, such as the sequence early in the film, leading up to and including the wedding at the Weasley home, where the palate of autumn based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing slightly warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution gets a minor boost as well. Close-ups tend to offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features when compared to the Blu-ray.
There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn’t blown away with its application although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, such as the opening chase sequence, where the bolts of lightning and arcs of light from wand strikes looked terrific against the gray/dark elements of night. This film contains more daytime segments which appeared a bit more vibrant and tonally gradational compared to the Blu-ray. Low level sequences, such as those that take place in the tent used by Ron, Hermoine and Harry, or the dungeon of the Malfoy estate, had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. I think that HP and the Deathly Hallows Part 1benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement isn’t night and day, but is good enough to warrant purchase consideration.
Like the video presentation the new DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio surround mix improves upon the previous 5.1 channel mix and sounds superb. This soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialog to dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. As an enthusiast, I appreciate a well-crafted sound mix that draws me into the onscreen elements, regardless of where the sounds are emanating from. Audio object placement from both above and in the listening plane at ear level are put to effective use. This mix generates a correlated, and broad soundstage where effects swirl, shift and traverse the listening area. I also appreciated the effectiveness of the added dimension during sequences where subtle special cues replicated the environments contained in the scene. Overall, I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that this immersive sound mix complimented the source material, and made for a complimentary listening experience.
- Disc 1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Ultra HD Blu-ray
Disc 2: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Blu-ray
Disc 3: Bonus Disc
- 6 Focus Points (Totaling 18 minutes)
- Sneak Peek: The opening scene of HP and the Deathly Hallows part 2
- Behind the story (5 segments totaling 30 minutes)
- 8 Additional Scenes
- Trailers & Spots – Behind the soundtrack & The wizarding world of Harry Potter promotional tour (Universal Orlando
- Digital HD Copy
Admittedly, I am a fan of the Harry Potter film series and enjoyed each installment. The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a well-executed film that opens the door to the deeper, and darker storyline that awaits us in the final installment. It makes its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in this Combo Pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring solid Ultra HD video, excellent lossless surround sound, a complimentary DTS:X immersive sound mix, and a fan friendly supplemental package that looks behind the scenes at the production.
While I found the Ultra HD video quality to be an improvement over the 1080p version, the decision to upgrade may depend on how important those improvements are to you. I am adding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 on Ultra HD to my collection. If you’re on the fence perhaps a rental is a good place to start.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package