The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 146 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.4:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, 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,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 15, 2011
"The End begins…"
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.
I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books, although my children have. My experience with the stories have all been through the films which date back to 2001’s Sorcerer’s Stone. Currently I am the only one in my house that still enjoys the Potter films. I have seen each of them during their respective theatrical runs and while I haven’t found them all to be equally entertaining I can’t say that there is one that I haven’t liked. The earlier films undeniably brought these delightful characters to life and endeared them to us while fundamentally establishing with each subsequent installment, the books theme of good versus evil. With each film we see Lord Voldemort becoming stronger and the tone shifting from seemingly brief (sometime humorous) moments of recoverable peril to mortality invoking danger that has serious/permanent consequences. 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. I look forward to Deathly Hallows part 2 and will make a trip to the theater when it opens.
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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 comes to Blu-ray from Warner featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
The look of this film does not lend itself to frequent use of eye popping colors, bold contrast or definitive sharpness. The world where most of the film takes place is made up of large amounts of CGI which is interwoven with both real objects and people. It has a typically distinctive visual design that often gives it the appearance and feel of a dream. The film intentionally uses muted colors and drab lighting which provides a noticeable contrast to the story’s fantasy world. Blacks are deep, noise free and dynamic. Shadow delineation is excellent which gives the film’s multitude of low lit sequences and darker elements plenty of depth and dimension. The color palette isn’t particularly extensive as sepia tones, grays and other neutral colors are heavily utilized. Contrast is spot on so that whites appear dynamic and punchy when appropriate without being overcooked and washed out. Fine detail is readily perceivable in close ups while backgrounds during long range shots tend to appear less definitive. This appears to be innate to the photography and reminiscent of how the film looked during its theatrical presentation. Other than occasionally visible low level noise against dark backgrounds I didn’t see any overt signs of compression related anomalies or deleterious artifacts. The result is satisfying high definition video that appears faithful to the director’s vision.
The lossless audio presentation, like the video, is used like a canvas to paint a picture that brings the fantasy world of Harry Potter to life. The entire surround platform is used to overlay the film’s discretely placed directional and venue replicating ambient effects. Superlative detail and clarity bring forth every nuance within the recording so that each was discernibly distinguishable. There are several sequences, such as the opening of the Horcrux in chapter 22, that transform the room into a three dimensional sound field filled with immersive 360 degree surround activity that engages the listening position from multiple directions. Low frequency effects frequently produce deep, authoritative bass that pressurizes the room and occasionally approaches infrasonic levels. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produces just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers (it didn’t require a deduction). This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically energized sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, seamless integration, and rhythmically charged bass extension that is sure to stimulate the senses. This is a superb sounding audio presentation that truly compliments this engaging film. Crank it up a few notches, sit back and enjoy the ride.
- (HD) Maximum Movie Mode - Join host Jason Isaacs, cast & crew and guests in this interactive in movie experience to unravel the mysteries of the Dark Lord’s past and discover the keys to his defeat before it is too late! Includes book passage readings, video segments, behind the scenes footage, sequence deconstructions and more..
- (HD) Focus Points (Totaling 18 minutes) :
- The last days of Privet Drive
- Hagrid’s motorbike
- Magical tents
- Death enters attack cafe
- Creating Dobby and Kreacher
- The return of Graphook
- WB BD-Live access
- (HD)Sneak Peek: The opening scene of HP and the Deathly Hallows part 2 – The advanced copy sent for review had this feature removed however Warner advises that retail copies will include it
- (HD) Behind the story (Totaling 30 minutes) :
- The seven Harry’s
- On the green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James
- Dan, Rupert and Emma’s running competition
- Godric’s Hollow/Harry and Nagini battle
- The frozen lake
- (HD) 8 additional scenes
- (HD) Trailers & Spots – Behind the soundtrack & The wizarding world of Harry Potter promotional tour (Universal Orlando)
- Bonus DVD/Digital Copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1
Admittedly I am a fan of the Harry Potter film series and always look forward to each installment. The Deathly Hallows part 1 is a well executed film that sees the primary characters continue to evolve as the foreboding elements that will take the series to its conclusion are put into place. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video in a top notch offering that features excellent high definition video and reference quality DTS-HD Master Audio sound that is sure to be appreciated by home theater enthusiasts. The inclusion of a well designed and comprehensive set of interactive bonus features enhances an already strong package that comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
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JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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