Ralph Potts reviews the first and second installments in the popular film franchise which are making their debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.
 

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

94
Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2001, 2002
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time:152/161 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

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, Maggis Smith, Julie Waters, John Hurt, Fiona Shaw, Ian Hart, John Cleese, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Issacs, Richard Harris
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Music by: John Williams
Written by:Steve Kloves based on the novels by J.K. Rowling
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 7, 2017
"Welcome to the Wizarding World"
My Take:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he meets several friends who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents' mysterious deaths.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Cars fly, trees fight back and a mysterious elf comes to warn Harry Potter at the start of the second year of his amazing journey into the world of wizardry. This year at Hogwarts, spiders talk, letters scold and Harry's own unsettling ability to speak to snakes turns his friends against him. From dueling clubs to rogue Bludgers, it's a year of adventure and danger when bloody writing on a wall announces: The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. To save Hogwarts will require all of Harry, Ron and Hermione's magical abilities and courage in this big screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's second book. Get ready to be amused and petrified as Harry Potter shows he's more than a wizard, he's a hero!

Here are some general comments that I use when describing my feelings/experiences with Harry Potter’s continuing storyline. 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. These first two films, Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets 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. I enjoy these films for their wonderful character design, compelling, and imaginative storytelling, and excellent production design.


Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for scary moments, mild language, and some creature violence.


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: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 



DTS:X Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • Level of immersion: 
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  • Effectiveness: 
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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:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/Chamber of Secrets comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 64/60 Mbps, and lossless English DTS:X/DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4/3.9 Mbps, respectively.

For their presentation in Ultra HD Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/Chamber of Secrets were rendered from 4K scans of the original 35mm film negatives, and the results are impressive. From a cinematic perspective, these films were shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in each presentation. These easily best the 1080p versions, offering imagery that lifts the vail. I wouldn’t describe either as overtly colorful, however, there are elements, such as the Quidditch matches, shots of London, and 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 noticeable boost as well. Close-ups and mid-level shots 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. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, such as Hagrid’s arrival at the island cottage where he first meets Harry, or the Tom Riddle backstory sequence in Chamber of Secrets, where arcs of light looked terrific against the gray/dark elements. These films contain daytime segments which appeared more vibrant and tonally gradational compared to the Blu-ray. Low level sequences, such as those that take place in Hagrid’s quarters, or in the bowels of the school, had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. I think that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement is as close to night and day (compared to the Blu-ray releases) as I have seen since I began covering the format.

Like the video presentations the new DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio surround mixes improve upon the previous 5.1 channel offerings and sound superb. These tracks run 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 each of these immersive sound mixes complimented the source material, and made for an invigorating listening experience.




Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Blu-ray
  • Disc 1: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Blu-ray
  • Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 1: The Magic Begins
  • Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 2: Characters
  • Digital HD Copies
Final Thoughts:

Admittedly I am a fan of the Harry Potter film series and appreciated the work that went into adapting them for the big screen. The Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets as the first two in the series hold a special for me, harkening back to sharing them with my kids when they were young. Each is making its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in a Combo Pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring top notch Ultra HD video, excellent lossless surround sound, via a complimentary DTS:X immersive sound mix, and a fan friendly assortment of legacy features that look behind the scenes at the production. If you’re a fan and are set up for Ultra HD Blu-ray, these are simply a must have.
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Ralph Potts
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” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 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
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems