Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a good start to the final film in the series that started a decade ago and I can only hope it ends in the bang most have promised it would. It’s certainly the darkest of the franchise but also one of the best especially with the performances of the three leads.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K UHD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 146 min. – $49.95 | March 28, 2017
Date Published: 03/31/2017 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions were copied from my original 2011 Blu-ray review. In addition, the video and audio transfers pretty much match between HP5-7.2 even with three different cinematographers.
THE MOVIE — 4.5/5
“The beginning of the end” is a tagline cliché I’ve seen all too often but in the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, it’s so true. It’s also shaping up to be the best two Potter movies of the series, a series in which has been consistent in being good on the cusp of greatness (for me, it got close with the darker Prisoner of Azkaban).
Plot (from back cover): Harry (DANIEL RADCLIFFE), Ron (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione (EMMA WATSON) set out to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s (RALPH FIENNES) power – the Horcruxes. On their own and on the run, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever… but Dark Forces threaten to tear them apart.
I’ve never been the biggest Harry Potter fan and in fact have only read a couple passages from one of the books (don’t even remember which one) but I have enjoyed the series as a whole from an outsider’s perspective. I know some fans have qualms with what or was not included in these movies but from a storytelling point of view, they’ve all done a good job from the casting to forwarding an interesting story.
With Deathly Hallows Part 1, it takes the series to a whole new level. For one thing, we don’t even enter into Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is under the guide Professor Severus Snape (ALAN RICKMAN) whom, like our other favorite Potter characters (Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Brendan Gleeson as ‘Mad-Eye’ Mooney – whose demise was understated IMO – and the others in the Order of the Phoenix), we only see early on as a good portion of the second and third acts are centered on Harry, Ron and Hermione.
And even though much of the film has the kids on the run jumping from one part of the land to the next showing their wizard and witch kick assness with the spells they’ve learned to defend themselves, it’s one hell of a ride combining thrilling scenes with some truly crushing dramatic moments (the scene where Harry and Hermione dance to Nick Cave’s song, ‘O Children’ stands out).
It’s the drama and acting by our main characters, more so than the story, where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 excels, however. Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves split the final book in two not to get more money out of the fans (though I’m sure Warner isn’t complaining) but to tell the full story within a reasonable timeframe rather than cramming it all into a three hour and under feature film. This first part starts the journey and I’m sure the opening and second act continues the quest in Part 2 but from what I’ve been reading, the majority of the film is outright action so Yates and company have set the appropriate tone before cranking things up for the ultimate duel.
As far as the acting goes, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson all have been fairly consistent through the series – save for maybe Sorcerer’s Stone – and here now a decade later, they’ve obviously embodied their characters but rather than sleepwalking through their roles, they’re still adding layers.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a great film and probably my second favorite behind Prisoner of Azkaban (and Order of the Phoenix is right up there as well) but I certainly hope the second part lives up to the build up because otherwise it will taint an otherwise great movie (see: The Matrix Reloaded).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Focus Points (TRT 19:21; HD) are a collection of featurettes that delve some into the movie making but not a whole lot as I’m sure anything deeper are or will be contained in the documentaries available in the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” releases.
On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James (13:38; HD) – A few cast members (Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, and James and Oliver Phelps) hit the links at the famed Celtic Manor and discuss their 10 years of screen comradeship and what lies ahead.
Dan, Rupert and Emma’s Running Competition (2:45; HD) – Here you can witness the competitive spirit while filming the escape scene from the snatchers in Swinley Forest.
Godric’s Hollow/The Harry and Nagini Battle (6:00; HD) is a behind-the-scenes look at these sequences from production design to set design and then filming.
The Frozen Lake (4:10; HD) takes a closer look at the scene in which Harry finds the Sword of Gryffindor and how preparation went to filming the scene inside a water tank.
Additional Scenes (10:54; HD) – There are eight deleted, and extended, scenes included and while they’re all pretty good and well acted, they weren’t necessary in the final film which needed the focus it did.
There’s also Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack (3:51; HD) and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Promotional Trailer (6:25; HD).
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Warner Home Video releases Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 onto 4K presented with a 2160p ultra high-definition transfer and, as the franchise became more adult in tone, is quite dark and in this format, blacks are stark while never losing detail and when there is color, it appears vibrant. Compared with its Blu-ray counterparts, I did notice a fine improvement albeit nothing profound.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|The audio also receives the upgrade treatment. Whereas the Blu-ray came with an already great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, this one kicks it up a notch to DTS:X which is more robust by comparison. As before, dialogue levels do sound crisp, clear and clean from the center channel and ambient noises fill the room well enough but where it comes to life is with the more action-oriented scenes.|
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a good start to the final film in the series that started a decade ago and I can only hope it ends in the bang most have promised it would. It’s certainly the darkest of the franchise, though Prisoner of Azkaban is pretty close, but also one of the best especially with the performances of the three leads. This 3-disc 4K UHD release from Warner offers excellent video/audio transfers and ports over some great bonus material from the Ultimate Collector’s Edition releases from a few years back.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.