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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Harry Potter Limited Edition Collection: Years 1-5

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 12 ONLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted December 30 2007 - 08:23 PM

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Harry Potter Limited Edition Collection: Years 1-5 (Blu-Ray)
Release Date: Available now (original release date December 11, 2007)
Studio: Warner Brothers
MSRP: $149.99

Overall Score: 4/5
Though the Harry Potter Limited Edition Collection is beautifully packaged with extra items that should make all collectors happy, the timing of its release is a bit of a puzzler. With two more films yet to be made, it all seems rather premature. What will collectors do when the final two films are released? Will there be another collection package that contains all seven films, forcing a rather expensive double dip? Or will the final two films be released in packaging consistent with this set and, if so, how will those two fit in the box?

With questions this obvious, it's hard not to see the Limited Edition Collection as a mostly opportunistic venture now that the novels have been finished and fans are feeling the loss. Still, for those looking to add the Harry Potter films to their high definition library, this isn't a bad way to go since you get some nifty items (my favorites being the bookmarks) at the same price as buying each film separately. And the audio and video transfers for each film are overall excellent. It's just too bad that a package this nice is so obviously incomplete.

Continue reading for specifics on each title. To jump to a particular section, use the links below:

    [*]The Packaging, Bonus DVD, and Extras
    [*]Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    [*]Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    [*]Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    [*]Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    [*]Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix




The Packaging, Bonus DVD and Other Extras

The Packaging: 5/5
Contents of the Harry Potter Limited Edition Collection are housed in a sturdy cardboard box designed and shaped like a steamer trunk. The metal hinges and hasp feel equally solid, leaving no doubt the set will hold up over time. Unlike some DVD collections, the Harry Potter Collection is sized to fit nicely into standard DVD shelving.

Inside the box is a ribbon that wraps around the contents and closes with velcro. When I opened my set, the fuzzy side of the velcro had fallen off the ribbon and gotten stuck to the outside of the top disc's case. Fortunately there was no damage done to the cardboard surface.

Disc media are contained in digipak style cardboard cases meant to look like Hogwarts textbooks. The Bonus DVD and the first two films are in square CD style cases, while the remaining films and the interactive game are in DVD style cases.

Keeping things from shifting around too much is a clear plastic insert, which might be tempting to toss, but comes in handy just to keep things in their place.

Overall its beautiful and clever packaging. And in the hopes that releases of the next two films will include an option for matching packaging, I checked to see if two more films will fit inside the box and they will.


Bonus DVD: 3/5
The majority of items on the disc are pre-release promotional featurettes created for television. As such the content tends to be superficial, covering the basic stories and characters without much in-depth content. The exceptions are the first two “Goblet of Fire” pieces, which provide some interesting nuggets not previously seen, and the interview with Alfonso Cuaron, who offers some interesting insights into the “Azkaban” story. The rest of the featurettes will likely appeal to only the most ardent fans.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: A Glimpse Into the World of Harry Potter (9m12s)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets...Revealed (12m59s)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Something Wicked This Way Comes (13m00s)

The Making of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (10m00s)

An Interview in Spanish with Alfonso Cuaron (8m14s)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Behind the Magic (48m44s)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Some Animal Magic (23m24s)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Dark Matters, New Masters (13m00s)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Rebellion Begins (23m09s)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Fulfilling the Prophecy (13m00s)


Other Extras: 4/5

Harry Potter Interactive DVD Game: Hogwarts Challenge: First off I've never been a fan of these types of things, but that said it does look well made. I'm just not sure about the functionality of using a DVD remote to execute certain movements, but then I'm not the most hand-eye coordinated person either. It was smart of producers to move these types of activities onto their own disc rather than have them get in the way of accessing extras on the feature discs, as was the case on the "Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter Collector's Character Cards: Four sets of four cards housed in a cardstock envelope addressed to Harry at 4 Privet Drive. I didn't have the heart to open each of the sets to see who is included, but we can assume all the principal players are covered.

Harry Potter Bookmark Collection: Five metal bookmarks representing the four Hogwarts houses and the Sword of Gryffindor. Nicely made and designed.


Recap

The Packaging: 5/5
Bonus DVD: 3/5
Other Extras: 4/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5

Nicely designed packaging and some nice collectible extras add up to a lot of charm.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Year: 2001
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2h32m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Video (special features): 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio: PCM: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1 EX, Spanish 5.1 EX
Audio (special features): Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Subtitles (special features): English, Spanish (on select material)

The Feature: 3.5/5
Often criticized for its lackluster direction and slavish adherence to the novel, the first film has some undeniable charms thanks to perfect casting and impeccable production design. If not for the attention paid to these two elements I imagine the franchise would have died an untimely death for failing to capture the intricate, magical world so deftly created by author J.K. Rowling. And though the script and direction may lack a certain subtlety or art, they ultimately did the most important thing, which was create a solid foundation for the franchise to grow and become a suitable companion to the series of novels.


Video Quality: 4/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1 and free of dust, dirt and damage. Edge halos are generally absent, but they do pop up occasionally in scenes with high contrast edges. Black levels and contrast can be inconsistent, but I recall this being a problem in the theatrical release as well, in particular the opening nighttime scene. Known as a bit of a mess on the DVD release, the high definition transfer remedies the problems in that scene but reveals the limitations of the source. Blacks are solid and inky otherwise. Detail is also quite good, object textures and sharp specular highlights giving real depth to the visuals, though I was somewhat surprised by a couple instances when wide, lower light shots seemed to lose some detail. Overall this is a very good transfer that has some obvious improvements over the DVD, but that is certainly the least visually impressive of the five films.


Audio Quality: 4/5
The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track, most likely ported from the DVD release, is important for those who can't access the uncompressed PCM 5.1 track. But of course the uncompressed track is preferable for its added sonic depth, clarity and texture that makes the viewing experience that much more immersive. That said, the first film doesn't have the most interesting or lively of mixes, surround activity existing in obvious places but not really present when it could provide some added atmosphere or tone. LFE is equally utilitarian, making the track a well-done transfer of a pretty straightforward audio mix.


Special Features: 2.5/5

The special features package is more acceptable with the elimination of the puzzle solving tasks that were used in the DVD release, but it still remains a rather lightweight affair. Unfortunately it seems not all the extras from the DVD release have carried over, namely the concept drawings and the set walkarounds. Video is 16x9 unless noted otherwise.

Capturing the Stone (16m24s): Cast and crew talk about adapting the book for film and selecting the actors to play the beloved characters. Matted 4x3.

Ghosts of Hogwarts (38s): A review of the ghost characters inhabiting the school.

Yearbook Character Clips: Highlight clips for each character, from Harry Potter to Rubeus Hagrid.

Quidditch Lesson (43s): A recap of the Quidditch rules as explained by Oliver Wood, intercut with game footage.

Dragon Egg Lesson (30s): More information about how to hatch a dragon egg.

Around the World Multilanguage Clip: View a scene in eight language dubs.

Teaser Trailer (1m50s)

Theatrical Trailer (2m23s)

Deleted Scenes (8m57s)


Title Recap

The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

The inaugural - but largely utilitarian - first film in the Harry Potter franchise gets very good high definition audio and video transfers but the special features package remains rather lackluster despite being more readily accessible to users. And unfortunately not all the extras from the DVD release have carried over.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Year: 2002
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2h41m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Video (special features): 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio: PCM: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1 EX, French 5.1 EX, French 5.1 EX (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1 EX, Catalan 5.1 EX, Danish 5.1 EX, Dutch 5.1 EX, Flemish 5.1 EX, German 5.1 EX, Italian 5.1 EX, Japanese 5.1 EX, Swedish 5.1 EX
Audio (special features): Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish
Subtitles (special features): English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish (on select material)

The Feature: 3.5/5
The second installment in the franchise saw the introduction of the all-digital character, Dobby the House Elf. Though such creations are more commonplace today (and incorporate more motion capture), at the time theatergoers were still washing the taste of Jar Jar Binks out of their mouths. Five years later Dobby doesn't come off as annoying as I remember and his live action integration holds up quite well.

The second film also ups the ante across all areas - the production design is richer and more intricate, the cinematography more deeply dramatic and the script more focused (despite the film being the longest so far). The three principal actors also seem to be growing more comfortable with their characters and with the work in general. Though not the best film of the five, like the novel on which it's based, "Chamber of Secrets" is surprisingly good when it probably could have gotten away with just doing more of the same.


Video Quality: 4.5/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1 and free of dust, dirt, damage and edge halos. Black levels and contrast are more consistent compared to the previous film and the improved cinematography is shown off to great effect, especially in the moody torch-lit hallways and classrooms. Some shots still seem to suffer from flattened contrast and a few daytime scenes look a touch hot, though colors are on the whole are deeper and richer, resulting in a greater "wow" factor. Fine object detail also shows an improvement, highlighting the exceptional work done on the sets and props filling scenes like Weasely home, not to mention the usual benefactors - particulate matter like dirt, sand and snow flakes.


Audio Quality: 4.5/5
The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 track, most likely ported from the DVD release, is important for those who can't access the uncompressed PCM 5.1 track. But of course the uncompressed track is preferable for its added sonic depth, clarity and texture that makes the viewing experience that much more immersive, particularly in this second film where atmospheric effects are more heavily used. The Quidditch match shows how much livelier the surround mix is for this second film. Though shorter, the match is more exciting compared to the first film's, much of it due to the aggressive activity across the speaker array. LFE also seems to be used more, though some of it has to do with the type of action taking place - giant snakes demanding that sort of thing more than flying keys or disembodied wizards.


Special Features: 3/5

The special features package includes items with a little more substance compared to the "Sorcerer's Stone" release, though some items are still obviously geared to children. Again, the concept art found on the DVD release has been left off. Video is 4x3 unless noted otherwise.

A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves (16m09s): Rowling and Kloves talk about adapting the novels to film, differences between the two mediums and their feelings about how "Chamber of Secrets" turned out.

Lockhart's Classroom (1m28s): A guided tour of various items in Lockhart's classroom, including his awards and certificates and his collected works.

Behind Hogwarts: Building A Scene (17m20s): A survey of film production, including production design, set decoration, props, visual effects, cinematography, wardrobe, hair and makeup, and post-production.

Interviews with Students (8m13s): The child actors answer various questions, including the evolution of their characters, how they've developed as actors and experiences on set.

Interviews with Professors and More (9m41s): The adult actors talk about their respective characters.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (16m25s): Nineteen scenes in 16x9.

Year One at Hogwarts (1m54s): A recap of the first film. 16x9.

Theatrical Trailer (2m09s)


Title Recap

The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

The second installment makes improvements across all areas of the production, which trickles down to the audio and video transfers as well as the special features package. Unfortunately not all the extras from the DVD release have carried over.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2h12m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Video (special features): 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio: PCM: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1, French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1, Catalan 5.1, Danish 5.1, Dutch 5.1, Flemish 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Japanese 5.1, Swedish 5.1
Audio (special features): Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish
Subtitles (special features): English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish (on select material)

The Feature: 5/5
With the franchise firmly established, the producers seemed willing to take some risks, most notable of them being the selection of director Alfonso Cuaron to helm "The Prisoner of Azkaban." Most known for his mature coming-of-age film, "Y Tu Mama Tambien," Cuaron was certainly an unconventional choice but one that resulted in the most stylish and well-constructed Potter film to date. The break between productions was also a bit longer, which probably helped refine the end product but also confirmed that children grow like weeds. After two years Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were inarguably teenagers in both appearance and attitude, and a darker and more mature film seemed more than appropriate to match the growth of both the characters and the actors playing them. Casting also continued to be pitch perfect with the selection of Gary Oldman to play Sirius Black and David Thewlis to play Professor Lupin. Unfortunately, the passing of Richard Harris, who was the perfect Dumbledore, left some big shoes that many say have yet to be filled despite actor Michael Gambon's sizable talents.


Video Quality: 5/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1 and free of dust, dirt, damage and edge halos. With its more stylized cinematography black levels tend to be a bit crushed, shadow delineation and detail often lacking but blacks themselves deep and inky. Fine object detail continues to be excellent, specular highlights, textures and reflections lending scenes a remarkable depth by their clarity. While more monochromatic than colorful, the film's stylistic look and tone is translated beautifully to video by the high definition transfer and should more than please those fans who rank "The Prisoner of Azkaban" as their favorite Potter film.


Audio Quality: 4.5/5
The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 track, most likely ported from the DVD release, is important for those who can't access the uncompressed PCM 5.1 track. But of course the uncompressed track is preferable for its added sonic depth, clarity and texture that makes the viewing experience that much more immersive. Compared to the previous films, surround channels provide increased soundtrack support, as well as atmospheric and environmental effects - important given the director's many stylistic flourishes. LFE is largely unnoticeable, but again there aren't that many instances where it would be appropriate (the Whomping Willow and giant doors opening being the exceptions). Overall the audio mix is cleanly rendered and provides excellent support to the phenomenal visuals.


Special Features: 3.5/5

The highlight of the package is the interview with cast and crew, but unfortunately it's marred by an apparent attempt to make it more appealing to youngsters. Some extras from the DVD release have also been left off. Video is 4x3 unless noted otherwise.

Creating the Vision (11m45s): Producers, screenwriter, director and author talk about adapting the third book to film.

Head to Shrunken Head (43m04s): Broadcast personality Johnny Vaughn and the Shrunken Head interview cast and crew. The inclusion of the Shrunken Head is an attempt to give some levity to the proceedings, but ultimately is awkward and wears thin. Aside from that it's nice to hear from so many of the cast and crew, many for the first time since the previous film's special features are so thin.

Choir Practice (1m40s): Karaoke / music video for the "Something Wicked This Way Comes" choral piece.

Care of Magical Creatures (4m46s): A look at the various animals used in the film and their training.

Conjuring A Scene (15m37s): A look at hair and makeup, visual effects, mechanical effects, and locations.

Trelawney's Crystal Ball: Unfinished/Deleted Scenes (4m47s): Five scenes.

Trailers: Theatrical trailers for the first three films. Strangely, the Azkaban trailer is matted widescreen 4x3 where the others are 16x9.


Title Recap

The Feature: 5/5
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5

The best Potter film gets excellent audio and video transfers and a special features package that provides more substance than the previous releases. Still, in its attempt to appeal to both adults and children, the special features package continues to be a bit on the superficial side and not all the extras from the DVD release have carried over.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Year: 2005
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2h37m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Video (special features): 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio: PCM: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1, French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1, Catalan 5.1, Danish 5.1, Dutch 5.1, Flemish 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Japanese 5.1, Swedish 5.1
Audio (special features): Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish
Subtitles (special features): English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish (on select material)

The Feature: 2.5/5
Adapting novels that have progressively increased in physical size and narrative complexity can't be easy, but of the five films "Goblet of Fire" feels the most scattershot. Surprising, given the installment's rather unidirectional plot revolving around the Triwizard Tournament. For at least a good third of the film scenes feel like mere set pieces with the barest connective tissue between them. For those familiar with the novel the blanks can be adequately filled, but for those new to the story it likely proves hard to follow or at least disorienting. Of the five films I would say "Goblet of Fire" is the weakest for its initial lack of cohesiveness and failure to really bring anything new to the table, despite some rather significant developments in the overall story arc.


Video Quality: 4.5/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1 and free of dust, dirt, damage and edge halos. Blacks are deep and inky with good shadow detail and delineation, though the many CGI environments lack a similar depth in contrast that some might find distracting. Fine object detail is excellent, wide shots of things like the Quidditch Cup stadium and the Hogwarts grounds looking satisfyingly three dimensional.


Audio Quality: 4/5
The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 track, most likely ported from the DVD release, is important for those who can't access the uncompressed PCM 5.1 track. But of course the uncompressed track is preferable for its added sonic depth, clarity and texture that makes the viewing experience that much more immersive. "Goblet of Fire" seems to take a small step back in the dynamic quality of the audio mix, surrounds providing mostly soundtrack support and environmental effects. With its less stylistic storytelling approach, there isn't much use of atmospheric sound effects, at least not on par with the previous film. But as it is the track gets the job done, though at times dialogue can be a bit difficult to understand with the increase in international accents.


Special Features: 4/5

Gone are the juvenile embellishments found on the other releases, offering a solid and entertaining special features package. As this is my least favorite Potter film I never got around to adding the DVD to my collection, so I can't confirm if all the special features have carried over to this release. Video is 4x3 unless noted otherwise.

Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task (6m08s): A look at creating the CGI dragon.

In Too Deep: The Second Task (9m48s): A look at creating the Black Lake underwater environment, the dive training required to film the live action pieces, and various other challenges.

The Maze: The Third Task (6m48s): A look at creating the maze environment.

Meet the Champions (13m03s): A day in the lives of the actors playing Fleur Delacour, Cedric Diggory and Viktor Krum.

He Who Must Not Be Named (11m09s): A look at developing Voldemort's physical form and character.

Preparing for the Yule Ball (9m03s): The cast talk about learning to dance and getting made up for the scene.

Conversations with the Cast (30m36s): Host Richard Curtis talks with the three principal actors about the film. Contest winners also get a chance to ask the actors several questions. 16x9.

Reflections on the Fourth Film (14m13s): Teen cast members look back on the last few years of filming, talk about camaraderie on the set and experiences on set.

Additional Scenes (10m08s): The majority of scenes center around the Yule Ball event, but unfortunately don't answer the question of what happened between Ron and Hermione after their initial argument. 16x9.

Theatrical Trailer (1m17s): 16x9.


Title Recap

The Feature: 2.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

A disappointing installment in the franchise gets very good audio and video transfers and an improved, more mature set of special features.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2h18m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Video (special features): Partially 1080i or 1080p high definition, partially 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio: PCM: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1, French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1, Catalan 5.1, Danish 5.1, Dutch 5.1, Flemish 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Japanese 5.1, Swedish 5.1
Audio (special features): Stereo
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish
Subtitles (special features): English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish (on select material)

The Feature: 4/5
The fifth franchise installment presents a troubled, volatile Harry Potter, understandable given what he's been through in the last four years. And Daniel Radcliffe seems more than up to the challenge of depicting the character's emotional journey of confusion, disappointment and fear. Despite passing the halfway point in the series, things continue to feel fresh and exciting as audiences get a first look into the bureaucracy behind the Ministry of Magic and are introduced to the most perverse character outside of Lord Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). Though the books and films have always had some degree of mature element to them, themes or messages that have ranged from racism to the price of fame, the underlying notions in "Order of the Phoenix" feel the most profound given recent and current events in the real world. Though I found the previous film a disappointment, "Order of the Phoenix" gets things back on track and renews hope that the subsequent films will be as exciting as their source material.


Video Quality: 5/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1 and free of dust, dirt, damage and edge halos. The transfer is all-around excellent, whether its the opening scenes in the Muggle world with their strongly saturated colors or the more monochromatic palette used in the remainder of the film, where blacks are satisfyingly deep and inky. Fine object detail is equally excellent, the dry playground grass in the opening and intricate details of Grimmauld Place interiors really standing out.


Audio Quality: 4.5/5
The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 track is important for those who can't access the uncompressed PCM 5.1 track. But of course the uncompressed track is preferable for its added sonic depth, clarity and texture that makes the viewing experience that much more immersive. The "Order of Phoenix" mix returns to a more dynamic aesthetic, the soundtrack support in the surrounds seeming more aggressive than the previous film, though still balanced with the rest of the array. Environmental and atmospheric effects are also used quite nicely, making for an engaging viewing experience. Consistent with the rest of the films, LFE is used sparingly but effectively, and dialogue is clear and intelligible.


Special Features: 4/5

The mature presentation of the special features package continues, much to my relief, and offers a thorough set of behind-the-scenes nuggets. Video is 16x9 unless noted otherwise.

Focus Points (1h03m): Behind-the-scenes vignettes can be played independently or during the course of the feature. Subjects cover everything from visual effects to funny incidents during production to the various sets and props. Accessing the pieces during the feature is "old school" by hitting "Enter" when an icon appears. It's certainly not as sexy as it is on the HD-DVD version, which integrates it with the picture-in-picture "In Movie Experience" (though the method of access is similar), but as such it does what it's supposed to.

Trailing Tonks (19m25s): The enthusiastic Natalia Tena, who plays Tonks, takes viewers on a tour of the production at Leavesden.

The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter (43m54s): Retrospective on the Harry Potter films covers major points in the story arc in case anyone's confused.

Additional Scenes (10m54s): Nine scenes; includes a hilarious sequence that shows the extent of Emma Thompson's physical acting talents.

Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing (5m21s): Director David Yates and Editor Mark Day provide a good introduction to film editing for younger audiences. Viewers then have the ability to edit a scene. The controls in the activity are a little clunky and I'm not sure if the limited choices (and the end product) will ultimately give youngsters a real sense of the editing process. There also is no way to get to the activity without having to go through the featurette first.


Title Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

The fifth film gets the franchise back on track and gets excellent audio and video transfers and a solid special features package.

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#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted December 31 2007 - 01:31 AM

Awesome review, I'll probably wait for the whole series to be done before buying a box set tho =)

Quote:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Feature: 4/5

Interesting, I agree with the scores on the other films, and I havent seen this in HD yet, but I thought OOTP was the weakest of the films so far... I guess my biggest complaint was that so much of the book was cut out and that it seemed rushed and strung together.

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#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted December 31 2007 - 01:46 AM

What a herculean task reviewing this set, Cameron! Cheers to you on a job well done!

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   BrettB

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Posted December 31 2007 - 03:18 AM

I'm not a Harry Potter fan but wanted to give you props for the mega-review. Posted Image

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted December 31 2007 - 03:36 AM

I agree completely with your assessment of the films so far, with POA being the best and GOF the worst. Excellent work on the review.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#6 of 12 ONLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted December 31 2007 - 05:28 AM

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read it all!

You'd think I'd be Potter-ed out by now but I'm actually thinking of reading the books again. Posted Image
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#7 of 12 OFFLINE   James Ryfun

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Posted December 31 2007 - 11:09 AM

I just got my set today and I can't wait to dig into it. I agree with you about the bookmarks - they're one of the highlights of the packaging. My only nit-pik about the whole affair is that it can be a bit cumbersome getting out an individual disc and putting everything else back in. So for now, I have all the discs out of the box (with the exception of the interactive game disc, I doubt I'll ever use that) and I'll just return them all when I'm done watching all the films. But overall, it's a cool set to have displayed with my collection.

Let's just hope they do indeed release the films yet to come in similar style boxes, so we can keep them all together. Though I doubt they will. Posted Image

And I also agree with you about Goblet of Fire being the weakest film in the series. Though I also have to confess, I think the 1st film is still my favorite.

Overall, very nice job on the review of this massive package. I know it couldn't have been easy. My thanks to you on a job very well done.

#8 of 12 ONLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted December 31 2007 - 11:20 AM

Thanks James!

Good point about accessing each of the items - it is probably too much like a suitcase in that respect. Fortunately we don't need to worry about where to put the dirty laundry. Posted Image
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#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Todd smith

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Posted December 31 2007 - 04:46 PM

I watched 3, 4 and 5 over the last week and agree about the PQ, but I think 5 deserves better props for audio quality. The LFE in particular is noticably more agressive than any of the previous films, and the soundtrack in general just has a higher quality feel to it. There are so many great LFE/bass/sound moments in this one it is fantastic. My Buttkickers bottomed out on 2 different occasions during this one which did not happen in the other 2. Nice job on the reviews.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted January 01 2008 - 03:33 PM

Wow! Great job on the reviews! I just picked up the first 4 films with Amazon's current B1G1 sale so I'm really looking forward to digging into them. But I'm a little confused about how the boxset fits together on the inside, is there places/room to set the final two films when they are eventually released?
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#11 of 12 ONLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted January 01 2008 - 03:46 PM

Thanks Chris.

All the items stack on top of each other. The box of bookmarks go on the very bottom into an inset compartment, then the rest stack on top of that. If the final two films are also released in similar digipack cases they should fit into the box perfectly. Two standard HDM cases are just a tad too thick for the box to close without forcing it. I'm hoping the extra space in the box is a sign Warner will either have releases in the "Limited Edition" style cases or have some kind of offer to order them.
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#12 of 12 OFFLINE   James Ryfun

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Posted January 01 2008 - 04:09 PM

I'm only up to the 2nd film (Chamber of Secrets) but so far I'm extremely happy with the quality of these discs. What struck me right away is the natural film grain of the first 2 films Warner didn't attempt to "DNR" away. It's all intact, which should make film purists happy.

I love these movies (though I agree the books are even better) and I'm just happy to have them in HD. I tend to rewatch films I love a lot, and these will probably be in my rotation often.