Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Street Date:
- March 28th, 2017
- Reviewed by:
- Bryan Kluger
- Review Date: 1
- March 28th, 2017
- Movie Release Year:
- Warner Bros.
- 146 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 3D Blu-ray, where Aaron Peck wrote about the Bonus Materials. This review features new Movie, Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio, and Final Thoughts sections.
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
One of my favorite things is when I go into a theater is to have my expectations exceeded well beyond what I could have hoped. The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is one such film.
While I’m not as young as Harry, I've grown up with Harry Potter and his friends at Hogwarts throughout these several years. The first book came out in 1998 in the USA when I was 17, the first film in 2001 when I was 20. In that sense, as the Harry Potter films matured, so did I (contrary to popular belief).
The first two films, directed by Christopher Columbus (Ms. Doubtfire), did a good job in adapting the beloved book, although it played to a mostly kid audience and was very juvenile. But that is what the kids were -- they were about 11 or 12. The Prisoner of Azkaban is where the franchise began to stand on its own, with each new film entry growing darker as the characters aged. It has been a magnificent ride journeying with Ron, Harry, Hermione, and all the other Hogwarts students as they battled evil, went to school dances, explored first kisses, and struggled with the turmoil that comes with friendship and love, much like anyone else.
I have read all seven books and have loved each adaptation. They filmmakers have done a remarkable job at transferring this incredible story from print to film. More so than any of the other books, I've wanted to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because it is the most important, because I was curious as to how it would come to a closure visually, and because I wanted to feel those emotions from reading the book.
Part 1 of this two-part climax opens up with Voldemort and his evil wizard minions sitting at a long table as they torture and murder and feed the corpse of a Hogwarts professor to Voldemort's snake. And that's just the first five minutes of this dark movie.
Voldemort -- back, alive and in the flesh -- wants to rule the Wizarding and Muggle worlds and murder Harry Potter. Everyone related to Hogwarts flees into hiding, particularly in the Muggle world. Here is where we see Hermione do something that just plain sparks tears in your eyes as she has to vanish herself. You really feel for her.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron meet up with the Order of the Phoenix at some undisclosed location where Harry finds out that Voldemort is solely after him and that the Order will do everything to protect him. But on the way to the next safe house, Voldemort's Death Eaters attack, maiming and killing. Harry, Hermione, and Ron realize the only way to defeat Voldemort is to find the remaining Horcruxes, which means going off alone.
There is no Hogwarts in this film. No students learning or classes being held. This is a film of survival and killing whoever gets in your way. This is a film where Evil triumphs over good, effecitvely making it Empire Strikes Back of the Harry Potter films.
But this is also a story of true friendship and loyalty.
I love that in this movie, you get to see Harry, Ron, and Hermione use all the spells they have learned throughout the years (tot just the normal one or two; they all come into play). I also love seeing how these three friends stick together through the hard times as well as the good times, and what they do with each other to take their mind off all the horrible situations that are attacking them at every moment. It's some pretty powerful stuff with some very emotional coming of age scenes as well.
Like I said. This is a very dark film. You have characters dying, loved ones saying goodbye for good, and in the film's final moment, you get a feeling that Harry Potter is completely screwed! There is no way to win, it seems, just like Empire Strikes Back.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 comes with a dual-layered UHD66 Disc, a Blu-ray Disc of the film, and a 3rd Blu-ray Disc with all of the bonus material from Warner Bros. that are Region A Locked. There is an insert for a Digital HD copy as well. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case where two of the three discs are stacked on top of each other. There is a cardboard sleeve too.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is presented in 4K Ultra HD with an HEVC H.265 encode in 2160p and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. It's hard to believe this film is seven years old already. Time flies by for sure. Part 1 was filmed in Super 35mm and finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate before this release, which was upconverted to 4K UHD with an impressive HDR10 / WCG grading.
There is definitely an upgrade here in detail and color for sure, which is good because the film's tone and look are rather bleak. There is a good layer of grain throughout, giving the movie a very filmic look. And while detail is hindered by the grain, this HDR pass delivers a ton of clarity, especially in the darker scenes. The scales on Voldemort's snake are impressive and textured, which you can see even in the low lighting. The knitting in all the costumes stand out nicely too.
Ron's nasty arm wounds look more gruesome and realistic in UHD, as you can see the muscle and gore more clearly. With the wider color range of colors, objects and costumes look stellar. The film features tons of hazy blues, grays, and greens, all of which pop a bit brighter. Thanks to the HDR, Hagrid's motorcycle flame is spectacularly bright with reds and oranges as it flies through the dark storm clouds. The big bright LED screens in the center of London also look rich and deep with reds, blues, and greens.
The forest provides many shades of greenery as well, as the trio runs from the Dementors. There are a few scenes where there are warmer colors of browns and oranges, which all look amazing. Black levels are deep and inky with zero crush or banding. Skin tones are natural for the most part, but can be on the cool side with all of the gloomy tones from the source. There is a ton of depth here to the image and is definitely an upgrade from previous version without any compression issues. Needless to say, this is a top-notch video presentation.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This UHD release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 has an English: DTS:X track that sounds brilliant. The extra heft here definitely immerses you into every suspenseful moment, as well as every intimate situation with the three main characters. Like the standard Blu-ray, this audio track is demo worthy, but the added overhead effects are truly remarkable and the whole mix sounds smoother than before. Quiet conversations inside large corridors have the echoes that are desired and the meaningful talks inside the tent are natural and sound excellent with the forest atmospherics in the background.
Other dialogue is crystal clear and easy to follow. Sound effects are full of life and pack a powerful punch as each magic spell shoots from everyone's wands. This is where the overhead sounds come in handy. While the Death Eaters and Dementors are attacking everyone from Hogwarts in the sky, or when Luna's house is being fired upon, you will hear the amazing bursts of magic from above, which puts you in the center of all the action. It's thrilling!
Add to that all the ambient noises of rain, wind, and thunder, which are all dynamic and well layered with excellent directionality, and you have yourself a fairly flawless audio presentation. The low end packs the bass during the impressive score and heavier action scenes as well without crossing into rocky territory too. This is a fantastic audio mix and an upgrade from the previous release for sure.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Blu-ray Disc 1
Maximum Movie Mode (HD) — Actor Jason Issacs hosts this Maximum Movie Mode. Many other crew members pop up along the way. Producer David Heyman comes along near the beginning to talk about a deleted scene between Harry and Dudley and why they had to cut it. This scene is included in the additional scenes, but it's nice to have someone close to the film explain why it was cut and what purpose it served. The production designer Stuart Craig stops by to tell us about the movie's dark and ominous look and also lets us in on a secret that they studied 'Citizen Kane' for the look of this movie. Tom Felton comes along every now and then to explain more about what is happening by reading passages from the book. These are invaluable to a person who hasn't read the books. I really enjoyed this part of this Maximum Movie Mode. Even though there are quite a few dead spots without any Maximum Movie Mode events happening, this is a great companion to the movie. It explains much more in-depth information about the movie and talks about where deleted scenes would have been inserted. Issacs comes along every now and then with interesting tidbits of trivia about the 'Harry Potter' universe. Overall, this isn't just for fans, it's for anyone who wants to know more about the movie and its source material.
Blu-ray Disc 2
Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 7: The Story (HD, 47 min.) - This is one of the best entries in this series of documentaries. It's one of the most personal and forthcoming retrospective looks at the franchise as a whole. J.K. Rowling and screenwriter Steve Kloves sit down and have a frank chat about the movie franchise. They talk about changes of the story as they adapted the scripts from the original novels. They discuss controversial changes, they're honest about what they think could've been done better, and they even touch on Dumbledore's ambiguous sexuality. This is a great amount of insight on what it was like adapting the books to films. How Rowling felt about the films, how it was difficult to include everything that fans loved, and what needed to be left out in order to create streamlined movies.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: Behind the Magic (HD, 44 Mins.) - This is an in depth behind the scenes look at the bigger action sequences and heavier visual effects sequences in the film with tons of interviews with the entire cast and crew. There is a lot of B-roll footage and behind the scenes takes here too. Everyone discusses their characters and working on the film in these certain scenes. You'll see a ton of green screen shots and on location shots too.
Harry Potter: On The Road (HD, 20 Mins.) - This shows you all of the fun locations that were used in the film around England and how they transformed certain locations for the film.
The Return of the Order (HD, 6 Mins.) - The actors who are in 'The Order of the Phoenix' talk about being back in the film and how their characters have changed over time.
Scabior and Greyback (HD, 4 Mins.) - These two characters are the focus point here as the crew and actors talk about their look, motives, and storyline in the universe.
Dobby's Farewell (HD, 5 Mins.) - The main cast and crew talk about how important Dobby was in the books and film and why his death needed to be shown the way it was.
The Look of Bill Weasley (HD, 4 Mins.) - Costume Designer Jany Temime talks about how she crafted the costume for Bill Weasley, in that he looks like a rock star.
The Weasleys (HD, 4 Mins.) - All of the actors who play the Weasleys talk about the family dynamic in the film throughout all the movies.
The State of Evil (HD, 10 Mis.) - All of the villains in the film discuss their characters and how they've changed over time and what they're up to in this particular film.
The New Guys (HD, 7 Mins.) - Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, and Domhall Gleeson are new members to the cast in this film, and they discuss being on set, their characters, and time spent making the movie.
One Book, Two Movies (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about why they took the one book and split it into two movies, which made a ton of sense. There was a joke that they could have made three movies from the last book.
The Wizarding Pro Shop (HD, 6 Mins.) - A really cool feature where the prop master Pierre Bohanna talks and shows us some of the cooler props from he set and how they were made.
The Last Days of Privet Drive (HD, 2 min.) — A short featurette about how the movie is saying goodbye to Harry's house on Privet Drive and the Durselys.
Hagrid's Motorbike (HD, 4 min.) — This featurette talks about the opening scene where Harry and Hagrid ride the enchanted motorbike through the air. They talk about the special effects that went into the sequence, and how they had seven different motorbikes to use for different parts.
Magical Tents! (HD, 2 min.) — Here the set designers talk about designing the different tents for the movie, like the giant wedding tent used at the beginning.
Creating Dobby and Kreacher (HD, 4 min.) — Just your standard bit of outtakes while filming.
The Return of Griphook (HD, 4 min.) — Actor Warwick Davis talks about the many different characters he's played over the course of the series.
The Seven Harrys (HD, 5 min.) — The special effects for the Polyjuice Potion scene at the beginning are explained. They show exactly how the entire scene was created and how everyone in the room was turned into Harry.
On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James (HD, 13 min.) — The actors who play the Weasley brothers go over the fun times that they've had together on set, and we also follow them on a golf trip.
Dan, Rupert, and Emma's Running Competition (HD, 3 min.) — The big three talk about how much running they do in the movie. Specifically they talk about how the scene where they're running from the Snatchers in the forest and the competition they had between each other.
Godric's Hollow/The Harry and Nagini Battle (HD, 6 min.) — Shooting Godric's Hollow and the battle between Harry and Voldemort's snake is discussed here with the cast and crew.
The Frozen Lake (HD, 4 min.) — The lake scene where Harry finds himself being strangled by the locket is discussed here. You're able to see exactly how they filmed it and what it took.
Additional Scenes (HD, 11 min.) — Eight scenes are included here. As a person who hasn't read the books I enjoyed the simple scene used to explain the radio that Ron carries around with him. I also really liked the scene between Harry and Mrs. Drusley who has a rare special moment with Harry. There's a funny scene that involves Ron and Harry disguised as Ministry workers who take an elevator ride with Mr. Weasley. Most of the scenes here would have been nice to have in the movie for Harry Potter dummies like me. They're good filler scenes that help explain more about certain objects and help explain character's motives.
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack (HD, 4 min.) — The original music for the movie is discussed here. A few of the movie's producers talk about how vital the original composing was for this film.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Promotional Trailer (HD, 6 min.) — The Universal theme park in Orlando shows off the opening of their new Wizarding World of Harry Potter complete with a full Hogwarts castle.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Sneak Peek (HD, 5 Mins.) - A few scenes from Part 2.
Trailers (HD, 5 Mins.) - Trailers for the film.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a fantastic start to what's to come for the people of Hogwarts. It's a darker world than what we've seen from Harry Potter and works very well as all of the children are now adults dealing with life and death situations. Sure, most of the action happens in Part 2, but this first section is compelling with quite a bit of action and tragedy. The new Ultra HD video and DTS:X audio presentations are top notch and upgrades from the previous releases. Both give new light to this seven year old film again. Plus, pretty much all of the extras from the previous releases are included here for hours of entertainment. Highly Recommended!
- Ultra HD/2 Blu-rays/Digital HD
- 2160p HEVC/H.265
- English DTS:X
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English, Spanish
- Maximum Movie Mode
- Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 7: The Story
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: Behind the Magic
- Behind the Scenes
- Deleted Scenes
- Sneak Peek
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