The 2010 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, once again directed by David Yates from an adaptation by Steve Kloves of J.K. Rowling’s novel, marked the beginning of the end for the Harry Potter saga. This worldwide fantasy phenomenon, which had seen its main characters grow up before our very eyes had become so ingrained and such a moneymaker that the single book was in two for two final films. The resulting film was much more slow-paced than the previous Potter films, and the directly preceding film in particular; The Half-Blood Prince which had as its biggest flaw disjointedness in mood and chronology.
Deathly Hallows — Part 1 is dark, brooding, and at times downright frightening. As Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) have grown up, so too has the story. There’s no Hogwarts magic school, no more classes, the three friends have quickly become adults and must now use everything they’ve learned to save the world and the Ministry of Magic.
Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), the Dark Lord, is growing stronger, and he has taken over the Ministry. He’s killing off Muggles and any magical beings in his path. Now he’s after Harry. Harry and his friends must find the remaining Horcruxes (magical items that contain pieces of Voldemort’s soul) and destroy them before it is too late. Along their journey, they uncover the most powerful magical things ever created – the Deathly Hallows and also learn that Vodemort is after the most powerful wand in the wizarding world, the Elder Wand.
Deathly Hallows will be a bit confusing, no doubt, to anyone who has neither read the books nor seen the previous films in the franchise. Going through the previous films at the very least is recommended, but there is still plenty to enjoy in Deathly Hallows. The acting of the young cast progressed greatly from the first film, especially in Emma Watson’s portrayal of the know-it-all muggle-born Hermione, who by this film comes across far less purposely obnoxious and more sophisticated, complicated, and often conflicted and contradictory and young women (and men) often are.
Yates’ direction for this film is even keeled and he just about abandons the lighthearted fantasy of all the preceding films for a consistent horror – a desaturated image, a sense of dread, a feeling of impending doom and possible death around every corner. Although Deathly Hallows — Part 1 never quite reaches the same adventurous, well-rounded level of The Order of the Phoenix, it can be forgiven given that it is only the first half of a much longer arc in a grand finale to what was and is a great fantasy series.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was shot originally on 35 mm Kodak Vision2 250D 5205 and Vision3 500T 5219 film stock and one can only assume (I’ve not been able to track down any information) that Warner has gone back and rescanned the original negatives to create these 4K releases given it dates from 2010 and originally used a 2K DI (Digital Intermediate) that would have been unlikely to have the 10 or 12-bit depth necessary for HDR. Deathly Hallows arrives on 4K Ultra HD framed at 2.40:1 in an HEVC HDR (HDR10 format) encoded transfer. Of the Harry Potter films on Ultra HD I was sent (the two previous and this), Deathly Hallows Part 1 looks the least impressive. I don’t mean that it looks bad at all, but it is such a dark, desaturated film, that nothing really ‘pops’ and there is a little more graininess apparent as well. The HDR effects are still fantastic, that said, and the contrast is superb between the blackest blacks and shockingly brightest bright effects.
As with the two previous Harry Potter films on Ultra HD (The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince), The Deathly Hallows – Part 1 comes with a new DTS:X (compatible with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) mix. The sound mixers make full use of those added channels mixing lots of solid sound effects and atmospherics through the height channels, the surround back channels, the surround channels, and of course across the front. The first act scene as Harry and co. try to outrun the Death Eaters is just one of the many scenes that will show off your system and give your LFE a workout. If DTS:X had a soft introduction with previous titles, it has finally arrived with a splash on these Harry Potter reissues.
The extras offered are numerous, but only a boon for those who have never owned the multiple issues of Harry Potter releases on Blu-ray and DVD in the past.
- Standard Blu-ray Disc with main feature
- Digital HD UltraViolet
Bonus Blu-ray Disc:
- Behind the Story:
- Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 7: Story (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:47:28) – Hear the story of how J.K. Rowling ad screenwriter Steve Kloves collaborated and developed a friendship based on trust and respect as they sit down for an intimate conversation.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: Behind the Magic (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:44:09) – Discover hoe one of the most complex scenes was assembled and how the flying sequences were shot. Then hear the stories of friendly competition among the stars and gain insight into life on the set.
- Harry Potter: On the Road (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:19:37) – Follow the film’s production all over England for on-location shoots that added new backgrounds to the series.
- The Return of The Order (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:35) – Join the returning members of The Order of the Phoenix as the actors discuss how they feel about being back on set.
- Scabior and Greyback (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:10) – Learn about the creation of newly created characters and the reimagining of vicious werewolf Fenrir Greyback.
- Dobby’s Farewell (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:28) — Interviews with David Yates, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and others illuminate why Dobby’s death scene was so important and what made Dobby such a beloved character.
- The Look of Bill Weasley (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:41) – Costume designer Jany Temime explains the choices behind the clothes and accessories used to give Bill Weasley the rock-star look that defines his character.
- The Weasleys (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:33) – Examine the importance of the Weasleys both as a surrogate family to Harry Potter and as fighters in the war against Voldemort.
- The State of Evil (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:58) – Explore the dark side of the great wizarding war.
- The New Guys (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:06) – Meet the new actors introduced in the film: Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), Rhys Ifans (Xenophilius Lovegood), and Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour).
- One Book, Two Movies (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:38) – Producers David Heyman and David Barron and director David Yates discuss the decision to split J.K. Rowling’s final book into two films.
- The Wizarding Prop Shop (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:28) – Prop maker Pierre Bohanna displays some of the exciting new props created for the film.
- The Seven Harrys (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:29) – Daniel Radcliffe and others give a candid and hilarious demonstration of what it took to make the personalities of the seven Harrys just right.
- On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:38) – Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, and James and Oliver Phelps hit the links at the famed Celtic Manor to discuss their 10 years of comradeship and what lies ahead.
- Dan, Rupert, and Emma’s Running Competition (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:45)– Dan, Rupert, and Emma add a bit of competitive spirit to the escape scene from the snatchers in Swinley Forest while David Yates provides commentary.
- Godric’s Hollow/The Harry and Nagini Battle (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:00)– Take a look inside the design of Godric’s Hollow, home of the Potters. Then watch how the visual and practical effects teams created the battle between Harry and Nagini.
- The Frozen Lake (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:10) – Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint discuss the filming of this crucial scene and the difficulties of filming underwater.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Sneak Peek (1080p/24; 00:04:24)
- Deleted Scenes (2.40:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:54):
- The Burrow’s Shed
- The Dursley House
- Dudley and Harry
- The Granger House
- Ministry of Magic Lifts
- Rabbit Chase in the Forest
- Ron and Hermione Skimming Stones
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Promotional Trailer
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack
- Teaser Trailer
- Theatrical Trailer
The Final Assessment
As a first half to the finale of this beast of a fantasy franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a solid effort. It’s well-paced, mature, and filled with glorious visual effects. There is no better way to relive it than this spectacular Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.
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