The Movie: 10/10
The second to last in a long line of Harry Potter movies, that has done an excellent job of turning the fantastical story into a movie series, the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is another superb release. All of the movies have been excellent, and this one is no exception. If you have somehow lived under a rock for 10 years, then you need to grab the books and then watch the movies, but if you are a fan, this is the beginning of the end. The story takes place soon after Dumbledore’s demise, and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is thrown smack into the middle of a quest to destroy the remaining Horcruxes before “he who cannot be named” regains the rest of his power. If it sounds fantastical and amazing, it is. This is not the movie to start on if you have seen none of them, and I won’t bother to try to get at the massive story here.
Deathly Hallows Part 1 starts off, and remains, a dark and ominous tale. The kid wizards are not kids any longer, and Voldemort is back, with death following him at every step. Gone is the protection of Dumbledore and Hogwarts, and what is left is a dizzying tale of Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine (Emma Watson) as they flee all that they know to try to somehow track down the remaining Horcruxes, without any real direction or focus to guide them.
The movie is bleak and scary at times, and the characters are presented in a much more mature manner, with great effect. It is kind of nice to get to the meat of the story, and to leave lots of the cutesy kid comedy behind at this point, as the impending standoff between Harry and Voldemort finally draws near.
I loved this movie a lot more than I thought I would, merely because of the more adult tone. Everything about the series has been great, and the ending should be as well. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 has taken the series in a new direction on film, and it is setting up the final chapter to be epic. My only slight complaint is that fact that the ending is a bit abrupt, and it left me wanting the last chapter, NOW. Both gripes are to be expected, since the book had to be divided up somewhere, and there is nothing we can do but wait for the finale, but that is also a testament to how good this movie is. It is almost sad to thing of this journey being over, so I will simply enjoy this while I can and wait for the final chapter, which is sure to be a stunner as well.
- Maximum Movie Mode – This is a rather rich picture-in-picture mode that features interviews with the cast and crew, as well as some juicy looks at the making of this, the second to last Potter installment. This extra runs along with the movie and is just full of information about the movie, with behind the scenes shots, alternate scenes, and the whole lot. This is a very good feature.
- The Seven Harrys – This is an interesting look at Daniel Radcliffe’s take on the different Harry’s throughout the movies.
- On The Green With Rupert, Tom, Oliver & James – This is a rather strange inclusion, with some of the characters playing a round of golf and discussing growing up together over the span of the movies.
- Additional Scenes – There are several additional scenes included on Disc 2 of the release, showcasing some of the scenes that were cut out of the movie. Many of these scenes are from the book but were obviously forced out due to time constraints.
- Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1 Behind The Soundtrack – In this bit we get to see the creation of the sweeping soundtrack to the movie.
- Digital Copy – There is the obligatory digital copy here, which is nice.
- Sneak Peek at the trailer for Part 2 – Also included is a nice trailer for the upcoming, final release in the movie series.
Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
The cover and menu for the Deathly Hallows Part 1 are just as dark and gritty as the movie itself. I love the look of the cover, which is a long cry from the early Potter movies. The Hogwart’s crew looks tired and weary, as they are in the movie, and the tension shows just from the cover shot. The menu keeps that feeling going as it is dark as well, with scenes from the movie playing on an almost black screen.
Audio & Video: 10/10
This is one of those Blu-ray releases that just feels perfect. The 1080p AVC encode is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, and it looks magnificent, especially considering that much of the movie is really dark and not well lit. There is so much clarity and depth here that it is astonishing. The black levels are spot on, and while the whole movie is dark and ominous, the effects and coloring of the movie simply enhance that feeling throughout. The audio was also nearly perfect. In a few of the Potter movies I have had issues with low dialogue in parts, but I feel that in this one the issue never occurs. There is no shortage of booming sound effects used here with true effect, and the mixing just seems natural. This is a Blu-ray to show off your home theater.
My only qualm with giving this movie a 10 would be the ultimate idea that there will be numerous other releases of this movie on Blu-ray, probably including a final box-set at the end of the series. If you don’t have any of the Harry Potter movies on Blu-ray, I would wait for what could be an amaxing box-set release, but otherwise this is a movie to own and watch. This is my favorite movie of the series, and I can’t wait for the last one. This is Harry Potter all grown up and ready to kick some butt, and it works very well.
Overall Score 10/10