For a decade now, Warner Bros. has been bringing us their big screen adaptations of the most popular and most widely read young adult book series of our time. When it came time to conclude the series, it turned out that saying goodbye to Harry Potter was no simple task, so the final movie was split into two parts. The first half arrives on Blu-ray and DVD this week as a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 combo pack.
We received the combo pack from Warner last week, and I was able to check out the movie itself, as well as all the features packed onto the additional Blu-ray. Rose reviewed Deathly Hallows Part 1 for us when it originally released in theaters, so you can check out what she said about the film back then. Unsurprisingly, the video and audio look and sound fantastic on Blu-ray. There’s a lot of darkness in this movie, both thematically and visually, and the colors, shadows, and contrast come through brilliantly. A movie as CG-filled as this one is seems custom tailored to be awesome on Blu-ray, and the presentation does not disappoint.
The array of extras are every bit as fantastic as the movie itself. The version that will be hitting stores this Friday will include an opening scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 as a preview for the final film. That feature was removed from our early review copy to prevent early leaks, so I wasn’t able to see that scene in advance. The rest of the features were intact, though, and here’s what you can look forward to getting:
- Maximum Movie Mode – This special feature that Warner has included in a number of their Blu-ray releases is possibly the best thing to happen to home video releases since the Blu-ray format surfaced. It typically is a feature-length extra that has continual commentary and pop-ups throughout the movie that are both informative and enjoyable. The one they did for Watchmen was great, and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 feature does not disappoint either. Jason Isaacs hosts the maximum movie mode, guiding us through a treasure trove of interviews, behind the scenes snippets, and loads more. This feature alone is worth the price of admission.
- The Seven Harrys – A behind the scenes featurette with Daniel Radcliffe about the filming of the Privet Drive Scene, in which he portrays multiple versions of Harry Potter at once.
- On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James – A featurette with the four actors talking about their longtime friendship over a round of golf.
- Three more brief featurettes offer more behind the scenes footage: “Dan, Rupert, and Emma’s Running Competition,” “Godric’s Hollow and the Harry and Nagini Battle,” and “The Frozen Lake.”
- Additional Scenes – Eight deleted scenes, making up a little more than ten minutes of additional footage that was cut from the movie.
- Behind the Soundtrack – A short featurette highlighting the score from the film.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Grand Opening – A video from the cast’s visit to the opening of the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando.
Harry Potter fans will be grabbing this release as soon as it shows up in stores, but it’s also worth checking out for folks who didn’t necessarily enjoy the later books in the series (that would be me) or fantasy fans in general. The movie itself is a well made production that exceeds the original novel in many ways, and the big assortment of bonus features makes this a Blu-ray worth owning.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 releases on Blu-ray and DVD on April 15, 2011.