(aka "Harry Potter 5" )

 

directed by David Yates
USA 2007

 

The Harry Potter movies are adaptations of dense books filled with innumerable details. There are always concerns that the movies might be too long for children to tolerate in one viewing or too long for more than three showings per screen at night--both reasons that can kill the bottom line for Warner Bros. Yet, despite all the worries, I’ve enjoyed the ones that clocked higher than 150 minutes (movies 1, 2, and 4) far more than the shorter ones (movies 3 and 5). The shorter ones rush through plot points, so even though I’ve read all the books, I don’t feel like I have a chance to connect with any of the characters or their journeys. On the other hand, the longer ones give the actors room to breath, so their performances in 1, 2, and 4 are richer and more memorable than what they do in 3 and 5.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Number 5) does have some nice character moments because the characters are in late adolescence now, going through teenage dramas that are complex and involved. My favorite scene is almost a throwaway. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sit in front of a fireplace talking about Harry’s relationship with Cho. As Hermione explains the emotional turmoil experienced by women, she nags Ron as usual. Suddenly, all three start to laugh. This is the moment in the movie series when Ron realizes that he doesn’t mind Hermione’s nagging, when Hermione realizes that she doesn’t mind Ron’s “faults”, and when Harry can share in his two best friends’ joy.

Evanna Lynch is a wonderful addition to the cast as Luna Lovegood, a spacey but wise, gentle soul with great inner strength. Lynch has such great chemistry with Daniel Radcliffe that she manages to upstage the two actresses playing Harry’s love interests (Ginny and Cho). However, with the script busy playing connect-the-dots, the other peripheral characters get little airtime.

As much as I prefer character moments to spectacle, I have to admit that the final third of this movie is a stunning tour de force of special effects, even when compared to the previous entries and the Matrix or LOTR trilogies. The aggression and violence is palpable and powerful. The forging of children into adult warriors is stirring. The loss is real.

Yunda Eddie Feng

Posters

Theatrical Release: 28 June 2007, Tokyo

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 139 min
Video

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.77 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio DD 5.1 English, DD 5.1 French, DD 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles Optional English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
• additional scenes
• Trailing Tonks
• The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter
• The Magic of Editing

DVD Release Date: December 11th, 2007
slim double keepcase with cardboard slipcover

Chapters 32

 

Comments:

Video:
Harry Potter 5 is more or less about as frequently set in the dark as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, but this 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is leagues above the one for POTC 3. This is a clean, smooth, sharp transfer without any of the nasty noise or muddiness that plagued Disney’s sub-par effort. Detail is excellent for standard definition.

Audio:
As financially successful as many trilogies have been for various studios during the past ten years, Warner won the lottery when it landed the Harry Potter series. After all, this is a seven-movie franchise. As Warner’s cash cow, Harry Potter benefits from top-of-the-line sound mixing--powerful bass, wide separation and spread for music cues, fanciful effects that swirl all around the viewer, etc. Despite the busy nature of the sound design, dialogue is always intelligible when appropriate. The DD 5.1 English track is probably about as good as SD DVD audio gets.

You can also watch the movie with a DD 5.1 French or a DD 5.1 Spanish dub. Optional English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Disc 1 only has a bunch of previews for other Warner movies and videogames.

The real extras are all on Disc 2. First up are ten minutes of deleted scenes. Next, “Trailing Tonks” follows actress Natalia Tena around the production offices and sets. “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter” is a 45-minute documentary that tediously recounts the events in the previous four movies before breathlessly trying to get you excited about the fifth one. Finally, in “The Magic of Editing”, you can fiddle with a couple of clips and sound cues from one brief sequence.

--Miscellaneous--
Disc 2 also has a digital copy that can be downloaded to a computer or a portable digital viewer. This has been seen with other two-disc sets such as Live Free or Die Hard.

There are some booklets advertising other Harry Potter merchandise. You also get a cardboard slipcover but no insert for chapter listings.

--------------------

The quality of the extras on Disc 2 leads me to make the following recommendations. If you don’t watch extras more than two or three times, then purchase the single-disc version. If you are getting an HD-DVD player or a Blu-ray player this holiday season, then get one of the high-def versions as the MSRP is only $1 more than the MSRP for this two-disc SD DVD set.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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