Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 UltraHD Blu-ray Review

Summary: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction—the Horcruxes.

On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart.

Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort’s Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter.

The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort… alive. Harry’s only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him, but as he searches for clues, he uncovers an old and almost forgotten tale—the legend of the Deathly Hallows.

UltraHD Specs
Studio: Warner Brothers
Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
Audio: DTS:X
Negative Formats: Super 35
Digital Intermediate: 2K
Peak Brightness: 4000 nits
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 146 Minutes
Director: David Yates
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Review Date: March 30, 2017
Price: $26.99

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Movie Review: With the final Harry Potter book, they made the decision to split it up into two films. The novel is large, nearly 200,000 words, but two of the other books were the same or larger and managed to be just a single film. As a result, this film spends a lot more time on building things up for the second film and doesn’t resolve as much.

I think of the Harry Potter movies as falling into two specific groups: The first two when Christopher Columbus was directing them in a very matter-of-fact, family oriented style, and the following ones where better directors with more vision and freedom took over. This is certainly the weakest of those films because of the decision to split it into half. The film is fine but doesn’t do much aside from setting the table for the final film in the series.

Technical Review: What becomes clear from watching the Harry Potter UHD discs is that the quality of the release really depends on the quality of the original transfer. All the films were shot on film and finished with 2K digital intermediates, and it does not appear that any of them have been rescanned compared to the prior Blu-ray versions. If you watch the included Blu-ray, you’ll find it is the same disc that was released years ago, including previews for special editions of the films that are no longer in print.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 does benefit on UHD more than some of the others. There is an improvement in detail, but also in color and some good use of high dynamic range. Switching back and forth from the Blu-ray to the UHD version, the UHD one is superior but it isn’t night-and-day differences. If you don’t have the film on disc then this is the version you should get, but the image itself isn’t worth paying the upgrade price for.

The soundtrack is redone with DTS:X and it benefits much more. The film is primed to take advantage of it with numerous environments, like the Ministry of Magic, as well as chase sequences and teleportation to show off the height channels. The soundtrack to the film offers far more reason to upgrade than the image, and those with a DTS:X setup will enjoy what the movie has to offer.

Special Features: Some featurettes and a digital copy.

Review System: Vizio P65-C1 display, Oppo UDP-203 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver.

Review Summary
Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 UltraHD Blu-ray
Reviewer:
Pros: Improvement in fine detail compared to the Blu-ray version, much-improved soundtrack with DTS:X, some good use of HDR.
Cons: Only gets a small uptick in image quality due to older 2K master, very few bonus features.
Summary: While the weakest of the later Harry Potter films, but UltraHD Blu-ray release of Deathly Hallows Part 1 does include an improved soundtrack and a small uptick in image quality. If you don't have the Blu-ray it is a better version, but if you do then the upgrade isn't as essential currently.
Video: 4/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Movie: 3.5/5

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