|Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map|
|Home Theater & Entertainment||
|Kevin Krock, editor|
My first introduction to the world of Harry Potter came from my parents, who were living in Europe at the time. My mother told me about these wonderful children’s books that were oh-so-much more. I passed on them at the time, but decided, soon after the fourth book was released, that I had to know what all the fuss was about. I obtained a set of the books, and was immediately hooked. The storytelling is the best since Madeline L‘Engel’s Wrinkle in Time or the Narnia series from C. S. Lewis.
When the announcement of the movies came out, I was truly torn. So many movie adaptations of movies have been awful. The migration from novel to screen is rarely easy or faithful to the original print. However, the opportunity to see the world of Hagrid, Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley come to life on the screen had cast a strong pull on me. Thus opening night of the movie found me in line to experience the story of young Harry Potter again.
Rumor has it that the original rough cut of the film clocked in at over four hours. The final release of the film was trimmed to a not-so-slight two-and-a-half hours. While so many elements I had hoped to see in the movie were missing (“Where was the Sorting Hat song?” I grumbled), the adaptation stayed true to the core story of a young boy who meets his destiny.
While the movie and story are wonderful, the goodies on this DVD leave a lot to be desired. It seems the directors wanted to allow you to explore Harry’s world without allowing you to see “the man behind the curtain.” While this is understandable for the children’s market, adults who want to see more will come away disappointed.
The best goodies are seven deleted scenes available on the second disc that are rewarded to you after navigating several puzzles. My biggest frustration was having to dig out my copy of the book in order to solve one puzzle (as the answers to the questions are in the deleted scenes). It was a bit disappointing that only seven scenes are available, especially given the amount of material that was cut.
Probably the biggest hyped goodie is the interactive tour of Hogwarts. While it is interesting from a technical standpoint, it will only ever interest those over the age of 12 after the first time. It quickly loses its appeal after the first viewing.
The Video, Audio and Interface
The transfer for the movie is first-rate. The movie can be very dark at times, and the blacks come out truly black. There is also a noticeable lack of artifacts frequently seen in darker movies. The quality can probably be attributed to the fact that so much space was saved by putting the goodies on a second disk, that the movie was not compressed as much as normal. Be sure to go with the widescreen edition of this movie, because to a significantly greater extent than most movies, a pan-and-scan edition cuts out too much of the action.
I truly believe that John Williams writes movie soundtracks with the goal of using a maximum of bass and trumpets. While the movie sounded good on a simple surround system, moving to a 5.1 digital system comes close to duplicating the theater experience. The music and effects are crisp and clear, with lots of rumbling bass. My only complaint is that the differences between speech and music are often so great that the characters become drowned out. This is a problem with the film, rather than the DVD, which I had noticed it in the theater as well.
The interface is pretty standard, but nothing special.
The Final Evaluation
Some of the best new fantasy in years, this movie is worth adding to your collection. I do not recommend this for little ones under 8 or 9 years of age, given its dark theme at times. Ultimately, anything that encourages children to read (especially a book 700 pages long) is worth the price.
is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its
subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available
This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary,
editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts
of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change.
Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.