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Warner Home Video presents
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Blu-ray DVD (2007)

"Haven't you always wondered what was the reason for the connection between you and the Dark Lord? Why he was unable to kill you when you were just an infant? Don't you want to know the secret of your scar? All of the answers are there, Potter, in your hand. All you have to do is give it to me--I can show you everything."
- Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs)

Review By: Jeff Wilson  
Published: January 14, 2008

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Other Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters
Director: David Yates

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for fantasy violence, frightening images
Run Time: 02h:18m:14s
Release Date: December 11, 2007
UPC: 085391156949
Genre: family


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A+A- B

DVD Review

I put off reading any of the Harry Potter books until they were all released, and then tore through them in a couple weeks. This activity dovetailed nicely with the release of the film version of book five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's always fun to get all nerdy and debate what got left out and retained from the book version, especially as the books become much more dense as they go along. Even clocking in at 138 minutes, this adaptation leaves a good deal out, as have and will every other film in the series. That said, Order of the Phoenix remains a compelling adventure with characters and actors we've watched grow up.

Harry Potter's ongoing adventures begin getting nasty indeed with the fifth installment. With the enormous threat of the returned Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) now a reality, Hogwarts finds itself at the heart of the struggle with the Ministry of Magic, led by Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), who steadfastly denies the truth of the matter. Fearful of what Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) might be planning at the school, he sends Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to serve as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. As Fudge's representative, she quickly works to make sure that the school will adhere to the Ministry's line, rather than Dumbledore's, and anyone who speaks out will get hammered down. Harry and friends won't give up, and begin training secretly for the fight they know is coming, and sooner than they might think.

As the shortest Potter film, made from the longest book, the work of condensing the tale to fit onscreen is generally done well, though one can find any number of things to quibble over, some more important than others. The basic tale of Umbridge's takeover of Hogwarts is carried off well, with Staunton a deliciously nasty villain, clothed in a cloud of pink at all times. Luna Lovegood and Tonks make their debut with this book, both portrayed well by Evanna Lynch and Natalia Tena, respectively. I have to say, if there's one avenue in which these movies excel, it's in the casting. I've rarely seen a character miscast in this series; they all just are the characters. The regulars all acquit themselves well as usual, though many of them sadly have too little to do, given the dense plot.

With the darkening of tone in this volume, things are often fairly intense, with only Harry's budding romance with Cho (Katie Leung) to brighten things up. Otherwise, there's self-doubt, nightmares, state-sponsored repression and torture, and death to keep you occupied. What fun! Joking aside, the movie is fun, though maybe a little too scary for younger kids. It leaves you wanting more, and with Half-Blood Prince slated for the fall of this year, we'll have it soon enough. This Blu-Ray disc does make revisiting the film an exceptionally pleasurable experience, and one that should be quickly embraced by fans with the equipment to do so.



Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.4:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This is simply a great looking transfer (1080p, with the original 2.40:1 aspect ratio), full of sharp detail and rich color, the way we dream every high-def disc should look. This is a rather dark film at times, and the transfer excels at bringing that look to the screen very well. There are a host of subtitles available should you need them.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, French (Parisian), French (Quebecois), Spanish, Japanese, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Swedish, Flemish, Catalanyes
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: In terms of the original English, you have the option of a PCM 5.1 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Both do the job quite well, but I can't say I'm blown away by either. By the same token, that isn't to say there's anything wrong with them either, if that makes sense. Also included are 5.1 tracks in a plethora of other languages which you can peruse above. Have you wanted to watch Harry Potter dubbed into Flemish or Catalan? You can now!

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Catalan with remote access
0 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
29 Featurette(s)
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: A decent array of materials are included here. First and most interesting are the "Focus Points," which are comprised of 28 short featurettes (total runtime of 01h:03m:10s), all lasting under five minutes. These are viewable either within the context of the film as selectable content, or in the traditional fashion outside the film. They can be selected as a group or individually. Each one looks at some narrow topic on the making of the film, featuring interviews with cast and crew. They don't wear out their welcome and are interesting enough for fans of the film. They are presented in HD. Next up is the SD presentation Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter (43m:54s), which serves as a recap of the series, with the intent of seeing how events were foreshadowed through prior films. With narration by Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in the films) and interviews with Potter-nerds who've written books on the series, it has the air of a cable TV special hyping the new film. Not essential. We move on to Trailing Tonks (HD, 19m:25s), wherein Natalia Tena, the actress portraying the eccentric Nymphadora Tonks, takes us on a "wacky" tour of the studio grounds chats with various cast and crew. The forcibly wacky tone gets grating after a little while, but it's entertaining enough. A complete waste of time is the additional scenes section (HD, 10m:55s), which includes such thrilling cut footage as Emma Thompson's Sybil Trelawney making a mess of her dinner during Umbridge's initial speech at Hogwarts, and still more I've already forgotten, because it was so unmemorable. You would think that there was plenty of cut footage of value, given how much gets cut from the books, but maybe the good stuff is being saved for ultimate editions down the line. Finally, there is the brief Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing (SD, 05m:21s), which is a short chat with director David Yates and editor Mark Day about the importance of editing, which will be of interest only if you are largely unaquainted with filmmaking.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Another entertaining film in the Harry Potter series, Order of the Phoenix gets a superb quality Blu-ray release from Warner, albeit with a mixed bag of extras. As most people don't buy for the extras, the quality of the film itself must be the most important factor, and this one succeeds in every way. Highly recommended.

 


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