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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Literature > Teens > Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix (2007; HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)

Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix (2007; HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Long after the Rings films ended and Fantasy genre has played itself out, the Harry Potter franchise marches on and though the book series has wrapped up, the film series offers its fifth entry with Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix (2007) with as much money and tricks as any of the films.  Unfortunately for Warner at the time of the theatrical release, the final book’s sales were so strong that it cut into the box office of this film.  Now, the studio is expecting this will do better on disc (it comes out in all three formats) than usual.


Well, it is a Harry Potter film, which can be as safe and simple as say, an Elvis Musical with much more money into it.  I have never been impressed with any of these films, but for fans, the makers have known how to deliver the goods to keep fans happy and this is no exception.


The arc of the series started as very restricted, but as Rowling and company have let go of control, the films have become both darker and more flowing in their narrative, which has been to the advantage and survival of the series.  Most series do not get to a fifth film and when they do, it is either a hit (You Only Live Twice,) an oddball event (Star Trek V) or time to hang it up.  This is somewhere between the first two, as Harry is back in the normal world, but not for long as demons from the netherworld invade and try to destroy him.


Just when he though he was out, they pull him back in, but if not, there would be no story.  What follows is trite as worse and amusing at best if you like this kind of fiction.  The money and action is on the screen, which is good, because the script is only going to go so far, especially after so many of these films, but it is better at being such a production on an A-Hollywood level than most of its competitors.  However, if you do not read the books or have not seen the previous four films, this is not the place to start.  See it only if you start at the beginning.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the HD side and lesser anamorphically enhanced low def version on the standard DVD side both come from a master that has haziness issues form the digital internegative that make no sense.  The film was shot in Super 35mm like the previous four and none of the footage I have seen in all the franchise has the problems here.  It is like watching the film through a slight version of what you get when looking through a screen door panel.  The result is a disappointing visual presentation either side, though the HD side is better, with a more solid appearance overall.


This is the first of the five films that gets the Sonics-DDP sound treatment for IMAX presentation, which naturally in Warner’s case means the HD side offers Dolby TrueHD.  No doubt this can be a state of the art presentation, which is even apparent at times with the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix on the HD side and lesser standard Dolby 5.1 on the DVD side, but this is not the best such mix in either Sonics or TrueHD, reminding one more of Superman Returns than Batman Begins or V For Vendetta in performance.  However, it should make fans happy.


Extras include ten minutes of never before shown additional scenes, Trailing Tonks, Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing, The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter and Focus Points featurettes, plus HD exclusive In-Movie Experience feature and web-enabled features offering downloads, community screenings watching the film with others on-line (not unlike playing a game on the web) and a pick your favorite scenes feature that makes this as involving as any HD-DVD on the market.  That is, if you like the film.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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