J.K. Rowling's wizarding world continues with year four of the phenomenal Harry Potter series. Harry must overcome a deadly dragon, fierce water demons, and an enchanted maze, only to find himself in the cruel grasp of He Who Must Not Be Named. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the following featurettes: Creating The World Of Harry Potter Part 4: Sound And Music (HD 54:12), Conversations With The Cast (HD 30:36), Behind The Magic (HD 48:51), Inside Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (HD 43:48), The Adventure Continues (HD 24:12), Some Animal Magic (HD 23:25), and Dark Matters, New Masters (HD 13:02); eight deleted scenes (HD 09:58); theatrical trailers; a teaser trailer; Harry Potter: Spells; Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book; and Harry Potter: Film Wizardry.
The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on 35mm Kodak Vision2 film stock using Arricam LT and ST and Arriflex 435 cameras in Super 35 and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been unconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. As with the previous releases in this series, the picture is quite a magical visual experience. Images are sharp and well defined. with nicely balanced contrast and shadow delineation. Imagery and textures inside Hogwarts are well discerned both those darker in tone and those brighter in tone. Still, other scenes can have a slightly soft focus. Highlights in some scenes are brighter and blacks deeper, no doubt due to the HDR contrast enhancement, such as the fireworks display. Bright highlights and flashes are really bright with whites that appear realistic. The imagery is nicely dimensional. The color scheme renders accurate fleshtones as well as natural hues, deep blacks, and revealing shadows in darkened interiors and exteriors. A wider color gamut is also exhibited with richer, warmer and brighter hues, such as during the fireworks display, the scene with the newspaper woman, and a scene in the woods. The colors are perfectly saturated but darker in hue in many scenes, but still with pleasing balance. The imagery exhibits excellent detail and clarity in the environs in and around Hogwarts. Nuanced details in Hogwarts' often dim halls are also more clearly revealed, and brighter segments are impressively detailed. As previously, closeups pick up tiny variations in skin texture, fabric details, and individual strands of hair and beards such as Hagrid's unkempt mane. Production design and lighting is also very impressive. A WOW! segment begins at 36:40 and ends at 37:51. Another is from 42:27 to 44:50. The picture is pristine throughout with no objectonable film grain. This is the best that the film has ever looked, a wonderfully pleasing picture, and fans are sure to be enthralled. (Gary Reber)
The treatment for this DTS:X/DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is excellent. The use of dimension includes many selective instances in which there is acute directionality, as well as substantial directionalized and aggressive surround activity, laterally and back to front. Dynamic range for this soundtrack can also be considerable. The phantom back surround channel provides enhancement of the immersive listening space as do the side channels. Directional pans laterally are effective and often powerful, such as the movement of a train or a flying dragon. Of course, to appreciate this fine dimensionality, one has to be seated in the “sweet spot” to realize the effective phantom imaging effect and holosonic® impressions. During the stadium scenes, men on stylized brooms whizz throughout the soundfield, accompanied with strong bass support. Other deep bass content for this soundtrack is formidable, with some instances even having the potential to threaten your subwoofer. The .1 LFE channel often delivers intense deep bass such as the heavily dense castle door closing. There are also generous doses of very deep bass for the surround channels. Rain and thunder are powerful sounding. Nuanced atmospherics and sound effects are wonderful. The music, as in the other movies, is another of the standouts for this soundtrack and is an excellent recording, imparting a palpable perception of holosonic envelopment and a deep bass foundation. Even the presentation of the dialogue, which sounds very natural, delivers excellent spatial integration. The Immersive Sound elements consist of a screaming voice fading away, birds chirping in a forest, wind, unintelligible voices and sounds spinning around, firecracker sounds, whizzing sounds of flying brooms, stadium announcer, fire bomb whizz sounds, wings of owl flapping, subtle train-on-tracks movement, flying horses, ship crashing water, rain and thunder, blue fire sound, clapping, large clock bell, pouring water from a gargoyle, arena announcer and spectator sounds, flying fire-spewing dragon sounds, debris from the dragon, a rock-n'-roller singing, raven sounds, a diving platform announcer, underwater bubbling sounds, voices in a courtroom, canon fire, blast in air effect, bone splashing in kettle, battle of the wands sounds, other sound effects and atmospherics and an extended, though, very subdued orchestral score. Except for the music, Immersive Sound elements are object-based and quiet brief. And while some carry some SPL weight and are effective with exceptional power and precision, such as the flying fire-spewing dragon scene, for the most part the perception is subliminal. As with before in this Immersive Sound series, much in the way of soundscape dimension has been ignored by the sound designers. As with the other movies, this is a great upgraded soundtrack and one that adds immeasurably to the experience of this entertaining movie. (Gary Reber)