Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Featured In Issue 128, February 2008

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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David Yates
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PCM 24/48 5.1
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"Harry Potter And The Order of The Phoenix" finds the young wizard, Harry (Radciliffe), begining his fifth year of study at Hogwarts, only to discover that much of the wizarding community has been led to believe that his recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort is a lie. To make matters worse, there is a new Defense Against The Dark Arts instructor, who teaches the inferior "Ministry-approved" curriculum, which leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces that threaten them. Will Harry be able to prepare his young wizard friends well enough to weather the extradaordinary battle that lies ahead? Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. (Stacey Pendry)

The additional supplements to those found on the DVD are 28 Focus Points, which are making-of featurettes available to experience while watching the film. The remaining supplements can be found on the DVD: ten minutes of deleted scenes and the following three featurettes: "The Hidden Secrets Of Harry Potter (45 minutes); "Harry Potter: The Magic Of Editing" (six minutes), which also contains an Easter Egg at the conclusion; and "Trailing Tonks" tour of the movie set (20 minutes).

The anamorphically enhanced 2.37:1 DVD exhibits a bold color scheme with nicely saturated hues and natural-looking fleshtones. Black levels are adequately deep and shadow delineation is nicely rendered. The picture can have a convincingly dimensional appearance, but there are times when it looks overly flat. The image is often hampered by excessive noise, and the imagery generally has an artificially digitized look, with shimmering and pixel breakup noticeable throughout the presentation. Fine details can also look somewhat soft. Edge enhancement is also recognizable, which can be a distraction. The HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc both employ the same VC-1 encoding, which looks superb, with very good detail, deep blacks, good shadow delineation, and eye-popping colors. There are times when the images can look somewhat soft, but generally both releases look superb. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is superb, with an incredibly involving mix that keeps the listening space engaged from start to finish. Still, there are times when the surround channels are used at levels much lower than their front counterparts, limiting their effectiveness. Fidelity is decent, but the dialogue can sound somewhat bright and sibilant, and the soundtrack can sound harsh and edgy. The soundtrack is clear and articulate, with very good dynamic range, bringing even the most subtle sound effects discernable in the soundstage. Phantom imaging is incorporated well, helping create a sense of realism. Deep bass is delivered through each of the channels when needed, dropping down below 30 Hz, even in the full-range channels. This is an exciting soundtrack that has little to be disappointed with, but it isn't perfect. The HD DVD's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding delivers a noticeable improvement in fidelity over the DVD's encoding, with smoother, more natural sonics, especially noticeable in the dialogue and bass. The Blu-ray Disc's uncompressed linear PCM encoding sounds just as superb as the HD DVD's lossless encoding, and determining differences between the two is a difficult proposition. The limitations in the mix are still audible, but the soundtrack is very enjoyable. (Danny Richelieu)