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Blu-Ray Review: Ultimate Edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’

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CHICAGO – Clear some shelf space for the gigantic Blu-Ray releases of the first two “Harry Potter” films, timed with the not-as-enormous edition release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” the same week. These ultimate editions, complete with collectibles and new special features, are great collector’s set gifts for the holidays for the Potter nut in your family but feel a bit like overkill for everyone else.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

One has to truly love a film to allow it to take up the space of 4-5 others on their Blu-Ray shelf. While I recognized that there are many, many people who do love “Sorcerer’s Stone,” I’m not one of them. For me, the series doesn’t really click until the third film, “The Prisoner of Azkaban”. Three and four are great, five and six are good, but one are two are hampered by director Chris Columbus’ complete lack of creative vision.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 8th, 2009.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 8th, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

Having said that, I do appreciate that the cult of Harry Potter is a strong one and I have to respect the product being given them by Warner Brothers. I may be more looking forward to the Ultimate Edition of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” but I can still recognize that this edition is a beauty for fans of the first film.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 8th, 2009.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 8th, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

The Ultimate Edition of “Year 1” of the “Harry Potter” saga includes both the theatrical version of the film and an extended version with seven extra minutes, both in beautiful WB High-Def. Warner Brothers still leads the way when it comes to 1080p transfers. The film looks and sounds beautiful. And the theatrical edition includes a complete “In-Movie Experience” with picture-in-picture bonus material, storyboard comparisons, still galleries, etc.

Disc two of the three-disc set features “Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 1: The Magic Begins,” a detailed documentary about the production of the first film, including an exclusive introduction by Daniel Radcliffe, look back at the search to cast the film, footage of the first day of shooting, and the crucial decisions made on the first film that have impacted the entire series. It’s a fascinating historical document when you consider how far the series has come since day one and the work involved. This disc also includes an international TV special called “A Glimpse into the World of Harry Potter,” additional scenes, and a comprehensive gallery of trailers and TV spots.

Disc three of the Ultimate Edition includes more additional scenes, featurettes, and the previously available special features about the making of the film. As far as behind-the-scenes material is concerned, no one could possibly have any questions about the making of the film after sitting through all the special features on the Ultimate Edition of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.

Three discs aren’t enough for an Ultimate Edition and Warner Brothers continues their trend of offering collectibles with their holiday season releases. This time, fans will find a hardcover 48-page photo book with rare images from years 1-7 and two in a series of character cards. This set includes Harry and Minerva McGonagall. Collect them all. But clear some space first.

‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ultimate Edition’ is released by Warner Brother Home Video and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, and Fiona Shaw. It was written by Steve Kloves and directed by Chris Columbus. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 8th, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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