Blu-Ray Review: Ultimate Editions of Third, Fourth ‘Harry Potter’ Films

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CHICAGO – Hardcore “Harry Potter” fans will have to clear some shelf space this holiday season for the gigantic “Ultimate Edition” releases of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Timed to coincide with the upcoming release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in November, Warner Bros. has released the third and fourth film in their money-machine, complete with collectibles and new special features that could feel like overkill for most but will make for a happy holiday season for the Potter nut in your clan of Muggles.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

The first thing you’ll notice about “Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Goblet of Fire” is that they’re HUGE. And heavy. You could use these as weapons if someone breaks into your apartment. One film takes up roughly the space of 4.5 others on your Blu-ray shelf. You have to really love both movies or have a lot of free space to commit that much to two movies.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray on October 19th, 2010
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray on October 19th, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

Having said that, these are the two movies to commit to if you’re going to pick from the “Harry Potter” franchise. They’re easily my two favorites of the six that have been released to date. With “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Alfonso Cuaron completely visualized the world that Chris Columbus failed to do with the first two films. If I could only buy one Ultimate Edition it would be “Azkaban.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray on October 19th, 2010
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Ultimate Edition was released on Blu-Ray on October 19th, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

The Ultimate Editions of “Year 3” and “Year 4” of the “Harry Potter” saga include the theatrical versions of the films in beautiful WB High-Def. Warner Brothers still leads the way when it comes to 1080p transfers. The films look and sound stunning. These are amazing HD releases, although if you already own the standalone versions of the films then you know that.

Disc three of the three-disc sets feature the new special features to this series, an on-going documentary called “Creating the World of Harry Potter.” “Azkaban” includes “Part 3: Creatures” and “Goblet” includes “Part 4: Sound & Music.” These are not mere filler to get fans to buy the films again. They’re both detailed documentaries about the production of the series that offer previously-unseen insight and behind-the-scenes details for fans of the films.

The middle disc of both sets include the previously-available special features, which are copious and lengthy — too much so to list. If you sat through the nearly ten hours of special features on both sets, you couldn’t possibly have any remaining questions about their production.

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 (the one with “Azkaban” focus on creatures and “Goblet” on sound & music) and two in a series of character cards. “Prisoner of Azkaban” includes Hermione Granger and Sirius Black while “Goblet of Fire” includes Ronald Weasley and Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody. Those of you with an amazing amount of Blu-ray shelf space can collect them all.

Finally, buyers get digital copies of each film. You can never have enough Harry Potter.

‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Ultimate Edition’ is released by Warner Brother Home Video and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, and Alan Rickman. It was written by Steve Kloves and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It was released on Blu-Ray on October 19th, 2010.

‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Ultimate Edition’ is released by Warner Brother Home Video and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Isaacs, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Brendan Gleeson, Robert Pattinson, and Alan Rickman. It was written by Steve Kloves and directed by Mike Newell. It was released on Blu-Ray on October 19th, 2010.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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

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