Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Ultimate Edition) - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Dec 8, 2009, 13:47 GMT
Welcome to the First Harry Potter Ultimate Edition in Hi-Def!Spellbinding 3-Disc Set Includes New Feature-Length Documentary: Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 1: The Magic Begins For the First Time Ever ... Uncover the intimate details of the search to cast Harry Potter and his friends • See Daniel, Rupert and Emma’s never-before-seen audition tapes • Be there with stars and filmmakers walking onto the set of the exciting ...more
Philosopher’s stone or Sorcerer’s stone? I guess it doesn’t matter to J.K. Rowling who was made a millionaire by her tale of the boy wizard who lived. The boy wizard is paid tribute in a hefty new box set release that will even have “he who must not be named” running down to Diagon Alley to try and get a copy.
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is an ordinary eleven year old who lives with his nasty Uncle Vernon Dursley (Richard Griffiths), Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw), and their equally nasty, spoiled son Dudley (Harry Melling).
His legal guardians treat Harry poorly and only love Dudley. However, there is that lightening bolt shaped scar on Harry’s forehead. Soon odd letters keep arriving that are addressed to Harry, but Uncle Vernon keeps them all from him. The Dursley’s go on the run when the letters start magically piling up at their house and end up at an isolated location. Their door is knocked down though by the gargantuan Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) who personally delivers the letter to Harry.
He discovers that he’s a famous wizard, as his murdered parents were, and has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Much to Harry’s surprise he learns that he’s a well known, maybe even legendary, name in the wizard world. He defies his guardians and goes to Hogwarts, meeting new friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), as well as new enemy Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), on the train ride over.
The school’s staff includes headmaster Albus Dumbledore (the late, great Richard Harris), deputy headmistress Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), meek Professor Quirrell (Ian Hart), and surly potions master Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) who has an immediate dislike of Harry. Hagrid also serves as the school’s groundskeeper.
Harry soon learns that “he who must not be named” (Lord Voldemort! There I said it!) was responsible for the death of his parents and the mysterious phantom may be looking to get his hands on a artifact called the Sorcerer’s Stone, hidden somewhere in Hogwarts, that will facilitate his return to power, but Harry and his pals stand in the way of his wicked plans.
The film that started the Harry Potter film franchise might not be the best one in the series, but it does a good job of establishing the world that Harry and the characters inhabit. It was interesting to revisit this film and see how young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint are and how they’ve grown up during the franchise. Their acting has also greatly improved as the franchise has gone on.
On a sad note, it’s nice to see the late, great Richard Harris as Dumbledore. I’m not knocking Michael Gambon, but Dumbledore will always look like Richard Harris to me. I don’t know if this was on purpose, but I found it interesting that the hefty packaging of the Ultimate Edition felt like a hardback book reminding me that Harry began his life on the printed page and not the movie screen.
The main draw to these Ultimate editions is that each one will feature a part of the long form documentary “Creating the world of Harry Potter.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (2.40:1). Disc one features two cuts of the film, the theatrical cut (152 minutes) and the extended cut (159 minutes). The theatrical cut features the “in-movie experience” that features director Chris Columbus guiding you through the film. The disc is also BD-Live enhanced, but at press time I couldn’t get connected to see what extra goodies might be available online.
Disc two starts off with a 2 minute (high definition) introduction by Daniel Radcliffe. The main draw on this disc is the 63 minute (high definition) “Creating the world of Harry Potter, Part 1: The Magic Begins” that starts the long look at making the franchise. Other parts will follow on the upcoming Ultimate editions and there’s a preview of titles on the inside of the case. The 9 minute (standard definition) “A Glimpse into the world of Harry Potter” is a 2001 television special. Next there are 9 minutes of deleted scenes in high definition.
Finally you get 3 trailers (6 minutes total, the first two in standard definition and the final one in high definition) and 7 minutes of TV spots (standard definition). The third disc is a DVD that features 16 minutes of interviews with the filmmakers called “Capturing the Stone” and other special features hidden in games (which I didn’t bother to play, but I think this disc is the second disc from the original DVD set) and tours of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and other portion’s of the magical world.
A fourth disc is digital copy of the film. The hefty box contains two character cards (Harry and McGonagall) and a 48 page hardback booklet.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone offers a good beginning to the world of the boy wizard. The inclusion of two cuts of the film is a nice addition as well as the “in-movie experience” and the new documentary also is intriguing. The set is hefty and makes you feel that your gold coins have been well spent.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CDaniel Radcliffe Biography -
Daniel Radcliffe Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesEmma Watson Biography -
Emma Watson Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJK Rowling Biography - Rupert Grint Biography -
Rupert Grint Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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