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Harry Potter Films on DVD

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Harry Potter Film Reviews and DVD's to buy
 
Harry Potter & the Philosophers Stone DVD - 2 Disc W/S - Buy it here for £9.97

Harry Potter DVDTo try and please all the fans of JK Rowling's novel was a challenge that the makers of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone met head on. The result of their efforts is one of the most lavish, beautiful and magical cinematic treats to hit our screens in years. Director Chris Columbus and screenwriter Steven Kloves (thankfully with the help of Rowling herself) prove that although you can't translate everybody's reading of this much-loved book onto the cinema screen--maybe Fluffy was a bit more Fluffy in your imagination or Hagrid (superbly played by Robbie Coltrane) a little more giant-like--it is nevertheless possible to transfer Harry's adventures with fidelity as well as superb energy and excitement.
If there is a downside it's that the performances of the child leads tends to verge on the Sylvia Young-tastic in places. Nonetheless, the three young stars are both likable and watchable, showing great potential to grow into the parts as the adventures continue. The main disappointment is the substantial cutting of the ghost scenes and what promised to be a fine comic turn by John Cleese as Headless Nick, though with more Potter films on the way the ghosts will surely assume their rightful prominence later. There are, of course, some areas of the story that may frighten smaller children--such as the entrance of the evil Voldemort--and undoubtedly for any true Potter fan that cinematic entrance cannot live up to the images created in their imagination. All in all, though, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is what it should be: an unmissable treat for the whole family.

On the DVD: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone really is a magical experience in this lavish two-disc set. Disc one offers the film in all its surround-sound glory along with trailers and links to the Harry Potter Web site, but, disappointingly, there's no commentary.

Disc two is where the real wizardry can be found, with a vast and beautifully designed selection of special features. Entering the Great Hall a mysterious voice invites you to explore and find the secret hidden within (though it's frustrating that in some cases you have to re-enter the Hall after viewing a feature). Various options let you tour around Harry's world: from Diagon Alley to a virtual 360-degree tour of Hogwarts. The interactive component is excellent, with real thought having been put into ensuring that, instead of just the standard behind-the-scenes stuff, there is material aplenty to keep children and adults alike entertained for hours. Throughout the emphasis is on the disc's educational value: yes there are insights to be had from the film crew, but it's in the Classroom where you will find the real precious stones!
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Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets DVD - 2 Disc W/S - Buy it here for £10.97

Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets DVDThe world's most famous boy wizard dives straight into a darker and more thrilling magical adventure in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It's practically the same set-up--something evil's afoot at Hogwarts; Harry and his pals must put it right--but fans of the books won't be disappointed. Director Chris Columbus, whose artistic licence is necessarily limited by the demands of adapting JK Rowling's phenomenally popular novel, does a spectacular job rendering Rowling's imaginary world: the production design and costumes are fascinating in their own right; such is the impressive attention to detail.
Daniel Radcliffe gives a more assured performance here as Harry, though he's not quite strong enough to carry the film without the aid of an excellent ensemble cast of experienced adults, notably a twinkly-eyed Kenneth Branagh. Of course, most viewers will already know what's going to happen as far as the story is concerned, so for them the pleasure in watching The Chamber of Secrets lies in the visualisation of Rowling's magical creations and the verve brought to the action sequences. It's fantastic fun for kids and a good excuse to regress back to childhood for the rest of us.

On the DVD: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets's first disc offers the film in all its fine widescreen (2.35:1) and surround-sound glory--it's a shame they didn't think of adding a commentary.

The second disc's special features are sparse compared to last year's release, most notably the games, which are simpler and dull in comparison to The Philosopher's Stone. Gilderoy Lockhart's classroom offers nothing magical, and the interviews with teachers and students offer only snippets of the actors' thoughts on their characters. Don't get over excited about the "Build a Scene" feature as, unfortunately, this is not a miracle of modern DVD technology, but a simple featurette. The real gem on the disc is a 16-minute interview with JK Rowling and Steve Kloves about the transfer from book to screen.

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Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD 2 Disc W/S - Buy it here for £14.99

Prisoner of AzkabanSome movie-loving wizards must have cast a magic spell on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because it's another grand slam for the Harry Potter franchise. Demonstrating remarkable versatility after the arthouse success of Y Tu Mamá También, director Alfonso Cuarón proves a perfect choice to guide Harry, Hermione, and Ron into treacherous puberty as the now 13-year-old students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry face a new and daunting challenge: Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison, and for reasons yet unknown (unless, of course, you've read J.K. Rowling's book, considered by many to be the best in the series), he's after Harry in a bid for revenge. This dark and dangerous mystery drives the action while Harry (the fast-growing Daniel Radcliffe) and his third-year Hogwarts classmates discover the flying hippogriff Buckbeak (a marvellous CGI creature), the benevolent but enigmatic Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), horrifying black-robed Dementors, sneaky Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall), and the wonderful advantage of having a Time-Turner just when you need one. The familiar Hogwarts staff returns in fine form (including the delightful Michael Gambon, replacing the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and Emma Thompson as the goggle-eyed Sybil Trelawney), and even Julie Christie joins this prestigious production for a brief but welcome cameo. Technically dazzling, fast-paced, and chock-full of Rowling's boundless imagination (loyally adapted by ace screenwriter Steve Kloves), The Prisoner of Azkaban is a Potter-movie classic.
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Above reviews © Amazon.co.uk

 


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