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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix DVD set by David Yates (Director)
Review by Charles Mohapel
Warner Home Video  
Date: 11 December 2007 /

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix -- Three-Disc Deluxe Edition with Special Lenticular Dual Cover and Bonus Third DVD (exclusive to Target in the US and Future Shop in Canada)

Disc 1:

Movie in widescreen

Disc 2:
Special Features

Additional Scenes of Never Before Seen Footage.
When it came to the deleted scenes, it was a love-them-or-hate-them scenario for me. I loved some scenes that were cut, but as beautiful as they were, they did little or nothing to advance the movie. Other scenes failed to live up to the standards set by the rest of the movie.

Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter
This special feature from the fine folks at A&E takes you back through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the four previous movies as you search for clues to the entire saga that escaped you the first time you viewed the films. It was enjoyable but offered nothing to set my pulse racing.

Trailing Tonks
Here we follow the bubbly and vivacious Natalia Tena, who plays Nymphadora Tonks, the sometimes violet-haired/sometimes bubble-gum-pink-haired young Auror who befriends Harry. If anything, she is even more of a free spirit as she leads the camera crew on a very personal tour of the film set in what can be described as either stream-of-consciousness or a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. This light-hearted tour peaks during visits to the Art Department, Graphics Department and Special Effects Department.

Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing
Director David Yates and editor Mark Day provide a fascinating discussion of the process of editing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I was intrigued by Day's comparison of editing movies to assembling giant jigsaw puzzles, a very appropriate comparison when you sit down and consider it. Here you have a chance to watch a scene twice, first without music and then with music added, though not the final musical score just yet. Day suggests trying different pieces of music when you're editing sound. Properly utilized, music helps tell the story, enhances the scene, and speeds it up where necessary. You're even given the opportunity to edit a scene yourself and add music.

DVD-ROM Enhanced Features
The DVD-ROM Enhanced Features include a Harry Potter Timeline, links to the official Warner Brothers Harry Potter sites, a really cool peek at the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie, and best of all, a downloadable digital version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The one drawback for Apple devotees is that you can only download your digital version to a PC or portable media drive. Mac and iPod users need not apply, so I can only assume Warner Brothers and Apple were unable to come to an agreement. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that the movie is available in Three-Disc Target Deluxe Edition, Two-Disc Special Edition, Widescreen Edition, Full-Screen Edition, Blu-ray Edition, Combo HD-DVD/Standard- DVD Edition, and Best Buy Exclusive Two-Disc Special Edition with Death Eater Mask.

Disc 3: Building The Magic: The Sets Of Harry Potter

12 Grimmauld Place
An interesting set and one that is steeped in the darkness of the Black family, but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice for a home. But since I'm only a Muggle, my opinion carries less weight in the Black family home than that of Kreacher the House Elf.

Umbridge's Office
Overwhelming any who enter her office with a tidal wave of various hideous shades of pink, Dolores Umbridge's office is crammed with cheap, faux French furniture, complete with what is described as "aggressive curves", and an assortment of collector plates, each with its own moving image of kittens. Here we see the menagerie of kittens and young cats as their antics are filmed for use in the film. We also discover that there was a lot of discussion on what shades of pink should be used, then that these pinks were photographed under the very controlled lighting conditions used on a movie set, something that matters greatly to cinematographers, videographers, and serious photographers.

The Room of Requirement
Although it looked airy and full of light, the set of the Room of Requirement was constructed with numerous mirrors, a fact which proved to be very challenging to the director of photography. The solution was as simple as angling the mirrors slightly so the lights were not reflected directly into the camera lens.

The Ministry of Magic
Greatly inspired by the older stations of the London Underground built around the 1900s, the Ministry of Magic is a vast network of period-tiled tunnels and offices. The set proper stands two stories high and the view down the tunnel is nowhere as extensive as what you see in the movie. The additional floors and longer shots you see on the screen are the work of the talented SFX people.

The set for the individual offices is inspired by 1950s-era British bureaucracy, a time of inefficient paper pushers, complete with the massive manual typewriters of that era. Naturally, as you would expect in the Wizard world, even the rank-and-file civil servants are wizards and witches.

The Hall of Prophecies
We discover that the Hall of Prophecies is the first ever entirely CGI set used for a Harry Potter film. While I have often seen greenscreen used in the making of a movie or television show, this is the first time I've ever seen greenscreen with sizable orange dots painted on it. This is used for tracking purposes so they can match live-action footage with the computerized version, thereby allowing the "virtual camera" to follow the precise path of its real-world counterpart.

My conclusions:
While I have not seen either the Blu-ray Edition or the Combo HD-DVD/Standard-DVD Edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, nor can I find specifics of what they contain, I will assume that they include all the features of the Three-Disc Target Deluxe Edition or the Two-Disc Special Edition. These bonus features, especially the third disc with Building The Magic: The Sets Of Harry Potter, are what make them the ideal version for Harry Potter devotees as well as budding cinematographers and videographers.

Now if only someone would give me a brand new Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo player and both the Blu-ray and Combo HD-DVD/Standard-DVD Editions of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I would be a very happy man.

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