In what was a bit of a higgledy-piggledy move, the last four Harry Potter movies were released on 4K Ultra HD back in March. So many have been waiting until today – November 22 – for the first four before revisiting the series. Has it been worth the wait?
Those first four – which were the last four (this is more confusing than one of Snape’s potions exams) – came to 4K Ultra HD with upscaled 2K transfers. This means that while being a noticeable improvement over their Blu-ray equivalents, the vision still wasn’t the sharpest that it could possibly have been. Unfortunately, no manner of mastery of the dark arts can make a 2K master into pure 4K (although we’re trying to confirm rumours that Remus Lupin is busy working on it). Regardless, the addition of HDR enhancement really worked to the David Yates-directed quartet’s benefit as, being very dark movies, a lot of otherwise murky detail came to the fore.
As for the audio on those four, everything was remixed into DTS:X format, which adapts to the number of speakers that your setup has. As such, an Atmos speaker arrangement is utilised to provide upwards/downwards (depending upon where they’re placed) sound. Wait until you’re in the thick of a quidditch match and you’ll be thankful for having made the investment.
So, that’s the state of 4K Ultra HD Potter play before today with the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2. Now, what do the first four (which are now the las… oh, you get it by now) movies deliver us on the format?
In one particular way they bring a significant improvement, as the Philosopher’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire have all been given full 4K transfers. In short, they look quite wonderful. Those with HDR-compatible equipment will joy at the increased colour and brightness, while witnessing Harry Potter and friends doing their thing with the greatest clarity yet available. Fine grain is noticeable at some times more than others, but you’d have to be one fussy muggle to have an issue with it. This also lessens as the series progresses.
As for sound, the wonderful DTS:X treatment continues, and it works a treat for these movies as there’s so much wild wizardry whooshing about so regularly. It can make for the odd jump scare, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
As with those first last four, a standard Blu-ray version of each movie is included, which is handy as they’re all bursting with special features, most notably the eight-part Creating the World of Harry Potter documentary.
If you already have the first last four, then the last first four are available individually. If you’re new to Harry Potter on 4K Ultra HD though, you can buy them all together in a neat box set.
Welcome to the future, Harry Potter, we’re glad that you could make it.