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DR.co.uk review of Prisoner of Azkaban & Goblet of Fire Ultimate Editions
News - Newsflash
Written by Red   
Saturday, 13 November 2010 02:19
The Ultimate Editions of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire DVD sets include two collector's cards, a booklet focusing on the subject of the extra footage on the special features DVD, as well as the original film and its extra footage. The Prisoner of Azkaban extras focus on the creatures of the series, from Buckbeak to dementors and ultimately the cruelest creature of all: Voldemort. All three Davids (Heyman, Barron, Yates), and previous directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, and Mike Newell discuss some of the creatures they have had to deal with in their respective features.
 
For Columbus, one of the biggest challenges was the basilisk in Chamber of Secrets. It's surprising the amount of detail gone into a 'creature' that is half animatronic and half-CGI, and what the third disc for the Ultimate Edition show is the amount of effort, love, and dedication thousands of crew members put in to bring the creatures to life. While most fans only acknowledge the actors in the Harry Potter film series, the behind-the-scenes clips shine a light on people from the prosthetics, makeup, stunts, and countless props departments that create the creatures and bring them to life.
 
Buckbeak was created from head to toe, as life-scale robotic model for Daniel Radcliffe to work against. It is remarkable and eye-opening to realise that one creature, that will be featured in a few minutes of the overall film, took months and dozens of people to bring to life. The smaller things generally not noticed in the films may take ages to make, and that's the beauty of the behind-the-scenes footage - the props and creatures you may not have noticed in the background can take ages to make, by professionals and undoubtedly perfectionists.
 
It was surprising to find that Lord Voldemort himself is considered a creature, as he in some sense is a man, but Goblet of Fire proved that he was this foetus-shaped horrific monstrosity before he is resurrected in the graveyard. Ralph Fiennes discussed his character, as well, and what fans may not have considered is in fact true in some sense - Voldemort is part creature, and part man.
 
The extras for the Goblet of Fire Ultimate Edition focuses on the music and sound featured in the series. It's not just about John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat's original score, but the sounds that have to be created and edited into the film itself. The soft and chilling chimes of Hedwig's Theme, and the history of why and how it became the thematic song for the Harry Potter series is explained the extras (and why it's not 'Harry's Theme' instead).
 
Admittedly, the new never-before-seen footage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I and II interspersed throughout the extra footage distracts away from the overall feature itself. Given the time at which the DVDs were released, where millions of fans are eagerly awaiting the final two installments of the series, and clinging on to any new footage and photos from it, the fact that the Ultimate Editions give quick glimpses from it takes away from the overall feature. It's wonderful to see, but truthfully, with days away from the release of Part I, fans care more about the making of the Ministry of Magic scenes in the November 2010 release than Doyle's artistic process in orchestrating the score for Goblet of Fire.
 
The Ultimate Editions are excellent collectibles for die-hard Harry Potter fans, though there is the small hope that bloopers and extra never-before-seen clips from Goblet of Fire and Prisoner of Azkaban were released, as well.
 
The Goblet of Fire and Prisoner of Azkaban Ultimate Editions can be ordered here.
Last Updated on Saturday, 13 November 2010 02:54
 

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