Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Poster #3

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now available in stores.

With Lord Voldemort growing increasingly powerful, Harry Potter and crew find themselves in the middle of yet another adventure. The franchise’s 6th film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, dives deeper into darker territory as it paves the way towards Deathly Hallows. Yet as dark as this film is, writer Steve Kloves made sure that there are several cheerful moments to balance everything out. Unfortunately, these lighthearted moments primarily come from the story’s lackluster soap opera-style love story. In other words, far too much of the film focuses on the relationships between all of the characters. The way that these stories intertwine with the Voldemort storyline is a bit jarring.

Director David Yates returns after directing the breakneck Order of the Phoenix. This time around he made the decision to slow things down to allow these characters to maturate. As a result, there is a bigger emphasis on the emotionality of the film’s vital scenes. Yates is able to perfectly guide the cast and allow them to investigate and develop their characters. Unfortunately, Yates has still yet to figure out how to build tension throughout the film.

It amazing to see how much Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson have grown over the course of the franchise. Their respective characters have never been this multilayered and this individualized before. In fact, you can see the palpable chemistry between all three actors.

This time around, it’s Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, and Alan Rickman that holds our interest. Michael Gambon delivers a captivating performance as Dumbledore. There a vulnerability to his character that we’ve never seen before. Felton does some of the best work he’s ever done in the entire series. Gone are the days where Draco is a pompous jerk. Now, he’s more of a tortured soul. Rickman has a bigger role here and the entire franchise benefits from more Snape. Rickman’s spot-on performance always shines in every Potter film.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is easily the franchise’s second best film. Half-Blood may not perfect but it is a taut, well-made, and emotional film.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Michael Gambon and Daniel Radcliffe

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits Ultra HD with an HDR 2160p transfer and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Once again, it’s the HDR that thoroughly impresses here. It’s not just the obvious things like the deep black levels and brilliant brightness levels either. Unlike Order of the Phoenix, we have a lot more color variations here so the HDR’s wider color gamut creates colors that are richer and more vivid. Thanks to the overall sharpness and crispness of the video, the details are excellent from beginning to end. Depending on how a particular scene is shown, the skin colors may look washed out or desaturated. On the other hand, the skin details are clean and clear. There was a scene or two where I found banding in the dark scenes, though. Overall, this is a great video transfer.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Alan Rickman

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits Ultra HD with a DTS:X and DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track. The review will reflect Half-Blood‘s core DTS-HD 7.1 track. And what a fun track it is. The dynamic pans between all 7 channels is a real treat for your ears. Particularly, how you can distinctly hear the full range of loud and soft sound effects panning between all channels. The vocal dialogue is crisp and audible throughout—whether it’s the quietest scene or the loudest. Overall, this immersive mix is a great demo disc to show off your surround system.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Evanna Lynch and Rupert Grint

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘s Ultra HD disc doesn’t have any special features on it. However, the regular Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Maximum Movie Mode
  • Focus Points
  • Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 6: Magical Effects
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Behind the Magic
  • Additional Footage
  • Interstitials
  • J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life
  • Close-Up with the Cast of Harry Potter
  • One-Minute Drills
  • What’s On Your Mind?
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Sneak Peek
  • First Footage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Theatrical Trailers

Similar to the Ultra HD release of Order of the PhoenixHalf-Blood‘s special features comes from the Ultimate Edition Blu-ray release of the film. Again, I can’t fault Warner Bros for re-releasing the Ultimate Edition special features because of how comprehensive it is. In fact, there are just over 3 hours of material to go through. Fans and non-fans alike should enjoy “J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life” because of its intimate look at how Rowling finished the last book. Rowling reveals a lot about herself and the story of Harry Potter. Another noteworthy featurette is the 6th part of the “Creating the World of Harry Potter” series. This documentary covers everything that you’ll want to know about how the franchise’s effects were made. It is truly an interesting watch.

Special Features Rating: 5/5 atoms

Overall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a great gateway to the final two films in the series. To put it another way, there is definitely an Empire Strikes Back vibe that I get from the film—especially at the end of the film. The video presentation is superb but the audio presentation is even better. The special features may be holdovers from the Ultimate Edition release but it’s definitive enough to warrant a pass.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

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