Thursday, November 24, 2011

On the Horns of a Dilemma

I have always had mixed feelings about the Harry Potter films. "Philosopher's Stone" is very distinctly a kids film, and frankly an over-long one at that. "Chamber of Secrets", on the other hand, is fantastic - definitely my favourite of the series. "Prisoner..." is probably a really good film, but I found the change in tone to be rather jarring after what had gone before, and unlike others I didn't really welcome it.

"Goblet of Fire" is the last one I own on DVD. For the first time, I found that the film was really too short - the need to compress the story to fit the allotted time really compromised the narrative. "Order of the Phoenix" is my second-favourite film, largely because of the portrayal of Dolores Umbridge (for my mind, the best and most unique villain in Harry Potter). But "Half-blood Prince" again suffered from being too compressed, which was a shame as it's probably the best of the novels.

And then they decided to split "Deathly Hallows" into two films. I am really not a fan of that approach - IMO, only "Kill Bill" has managed to pull off that little trick. Still, I suppose it meant that they didn't need to compress as much. It's just a shame that DH is one of the few books that would benefit from some serious compression - Harry just spends far too long wandering around on the periphery of the action. And so, Part One is largely spent setting things up for Part Two (and so is a rather wasted film), and while Part Two is considerably better (third best in the series, IMO), the climax is rather to pyrotechnic for my tastes - quite at odds with the final showdown in the book.

Why is this relevant?

Well, due to combination of factors. While I am not personally a huge fan, Lady Chocolat is. "Deathly Hallows, Part Two" is about to be released on DVD. However, in a Disney-esque move, the publishers have decided to release it for all of a month, before withdrawing all the DVDs from sale.

All of which leads to a slightly tricky dilemma. I'm inclined to think we should own a set of the movies, and if they're going to be available for only a short time, it should probably be now. That's fair enough - a boxed set of all eight can be had for a very reasonable price.

But... do we go for the DVD set, or a combined DVD/Blu-ray set? At the moment, I have a Standard Def TV and DVD player, but I also happen to know that I'll be being upgraded to a High Def TV in the nearish future, after which a Playstation 3 becomes a very likely purchase. And that suggests the Blu-ray set.

It's a tricky one. Normally, the answer would be "get DVD now, and maybe upgrade later", but with the rapid deletion...

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