I’ve written before about the difficulty of finding blu-ray movies that look good and avoiding those that look worse in high-definition. Certainly, the modern and lushly filmed Harry Potter film series looks good in blu-ray. But which edition should you buy? Regular blu-ray disks or the pricey ultimate editions.
Unfortunately, the Warner Brothers studio has made this choice a lot harder than it should be by changing their ultimate edition playbook midway through the release schedule. The first two ultimates, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, included extended movies with deleted scenes added back into the full flick. They also had copies of so-called digital editions that you can load directly onto an iPod or other portable devices.
But the next two ultimates, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, veered away from the fan-friendly model of releases one and two. These editions shuffled the extra scenes to another disk, so no “extended” cut of the movie is available. And the iPod-friendly digital editions have to be downloaded off the web.
Not surprisingly, the two later disks have been hit by a one-star rating campaign on Amazon. These kind of campaigns can bite, as we saw recently with the Lord of the Rings blu ray disks.
Depending on your blu-ray budget, it also may be worth factoring into your decision equation that Amazon is selling a bundle of the basic versions of all six movies for under $70 while each of the first four ultimate versions costs at least $34.
Earlier Coverage: One star boycotts may be working (10/4/2010)