Harry Potter 20th Anniversary – Return to Hogwarts (Blu-ray)

Cast members from all "Harry Potter" films reunite in a retrospective special to celebrate the anniversary of the first film, including interviews and cast conversations.

August 30, 2022 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Who would have thought that a single mother living on welfare in the U.K. would turn her life around and write a series of novels that inspired billions of people around the world? Odds are that anyone reading this is familiar with the story of J.K. Rowling who penned, you guessed it, the Harry Potter series of novels. The first, titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.) was published back in 1997. The rest, as they say, is history. This is one of those things that happens, you raise an eyebrow and say “why didn’t I think of that?” Of course, it’s easier said than done. And it might be said that even though the films are now two decades old, was this a little too soon to bring everyone (well, most everyone) back for a reunion? Of course. Harry Potter has made billions of dollars for Warner Brothers over the years, so likely anything they can slap a Potter logo on will do well – financially speaking.

When it comes to a plot, there really isn’t one. It’s just as the title employs – a reunion of the major players in the films who are gathered together and reminisce about the times on set, how they got their respective parts and so forth. If you’ve watched all of the supplements on the various DVD/Blu-ray/4K discs over the years, likely you’ll have seen all of this footage. But it is nice to see Rupert Grint (Ron), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) and Emma Watson (Hermoine) look back at their burgeoning careers and reflect. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re all millionaires now but that’s not really discussed. This isn’t relegated to the “main three” though, we get four directors who pop in: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and David Yates (the most seasoned of the four) as they discuss their particular approach to directing their respective installments and so forth. If nostalgia is your thing, then this is right up your alley.

Video: How’s it look?

Odds are that anyone watching this won’t be too overly concerned with the technical aspects of the presentation. It’s a new feature, presented in a 1.78:1 AVC HD encode that looks positively stunning. The majority of the feature takes place in the Gryffindor common room (relatively speaking) which is dimly lit, but the actors look their best. We see a bearded Daniel Radcliffe, a stunningly beautiful Emma Watson. And Rupert Grint. There is some archival footage and we see how adorable and cute the actors were when the cameras started rolling back in the early 21sts century. This one looks good and should easily impress.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Unlike the Harry Potter films, this one is about 98% dialogue and it sounds perfectly fine. The vocals are sharp and crisp, just as we’d expect. I might have caught a bit of surround action, but then again I could be mistaken. It’s not really the sort of program made to showcase your home theater. The brevity of this description simply says that it gets the job done.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts Featurette – Pretty self-explanatory. This actually plays out like a trailer for the film, thought it’s oddly considered a “featurette.” We get a few quips from the cast, though it’s the same thing(s) they said within the main segment.

The Bottom Line

I’m willing to bet that most anyone reading this as all 8 Harry Potter films in their collection and this is a natural disc to add to that. It’s nice to see the cast and crew look back on what will most likely be the defining moments in their respective lives. The films might have run their course, but it’s nice to see this. Always.

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