'Deathly Hallows Part 1' Rides Foreboding Broomstick To Blu-ray/DVD

[caption id="attachment_45527" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Warner Bros."]Deathly Hallows Pt 1 DVD[/caption]

Okay, so there's these things called Horcruxes and then these other things called Deathly Hallows, and Harry Potter has to find all of them…

Wait, let's back up a sec. The end of the "Harry Potter" franchise is nearly upon us, and the penultimate film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," has just hit DVD and Blu-ray where Potterheads can devour every foreboding second of this über-dark entry.

After the events of the last film, chief among them the untimely death of benevolent wizard Dumbledor (Michael Gambon), Harry is charged with finding and destroying the remaining Horcruxes, or pieces of the Dark Lord Voldemort's soul inside objects or creatures which make him immortal, sort of like a DVR for your being. There are at least one-billion horcruxes left (okay, six, one of which is Harry himself), and the most famous young wizard in the world has to drag his faithful pals Hermione and Ron along for the ride.

This proves difficult as the Dark Lord has basically put out a Fatwa marking Harry for death, and whether they're navigating the magical or Muggle world, snatchers are stalking their every footstep. All these would-be assassins make for some wicked wand battles that basically play out like gun fights.

While all this is happening, "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" (aka Voldemort… VOLDEMORT! VOLDEMORT! VOLDEMORT!) is expanding his sphere of influence by killing the Minister of Magic (Bill Nighy, sadly no more than a cameo) and installing his own stooges into the Ministry. The new fascist, anti-Muggle government makes life hard on everybody in order to put the squeeze on Harry, who Voldemort has to kill so he can truly live.

If you're a fan of J.K. Rowling's novels, as most of the known world is by now, you should have no trouble navigating through the many references and truncated plotlines of "Deathly Hallows Part 1." Those less familiar may have to dog through scenes such as Hermione erasing her parents' memories of her existence, which is never fully explained, or Bill Nighy's character Scrimgeour being killed off-screen, his death announced during a wedding for Bill Weasley, a character who's made virtually no appearance in previous films.

Plot holes notwithstanding, third-time "Potter" director David Yates gives the film a moody, contemplative feel, with many gorgeous scenes of his leading trio traveling through vast barren landscapes to signify how lost they are on their quest. This new film distinguishes itself from the others in that we never see Hogwarts, and most of the action takes place in a more grounded environment. As with the last few movies, this ends with a death, and leaves the door open for the final confrontations to come.

Extras! The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is loaded with plenty of abracadabra, including Rupert Grint playing golf with his castmates, additional scenes, Maximum Movie Mode interactive commentary, and an opening scene from "Deathly Hallows: Part 2."