THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
Universal / $29.98
Picking up minutes after the climax of The Bourne Supremacy, part three of the super-spy series wastes little time, seizing our fickle attention spans and thrusting us back into Jason Bourne's clandestine world.
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX: Two-disc special edition
Warner Bros. / $34.99
From storytelling to set design, Order of the Phoenix takes the Harry Potter series into much darker territory. The Dark Lord is back and quietly regaining his foothold in the wizarding world. But the powers-that-be at the Ministry of Magic are engaged in a dangerous game of denial and are willing to discredit Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his headmaster, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), to maintain it. Without the help of the normal authority figures, it's up to Potter and his friends to lead the fight.
Like recent entries such as Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, Phoenix makes wise decisions, boiling down the essentials of the book to create a brisk and fluid film (yet some portions still feel plodding). Most striking, however, is Phoenix's deft use of special effects. For the first time, a film version of Potter revels in visual possibilities of spell casting.
Special features --Now in its fifth outing, the Harry Potter series has surely covered a lot of behind-the-scenes ground on previous DVDs, which may be why Phoenix's offerings seem a little pitiful. The deleted scenes are more like outtakes and expanded cuts than original material. A tour of the set led by Natalia Tena (who plays Tonks) is heavy on sappy asides but light on insight.