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Blu-ray Review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Citizen87645

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Cameron Yee
Warner Home Video delivers another fine release in the Harry Potter franchise, though it's ultimately hard to recommend for purchase given the inevitable arrival of the Ultimate Editions; however, anyone who can't wait several months for them shouldn't be disappointed by this somewhat stop-gap release.


82f398a9_HarryPotterandtheDeathlyHallowsBlu-ray.jpeg



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Release Date: November 11, 2011
Studio: Warner Home Video
Packaging/Materials: Three-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover
Year: 2011
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2:10:26
MSRP: $35.99







THE FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURES



Video

1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1

High definition



Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1, Spanish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1

Various



Subtitles

English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Same






The Feature: 4/5




The losses continue to mount for Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his allies as they fight to stop Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters from taking over the Wizarding World. But the death of Dobby, killed as he was rescuing his friends in a supreme act of loyalty, has only strengthened Harry's resolve to complete his mission of finding and destroying Voldemort's horcruxes, objects in which the Dark Lord has planted parts of his soul in a heinous quest for immortality. The search will take Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) into the bowels of the goblin-run Gringott's Bank, and ultimately back to Hogwarts Castle, where Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) has taken over as headmaster and where Death Eaters call the shots. With the help of resistance forces - made up of the Order of the Phoenix and the student-led Dumbledore's Army - buying time for the trio to find the last of the objects hidden somewhere in the castle, there remains a thin sliver of hope that Voldemort will be defeated. But with Harry's fate intertwined with the Dark Lord's, destroying horcruxes will prove to be easy compared to what must be done for an everlasting victory.


Where "Deathly Hallows Part One" suffered at times from a sense of aimlessness - mirroring the psychological state of its protagonists - "Part Two" sometimes progresses at a breakneck pace, reflecting both the urgency of Harry, Ron and Hermione's misson as well as how close they are to completing it. The events of the second film are practically all action set pieces, giving little time to explain the dense mythology at the heart of Voldemort's vulnerability. Consequently, expositional moments around wand lore and the Deathly Hallows objects - as critical as they are - aren't integrated very smoothly into the dialogue or plot. Some of this is forgivable given the difficult task of adapting and condensing such a rich mythology into a two-hour feature film. Less understandable are significant changes to - of all things - how Voldemort meets his fate, so powerfully ironic in the novel but robbed of all its power through cinematic flourish and excessive visual effects. Though the misstep is not severe enough to upend the film - or the franchise for that matter - it does prove to be a lingering point of dissatisfaction in an otherwise satisfying final installment.



Video Quality: 4.5/5

The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The transfer doesn't look too different from its predecessor, showing excellent depth all around - from the black levels to the range of colors on display, though they tend toward the dark and/or earthy. Contrast is likewise strong, showing the full range of values with no signs of compression (at least that isn't an intentional quality of the cinematography, which can be particularly shadowy at times). Fine object detail and overall sharpness are impressive as well, though some shots can look a little too crisp at times, resulting in kind of inorganic look to the image. However, there's none of the usual indicators of excessive digital sharpening (i.e. edge haloing). A healthy amount of grain also suggests minimal use of noise reduction measures.


Audio Quality: 5/5
Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is consistently clear and intelligible, though some may need to enable the subtitles to get through the accents. Surround effects - ambient, directional and 360-degree wraparounds - are balanced, seamless and masterfully mixed. Low frequency effects are used sparingly but effectively, and rattle the foundation at their most extreme depths. High frequency details are similarly excellent, at their most pleasing with the film's orchestral score and at their most anxiety-inducing with the various atmospheric flourishes.


Special Features: 4/5
The most in-depth feature comes in the form of Maximum Movie Mode, with the only limitation being having to watch much of the film to see the material. Of course for die hard fans this won't be a problem, and even for the more casual viewer it's an enjoyable way to watch both the movie and go behind the scenes.


The other, somewhat surprising, highlight is the conversation between Daniel Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling, which feels fresh despite covering some familiar ground.


The absence of the usual trailers and TV spots is somewhat of a disappointment, but more than likely they'll show up on the "Ultimate Editions" (release dates TBA).


A DVD and digital copy (via the new UltraViolet streaming format) round out the package, providing some added convenience for those looking for more portable viewing options.


[Disc One]


Maximum Movie Mode (2:47:25): Incorporates behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, "walk-ons" by the cast and crew to explain aspects of the production and the plot, and access to several "Focus Point" video featurettes, all as one watches the feature. It makes for a dynamic and efficient method of viewing relevant behind-the-scenes material, though some of the most interesting material (e.g. deconstruction of the sometimes dense mythology) cannot be accessed outside of it. This won't please those who want discrete accessibility to all the material, but there's also something to be said about it being presented in proper context with the film. Overall it's a nicely implemented feature and should please anyone looking for more information about the making of the film as well as answers to any lingering questions about the story.



Focus Points (26:27, HD): Highlight various aspects of the production, viewable concurrent with the feature through Maximum Movie Mode or independently.


  • Aberforth Dumbledore (2:37, HD): Looks at the makeup applied to actor Ciaran Hinds to make him look related to Michael Gambon's Dumbledore.

  • Deathly Hallows Costume Changes (3:13, HD: Looks at the wardrobe elements, how have they have changed as the characters have developed and grown.

  • Harry Returns to Hogwarts (3:21, HD): Looks at filming the pivotal scene in the Great Hall.

  • The Hogwarts Shield (2:27, HD): Looks at the visual design and effects for the magical shield charm used to protect Hogwarts Castle.

  • The Room of Requirement (3:13, HD): A look at the design, construction, and dressing of the massive set.

  • The Fiery Escape (3:49, HD): A look at the stunts in the action-heavy scene set in the Room of Requirement.

  • Neville's Stand (4:15, HD): A look at filming Neville's critical scene in the courtyard.

  • Molly Takes Down Bellatrix (3:27, HD): A look at filming the cathartic duel.


Final Farewells from Cast and Crew (3:07, HD): The cast and crew reflect on their experiences over the last several years.


BD-Live


[Disc Two]



Behind the Story (HD)


  • A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe (53:03, HD): Rowling and Radcliffe sit down for a candid discussion about the films, elements from the novels, and their experiences with fame. Although some of the stories are familiar territory after countless special features, it's somewhat rare for Rowling to show up in the extras, so hearing her thoughts on the films and memories of working with the filmmakers turns out to be rather refreshing.

  • The Goblins of Gringotts (10:56, HD): Provides a tour of the goblin-making process, including casting, prosthetic makeup, and performances.

  • The Women of Harry Potter (22:31, HD): J.K. Rowling talks about her books' female characters, both the good and the bad, and their importance to the series' themes and story arcs.



Deleted Scenes (6:33, HD)


  • Sc. 184 - Shell Cottage (1:16, HD): Bill warns the trio about Goblins.

  • Sc. 185 - Harry and Luna at Dobby's Grave on the Beach (1:51, HD): Harry and Luna say goodbye as Luna returns to Hogwarts.

  • Sc. 215 - Hog's Head (:53, HD): Aberforth complains about his brother.

  • Sc. 229E - Marble Staircase, Harry and Ginny (:31, HD): The two hold hands as they enter the Great Hall.

  • Sc. 242 - Wooden Bridge (:30, HD): Seamus prepares the bridge for destruction.

  • Sc. 245 - Hogwarts' Battlements (:23, HD): Lupin and Tonks share a moment before the battle.

  • Sc. 274 - Slytherin Dungeons (:42, HD): Students escape from lock-up.

  • Sc. 346G - Marble Staircase, Ron and Hermione (:23, HD): Ron feels pressed to share something with Hermione.


Warner Brothers Studio Tour London (1:33, HD): Promotional for "The Making of Harry Potter" tour opening Spring 2012.


Pottermore (1:07, HD): Promotional for J.K. Rowling's online Potter experience.



DVD: Includes the feature in standard definition 2.40:1 anamorphic video and 384 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in English, Spanish and French. It also includes subtitles in English SDH, Spanish and French.

UltraViolet Digital Copy: Store, stream, and download the film up to three times via Flixster. Redeem by November 11, 2013. Note: The UltraViolet URL was not yet active at time of review.


Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

Warner Home Video turns in an excellent presentation of Part Two of the final Harry Potter film. Of the releases's special features, Maximum Movie Mode is the most detailed and expansive, covering a wide variety of subjects in an interesting and dynamic way. While it would have been nice to have discrete access to all the material, the feature does such a good job of enhancing viewers' understanding of the story and production process that it's hard to complain too much about a minor interface issue. The interviews with author J.K. Rowling also prove to be highlights of the extras, though the inevitable arrival of the "Ultimate Editions" makes this a tough release to recommend for purchase. Still, it's definitely worthy of a rental in the meantime.
 

EdHoch

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Thanks for the review. Is there any place to compare sales prices, unique packaging or special versions from Target or Best Buy or anything like that?
 

bosque

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Nice review. Cameron makes a good point about the Maximum Movie Mode (MMM) and how it explains some of the more complex points of the story. In the past, I've found the appearances and uses made of the Sword of Gryffindor particularly baffling without having to resort to the source-text, but the MMM does an excellent job in clearing it up. Some might say Kloves should have made it clearer in the movie itself, though on a second viewing (armed with the information) it plays wonderfully well.
 

Jason_V

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Thanks Cameron. Picking this up is going to be one of my stops tomorrow even though I won't be watching for a few weeks. When you add in MMM, it sounds as though this is a fairly packed set with a few noticeable exceptions.
 

Matt Hough

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I watched the 3D version of the film last night. I saw the movie in a theater in 2D, so this was my first 3D experience with it. I didn't find the 3D that much more involving than the 2D experience I had in the theater. Also on the 3D encode, I noticed some very obvious aliasing effects on the stairs later in the movie.
 

Jesse Skeen

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This was actually shot in 2-D and converted to 3-D. I saw it at an IMAX theater and it still didn't look as bad as I expected it to. Don't have a 3-D TV yet but bought the 3-D Blu-Ray anyways, since it also comes with the 2-D version.
 

Matt Hough

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Yes, I knew it was a 3D conversion, but a 3D conversion like Captain America or Green Lantern seemed to me more effective than this or, for another example, Thor. And there were plenty of moments that would have gained appreciably if the movie had been shot in 3D giving a more complete dimensional experience to some of the various effects.


I suspect in the future when I want to watch this movie, I'll likely opt for the 2D Blu-ray rather than the 3D.
 

Johnny Angell

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MattH. said:
I watched the 3D version of the film last night. I saw the movie in a theater in 2D, so this was my first 3D experience with it. I didn't find the 3D that much more involving than the 2D experience I had in the theater. Also on the 3D encode, I noticed some very obvious aliasing effects on the stairs later in the movie.
How did you watch a 3D version? I can't see that this has been released to blu-ray 3D. According to a reviewer on Amazon, the UK version (to be released in a bout a month) will include 3D and a real digital copy as opposed to the Ultra Violet copy. I presume the the UV copy requires streaming and it does not reside on your device.
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angell


How did you watch a 3D version? I can't see that this has been released to blu-ray 3D. According to a reviewer on Amazon, the UK version (to be released in a bout a month) will include 3D and a real digital copy as opposed to the Ultra Violet copy. I presume the the UV copy requires streaming and it does not reside on your device.
Best Buy has the exclusive on the 3D Deathly Hallows right now, and it's been out over a week.
 

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