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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Yates
Cast:
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Evanna Lynch, Warwick Davis, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes
Writing Credits:
Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling (novel)

Tagline:
It All Ends Here.

Synopsis:
In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

Box Office:
Budget
$125 million.
Opening Weekend
$169.189 million on 4375 screens.
Domestic Gross
$380.531 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 130 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 11/11/2011

Bonus:
Disc One:
• “Maximum Movie Mode” Interactive Feature
• Eight “Focus Points” Featurettes
• “Final Farewells from Cast and Crew”
• Previews
Disc Two:
• “A Conversation with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe” Documentary
• “The Goblins of Gringotts” Featurette
• “The Women of Harry Potter” Featurette
• Eight Deleted Scenes
• Previews
• Bonus DVD


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 3, 2011)

Can I be the only one who finds it hard to believe the Harry Potter franchise has now reached its conclusion? Was it really 10 years ago that the series launched with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Time flies, indeed.

When the franchise launched back in 2001, I admit I lacked much interest in Potter. I saw the first few films because I had to do so; there was no way I could run this site and ignore such a massively successful property, but I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the films.

At least not until 2005 and the fourth entry, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That one gave the series a darker edge and made me more interested, a trend that continued with flick five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Movie six - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - was a mild disappointment, but I remained excited to see where the franchise would finish.

I got half the answer in November 2010 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, and the series wrapped in July 2011 via Hallows Part 2. And it wrapped in a satisfying manner, and Part 2 finishes off the franchise in fine fashion.

Warning: you’re entering a spoiler zone! If you want to avoid Part 2 plot points, skip to the technical parts of the review.

Part 2 begins immediately after the finish of Part 1. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his pals Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) seek items called Horcruxes; these represent evil Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) mortality and their destruction may offer the key to his defeat. They go through a mix of escapades along the way, and we see a major assault on Hogwarts, the school of magic where Harry first met his friends. All this inevitably leads toward a final showdown between Harry and Voldemort.

As I consider Part 2, I find myself more involved in reflections about the series as a whole than on this specific movie. Like I mentioned at the start, I find it remarkable to imagine that we’ve spent 10 years on the Potter trail, and I find it nearly as remarkable that the franchise progressed and grew so well. What started as a pretty fluffy couple of kiddie movies evolved and developed into something borderline epic along the way.

Part 2 concludes matters in a manner that lives up to that stature. Some have complained about the lack of humor in the film, but I’m fine with its dark tone. (The movie does include some comic relief, by the way – it’s not unrelenting.) The earlier films had more than enough fun and frivolity; Part 2 should take us to the brink of apocalypse in a literal sense, as a Voldemort victory would lay waste to humanity. That’s not a story suited to wisecracks and silliness, is it?

I don’t think so, which is why I appreciate the flick’s cheerlessness – and its emotional impact as well. I can’t tell you when I developed an attachment to Harry and his pals; heck, I didn’t realize that I had grown to care about them until the last couple of movies.

But I had, and that emotional impact becomes a crucial aspect of Part 2. To some degree, the majority of the movie acts as a tease; we’re just waiting to get to that inevitable final showdown and find out if Harry will defeat his nemesis.

It should come as no shock that the answer is “yes”, but the movie doesn’t make it a predictable ride with a clear-cut ending. I avoided all spoilers until I saw Part 2, but a friend’s (jerky) boyfriend nearly tripped up my efforts. My girlfriend and I went out to dinner with my friend and his boyfriend the night we’d seen Part 1. My girlfriend mentioned this to Jerky Boyfriend and indicated that the finale wouldn’t be out until the next summer. “That’s the one where Harry dies, right?” blurted Jerky Boyfriend – and I nearly leapt across the table to throttle him.

As it turns out, Jerky Boyfriend was right and wrong – though mostly wrong. Harry does survive Part 2 - and we even get to see an epilogue that shows Potter and the others 19 years down the road.

A bad epilogue, unfortunately, and the only really weak part of Part 2. We find out who married who and what children resulted as we see the offspring of Potter and the others go to Hogwarts.

Why do I so intensely dislike the epilogue? For one, I think it’s unnecessary and kind of spells the death of imagination. The final “present day” scene gives us a nice conclusion as it shows Harry, Ron and Hermione after Voldemort’s defeat and an evaluation of the ramifications. It provides an emotional capper to the series that should’ve stood on its own.

But then the stinkin’ screen has to show “19 Years Later” and ruin it all. I suspect that author JK Rowling penned the epilogue to back herself into a corner. She wanted the Potter series to end and not feel tempted to return to the well in the future. The epilogue closes the door on Harry and his pals; since we know they go all suburban family on us, Rowling can’t come back and give us Harry Potter and the Bitchin’ Kegger or Harry Potter and the Battle with Voldemort’s Auntie. (The cynic in me does see the epilogue as a way to leave the door open for Harry Potter: The Next Generation, though.)

If the epilogue exists solely to prevent Rowling from succumbing to temptation, I don’t think that’s a good enough reason. I won’t say it ruins the movie’s finale, but it ensures that the audience can’t use their imaginations and conjure their own ideas of what happens to Harry and the others post-Voldemort. That’s a shame; I really would’ve preferred the more emotional and open-ended finish that you’d get if you conclude the film before the epilogue.

Happily, Part 2 does pretty much everything right as it approaches the Awful Epilogue. Continuing in “Looking Back” mode, I find it somewhat astonishing to see how much Radcliffe grew as an actor across the eight films. Without question, he showed the most development of the various kids. Grint started out good and stayed there, while I think Watson actually regressed some; I found her more effective as younger Hermione, as she tended to do little more than seem sullen in the later films.

Radcliffe began as a weak link who lacked much personality through the first few movies. He started to come to life around Goblet and continued that progression through the remaining films. Indeed, Radcliffe eventually developed into one of the series’ strengths, as he gave Harry surprising heart and dimension toward the end. He grew into the solid actor we see here, and that helps both the believability of Harry as the “chosen one” as well as the movie’s emotional impact.

We do find plenty of the latter in Part 2, as it packs plenty of punch. Some of this comes from the expected showdown between Harry and Voldemort, but some surprising emotion arises from unanticipated sources. Villains find redemption and weaklings show bravery and power; those elements add to the movie’s already considerable power.

At no point will I ever consider the Harry Potter series to be a great one, but after eight films and 10 years, I must admit it developed into a consistent, dynamic and engaging franchise. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ran the risk that it’d end things on a weak note, but it manages to live up to almost all expectations. I like the film so much that I’m sad to see Harry go.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A/ Bonus B

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This wasn’t a killer presentation, but it usually seemed more than satisfying.

As was the case with the Part 1 Blu-ray, shadow detail became the weakest link. Plenty of dark sequences came across as a bit too opaque and tough to discern. This was clearly a photographic choice, but it seemed to go over the top and made it tough to figure out what was happening in some scenes.

Happily, this wasn’t the obstacle I encountered in Part 1. Yeah, the too-dark shots of Part 2 occasionally annoyed, but they didn’t appear as impenetrable as they did in its predecessor. I would’ve liked greater clarity in these scenes, but they didn’t hurt the image severely.

The rest of the presentation came across as a duplicate of Part 1. At all times, sharpnes looked great. The movie exhibited fine definition and lacked any signs of softness. I witnessed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to appear. As usual, the transfer didn’t display print flaws.

None of the prior Potter films went with lively palettes, and that continued in this nearly monochromatic experience. Colors were always subdued, but within the stylistic constraints, they looked fine. Blacks were also dark and tight. Only my mild shadow detail concerns knocked this one down to a “B”.

No concerns greeted the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. This was probably the liveliest of the eight flicks, and the soundscape came to life in dynamic fashion. The scenes underground at Gringott’s launched the action in fine fashion, with the fun “mine cart” ride and the intense destruction and rage of the dragon. All of those elements zipped around the room and engulfed us in the material.

Matters continued to impress from there. Because Part 2 came with a mix of quiet and loud scenes, it didn’t dazzle on a continual basis, but it still seemed convincing at all times, and the more active sequences were stunners. The attack on Hogwart’s and its destruction came as additional standouts, though plenty of other excellent sequences came along for the ride as well. This was a really stellar soundfield.

Audio quality always excelled as well. Effects were accurate and bold, with clear highs and deep lows. Music showed nice range and punch, while speech seemed concise and distinctive. I called the Part 1 the best Potter soundtrack to date, but Part 2 beat it; this was an amazing track that fell just short of “A+” standards.

From there we move to the set’s extras. On Disc One, we open with Maximum Movie Mode. Actor Matthew Lewis introduces the piece, and we also hear from producers David Barron and David Heyman, director David Yates, makeup effects supervisor Nick Dudman, 2nd unit director Stephen Woolfenden, visual effects supervisor Tim Burke, and actors Warwick Davis, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, James and Oliver Phelps, Emma Watson, Jason Isaacs, Bonnie Wright, Jessie Cave, Tom Felton, and Mark Williams.

The “Mode” looks at the film’s opening and tone, cast, characters and performances, makeup and various effects, story issues, deleted scenes and editing, connections to prior films and comparisons to the book, stunts and action, sets, and the finish of the series.

If you saw the “Mode” for Hallows Part 1, you’ll know what to expect here. Most of the content consists of “Walk-ins”. These shrink the movie image to feature the film participant as he or she explains various components. Through these moments, we see footage from the set and other components, but they remain the main focus.

The Part 1 “Mode” had some good moments but ultimately frustrated due to sparse content and a lack of user-friendliness. The “Mode” for Half-Blood Prince let viewers skip from one bit to another, but the “Modes” for the two Hallows flicks lack that convenience.

This becomes less problematic for the Part 2 “Mode”, simply because it lacks as much dead air. Oh, we still get a few more empty spaces than I’d like, but they don’t become as tiresome as they did for the prior film.

The quality of the content can be a bit dodgy, though. While we learn a fair amount about the movie, we get a few too many superficial moments, such as the reels that feel like “greatest hits” from earlier movies. Still, we do learn a reasonable amount about the film, and the “Mode” becomes a fairly satisfying program.

We can check out the eight Focus Points on their own or as branches of “Maximum Movie Mode”. These include “Aberforth Dumbledore”(2:37), “Deathly Hallows Costume Changes” (3:13), “Harry Returns to Hogwarts” (3:21), “The Hogwarts Shield” (2:27), “The Room of Requirement Set” (3:13), “The Fiery Escape” (3:49), “Neville’s Stand” (4:15) and “Molly Takes Down Bellatrix” (3:27). In total, they run 26 minutes, 27 seconds, and across them, we hear from Yates, Radcliffe, Isaacs, Lewis, Watson, Heyman, Grint, Burke, Felton, Woolfenden, James and Oliver Phelps, costume designer Jany Temime, production designer Stuart Craig, art director Alastair Bullock, set decorator Stephenie McMillan, production buyer Lucinda Sturgis, stuntman Martin Wilde, special effects supervisor John Richardson, stunt coordinator Greg Powell, and actors Ciaran Hinds, Julie Walters, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and Evanna Lynch.

The programs look at cast and performances, characters and story, various effects and costumes, sets and props, stunts and action. None of the “Points” deliver a great deal of depth, but they help expand subjects seen during the “Mode”. These tell us more info about the different production areas and add a layer of richness to the experience.

Final Farewells from Cast and Crew runs three minutes, seven seconds and provides statements from Oliver and James Phelps, Mark Williams, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Jessie Cave, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, David Barron, Stephen Woolfenden, Nick Dudman, Tim Burke, David Yates, Matthew Lewis, Jason Isaacs, and Emma Watson. All tell us what a wonderful experience the Potter series was and how much they’ll miss it. The piece is painless but not particularly rewarding.

Disc One opens with ads for a 2012 Harry Potter “Definitive Edition”, the “Pottermore” website, and the Lego Harry Potter videogame.

Over on Disc Two, the main attraction comes from A Conversation with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe. This runs 53 minutes, three seconds as the author and the actor discuss his casting and her involvement in the process, other cast/character/story notions, changes from her books and aspects of the evolution of the novels, and living with the success of the Potter world.

Though both have a lot to say, Rowling dominates and gives us the most interesting parts of “Conversation”. She lets us take a nice glimpse behind the scenes to learn more about her writing processes and working through Potter areas. It’s fun to see arguably the two most important figures in the franchise chat for such a long period, and this ends up as an enjoyable piece.

Two featurettes follow. The Goblins of Gringotts goes for 10 minutes, 56 seconds and provides notes from Nick Dudman, Warwick Davis, and actors Rusty Goffe, Binde Johal, Lauren Barnard, Nathan Phillips, Nikki McInness, Samantha Davis, and Maxwell Laird. We learn about the goblin makeup and the actors who played them. This is a nice look at a side of the filmmaking process that usually doesn’t get much attention.

In the 22-minute, 31-second The Women of Harry Potter, we hear from Rowling, Wright, Watson, Walters, Carter, and actors Helen McCrory and Imelda Staunton. As expected, the program looks at the female characters and actors in the Potter series. Some of this seems self-congratulatory, but we still get decent information. Most of this comes from Rowling, who again provides nice insights into her creations.

Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of six minutes, 33 seconds. Given the length of these pieces, you can assume that they don’t add much, and that assumption would be correct. These are mostly just extensions of existing sequences, so don’t anticipate anything that really stands alone – or stands out. The extra bits are fun but fairly inconsequential.

Previews. One looks at the “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London” and the other delivers a promo for “Pottermore”. No trailer for Hallows 2 shows up in this set.

A third disc offers a DVD copy of the film. This is a barebones edition, so it doesn’t include any extras.

After 10 years and eight movies, the massively successful franchise comes to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. And it does so in spectacular fashion with a film that seems likely to be viewed as the best of the bunch. The Blu-ray offers good picture, awesome audio and a reasonably informative set of supplements. This is a must-own for Potter fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.8571 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main