Nov 172012
 

The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 Ultimate Collector’s Edition release will complete most people’s HP collection. Both movies are amazing and are a wonderful conclusion to the series, the features are incredible and the audio/video transfers aren’t half bad either. There is one caveat however: none of the features on the individual releases were ported over so you will be missing some stuff.

 

 


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 (2010/2011)


REVIEW NAVIGATION

The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

 

Genre(s): Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 146 min. / 130 min. – $64.99 | November 13, 2012

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
David Yates
Writer(s):
J.K. Rowling (novel); Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Cast:
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Warwick Davis, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman

Theatrical Release Date: November 19, 2010 / July 15, 2011

DISC INFO:
Features:
Maximum Movie Mode, Focus Points, Featurettes, BD-Live, DVD Copies, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs:
6

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video:
1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size:
NA
Codec:
MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s):
A, B, C

 


Note: Screen captures are the older jpegs (I now use PNG format) so they are not to the highest quality. I may do some new ones in the future, but for the time being these will have to do. My apologies.

THE MOVIES – 4.5/5

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1
“The beginning of the end” is a tagline cliché I’ve seen all too often but in the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, it’s so true. It’s also shaping up to be the best two Potter movies of the series, a series in which has been consistent in being good on the cusp of greatness (for me, it got close with the darker Prisoner of Azkaban).

Plot (from back cover): Harry (DANIEL RADCLIFFE), Ron (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione (EMMA WATSON) set out to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s (RALPH FIENNES) power – the Horcruxes. On their own and on the run, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever… but Dark Forces threaten to tear them apart.

I’ve never been the biggest Harry Potter fan and in fact have only read a couple passages from one of the books (don’t even remember which one) but I have enjoyed the series as a whole from an outsider’s perspective. I know some fans have qualms with what or was not included in these movies but from a storytelling point of view, they’ve all done a good job from the casting to forwarding an interesting story.

With Deathly Hallows Part 1, it takes the series to a whole new level. For one thing, we don’t even enter into Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is under the guide Professor Severus Snape (ALAN RICKMAN) whom, like our other favorite Potter characters (Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Brendan Gleeson as ‘Mad-Eye’ Mooney – whose demise was understated IMO – and the others in the Order of the Phoenix), we only see early on as a good portion of the second and third acts are centered on Harry, Ron and Hermione.

And even though much of the film has the kids on the run jumping from one part of the land to the next showing their wizard and witch kick assness with the spells they’ve learned to defend themselves, it’s one hell of a ride combining thrilling scenes with some truly crushing dramatic moments (the scene where Harry and Hermione dance to Nick Cave’s song, ‘O Children’ stands out).

It’s the drama and acting by our main characters, more so than the story, where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 excels, however. Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves split the final book in two not to get more money out of the fans (though I’m sure Warner isn’t complaining) but to tell the full story within a reasonable timeframe rather than cramming it all into a three hour and under feature film. This first part starts the journey and I’m sure the opening and second act continues the quest in Part 2 but from what I’ve been reading, the majority of the film is outright action so Yates and company have set the appropriate tone before cranking things up for the ultimate duel.

As far as the acting goes, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson all have been fairly consistent through the series – save for maybe Sorcerer’s Stone – and here now a decade later, they’ve obviously embodied their characters but rather than sleepwalking through their roles, they’re still adding layers.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a great film and probably my second favorite behind Prisoner of Azkaban (and Order of the Phoenix is right up there as well) but I certainly hope the second part lives up to the build up because otherwise it will taint an otherwise great movie (see: The Matrix Reloaded).

 

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2
It’s been 10 years in the making but the finale for the boy wizard has finally come to a close… and with a blast and a bit of nostalgia for those who have journeyed with these characters from the beginning.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 begins where the first part left off and while most films stick to the three act rule, and this does, it almost felt like the third act with the previous film serving as the first and second acts.

The story follows Harry (DANIEL RADCLIFFE), Ron (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione (EMMA WATSON) as they search for the remaining Horcruxes that will weaken Voldemort (RALPH FIENNES). Their journey takes them from Gringotts to break into Bellatrix’s vault – with the help of goblin Griphook (WARWICK DAVIS) – back to Hogwarts as Voldemort learns what the trio are up to and know they are one step closer. But getting into Hogwarts is easier said than done as its new headmaster is Severus Snape (ALAN RICKMAN) and the place is being run like a totalitarian dictatorship.

Helping the trio, albeit with some passive reluctance, is Aberforth Dumbledore (CIARAN HINDS), Dumbledore’s brother. I should note here that the make-up effects crew did a fantastic job matching some key features from Michael Gambon to make him look like he’s related; a task which some movies don’t even try but here if you take a quick look, you’d swear it was Gambon underneath the make-up. In any case, he eventually helps them to get into Hogwarts, with Neville (MATTHEW LEWIS), now leading the charge against the reigning powers that be. Inside Hogwarts is when the siege begins as Voldemort and his legions try to invade but supporters of the cause take a stand and in turn give Harry Potter to find the remaining Horcruxes’ before an epic battle between the Boy Who Lived and Voldemort begins.

Obviously this is a simplistic rundown of the plot, but it’s the gist of the entire film and in fact, the final act of the entire franchise. After what was an emotional – and quite dark – part 1 for The Deathly Hallows, I wondered how a more action-packed finale would translate and if filmmakers could keep the momentum going until the end and the very important confrontation, one that’s been 10 years in the making. Thus far, beginning with Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, Director David Yates has done a superb job with the franchise and given how he, along with screenwriter Steve Kloves, manages to fit in all the important aspects and create a satisfying conclusion is almost awe-inspiring.

As far as the acting goes, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson all have been fairly consistent through the series – save for maybe Sorcerer’s Stone – and here now a decade later, they’ve obviously embodied their characters but rather than sleepwalking through their roles, they’re still adding layers.

This isn’t to say this is a perfect movie because it isn’t. One of my main issues, and it’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, is the relationship between Harry and Ginny never felt fleshed out. They kissed in the Half-Blood Prince then shared a moment in Deathly Hallows Part 1, but since they get separated it never seems fully realized when the time comes for some dramatic tension towards the end. Similarly, we get the death of two prominent characters, members of the old Order of the Phoenix, and we see them on the ground dead arm reached out to touch the other. When did these characters get together? No doubt, seeing them dead is tragic, no doubt, but it didn’t get quite the desired impact I think the writer and director were going after.

Now, having said all that, I realize the movies together were approaching 5 hours and thus things that might’ve been in the book had to be condensed or completely excised so I can excuse some of it, but those two items did stand out both times I saw the film.

On the whole, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is a well made, highly entertaining and in the end, poignant conclusion to one of the most successful franchises in history.

Even as somebody who hasn’t read any of the novels, I still managed to enjoy several of the films throughout the series with the first two, in hindsight, are a bit of a chore to get through but once it got darker beginning with Prisoner of Azkaban (a personal favorite), even with some of the more sluggish scenes/sequences, they still manage to grab my attention from beginning to end.

The film-making experience by all those involved with the Harry Potter franchise is something to behold and might be second only to what Peter Jackson did filming the three epic fantasy Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back-to-back.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5

The packaging is similar to the other “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” releases though a bit thicker to accommodate both movies. Included inside are a few character cards, a nice hard cover mini-book with pictures and an UltraViolet download code. Along with the Blu-rays, each film also comes on DVD. However, the second discs on the individual releases were not ported over. Check out the review here and here to see what’s missing.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1
Maximum Movie Mode (approx 2:46:00; HD)
– Warner’s MMM is a picture-in-picture feature where different members of the crew and cast (minor cast members) show up and talk about different topics that’s going on or in one instance, read passages from the book. I usually enjoy these Maximum Movie Mode’s but this is one of the weaker outings. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Focus Points (TRT 19:21; HD) are a collection of featurettes that delve some into the movie making but not a whole lot as I’m sure anything deeper are or will be contained in the documentaries available in the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” releases. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Featurettes include: The Last Days of Privet Road (2:36), Hagrid’s Motorbike (4:01), Magical Tents (2:18), Death Eaters Attack Café (2:51), Creating Dobby and Kreacher (3:48) and The Return of Griphook (3:45).

BD-Live

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2
Maximum Movie Mode (2:47:35; HD)
– Warner’s staple Blu-ray feature returns where this go around actor Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) hosts and we get access to interviews with members of the cast and crew along with featurettes and deleted scenes. This one isn’t bad, but you’re only getting around 17-minutes of footage. As a side, I like that I don’t have to watch it on my computer like the latest and lame ass Second Screen feature some studios are using.

Focus Points (26:27; HD) – This is a collection of short featurettes showcasing a variety of topics including: Aberforth Dumbledore (2:37), Deathly Hallow 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). These are also available via the Maximum Movie Mode as an icon will pop up and pressing enter, you can watch it. On their own, these aren’t bad but a more comprehensive featurette would be preferred.

Final Farewells From Cast and Crew (3:07; HD) – This is an all too brief though still melancholy featurette as some of the actors (including Radcliffe, Grint and Watson) and members of the crew reflect on their time with the franchise and how much they will miss it all.

BD-Live

 

Bonus Disc (Year 7, Part 1)
Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 7: Story (47:28)
– With this featurette, you get to hear the story of how J.K. Rowling and screenwriter Steve Kloves collaborated and developed a friendship based on trust and respect as they sit down for an intimate conversation. This is the big feature and continuation on an overall ‘making-of’ for the franchise.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: Behind the Magic (44:09) – Discover how one of the most complex scenes as assembled and how the flying sequences were shot. Then hear stories of friendly competition among the stars and gain insight into life on the set.

The following are smaller featurettes which, to me, could have been put into another lengthy featurette like the previous two on this disc.

Harry Potter: On the Road (19:37) – Follow the film’s production all over England for on-location shoots that added exciting new backgrounds to the series.

The Return of the Order (5:35) – Join the turning members of the Order of the Phoenix as the actors discuss how they feel about being back on set.

Scabior and Greyback (4:10) – Learn about the creation of newly created character Scabior and the reimagining of vicious werewolf Fenrir Greyback.

Dobby’s Farewell (4:28) – Interviews with David Yates, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and others discuss why Dobby’s death scene was so important and what made Dobby such a beloved character.

The Look of Bill Weasley (3:41) – Costume Designer Jany Temime explains the choices behind the clothes and accessories used to give Bill Weasley the rock-star look that defines his character.

The Weasleys (3:33) – Examine the importance of the Weasleys both as surrogate family to Harry Potter and as fighters in the war against Voldemort.

The State of Evil (9:58) – Explore the dark side of the great Wizarding War.

The New Guys (7:06) – Meet the new actors introduced in the film.

One Book, Two Movies (4:38) – Producers David Heyman and David Barron and Director David Yates discuss the decision to split the final book into two films.

The Wizarding Shop (5:28) – The prop maker displays some of the new props created for the film.

The following are available on the individual release: The Seven Harrys (5:29), On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James (13:38), Dan, Rupert and Emma’s Running Competition (2:45), Godric’s Hollow/The Harry and Nagini Battle (6:00), The Frozen Lake (4:10) and some Deleted Scenes (10:54).

Also included is the Teaser Trailer (2:31) and the Theatrical Trailer (2:23) along with a couple promotional adverts.

 

Bonus Disc (Year 7, Part 2)
Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 8: Growing Up (49:19)
– Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and other cast and crew reflect on the extraordinary experience they shared growing up on set, and the moments that helped shape who they are today. It’s a really melancholy view on the entire series and easily the best of the “Creating the World of Harry Potter” featurettes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2: Behind the Magic (47:01) – Go behind the scenes to learn how CGI was used to create Hogwarts and see how the Great Hall was destroyed and rebuilt three times during filming.

Hogwarts Last Stand (Extended Version) (30:27) – Glean a sense of the enormous amount of energy and effort required by cast and crew to bring the final battle to the screen.

The Great Hall of Hogwarts (4:13) – Cast and crew share their thoughts on the iconic Great Hall and how they feel seeing it all demolished for the final battle.

Ron and Hermione’s Kiss (4:12) examines the budding romance between Ron and Hermione in a look back at their relationship throughout the series.

That’s a Wrap, Harry Potter (4:55) – The cast and crew share their feelings on reaching the finale of a decade-long relationship with the Harry Potter films.

Neville’s Battle Makeup (4:11) – Watch the elaborate task of bruising and bloodying the actors involved in the Battle of Hogwarts.

The Gringotts Disguises (4:07) – Helena Bonham Carter discusses the challenge of playing Hermione in disguise as Bellatrix.

Harry’s Death: The Courtyard Confrontation (10:14) – Join the cast and crew on set for the filming of the pivotal scene.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Quest (TRT 51:57) is a series of 16 mini-featurettes:
Emma Watson Gets a “Red Card” (2:02)
Daniel Radcliff Discusses His Mentors (4:27)
The Secrets of Flight (4:03)
Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort (4:05)
A Look Back at Severus Snape (3:18)
Exclusive Footage from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 London Premiere (2:23)
The Love Life of Ron Weasley (2:56)
The Weasleys: A Look Back at Harry Potter’s Favorite Family (3:27)
Dumbeldore and Harry: A Look Back (3:23)
Favorite Lines with the Harry Potter Cast (3:44)
Favorite Props and Costumes with the Harry Potter Cast (3:31)
Riding Memory Lane (4:37)
Finding Luna: A Dream Come True (2:27)
A Tribute to Dobby: The Beloved House-Elf (2:43)
A Special Message to Fans of Harry Potter (2:25)
The Cast of Harry Potter Say Goodbye (2:26)

I’m sure all of those were previously released at some point but thought I’d just include them here. Much of the footage was used before and spliced in other featurettes.

And the rest of the featurettes were previously available on the individual release: A Conversation with J.K. Rowling (Extended Version) (1:03:20) which is about 10-minutes longer, The Women of Harry Potter (23:31), The Goblins of Gringotts (10:56),


VIDEO – 4.5/5

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1 — 4.25/5
The film is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and comes on a 50GB disc and MPEG-4 AVC encoding. There’s little doubt that this would be a very dark looking movie from the opening and it only continues until the end even during the daylight scenes. Now, the picture is well defined and I noticed no flaws like pixilation even in the pitch black shots. Again, since this is a dark looking picture, it’s not going to be very pretty in high-def but it’s certainly far better than its DVD counterpart…

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2 — 4.5/5
The film is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and comes on a 50GB disc and MPEG-4 AVC encoding. There’s little doubt that this would be a very dark looking movie from the opening and it only continues until the end even during the daylight scenes. Now, the picture is well defined and I noticed no flaws like pixilation even in the pitch black shots. Again, since this is a dark looking picture, it’s not going to be very pretty in high-def but it’s certainly far better than its DVD counterpart…

AUDIO – 4.5/5

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1 — 4.25/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio meanwhile isn’t the best lossless track I’ve encountered but there are a few action pieces, especially at the beginning, that allow it to shine. The dialogue primarily uses the center channel with the other action coming from the front and rear speakers. Alexandre Desplat’s score also sounds great going from the softer moments like the Harry Potter theme to the action scenes which provide depth to the track.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2 — 4.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio meanwhile isn’t the best lossless track I’ve encountered but there are a few action pieces, especially at the beginning, that allow it to shine. The dialogue primarily uses the center channel with the other action coming from the front and rear speakers. Alexandre Desplat’s score also sounds great going from the softer moments like the Harry Potter theme to the action scenes which provide depth to the track.



OVERALL – 4.5/5

Overall, the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 Ultimate Collector’s Edition release will complete most people’s HP collection. Both movies are amazing and are a wonderful conclusion to the series, the features are incredible and the audio/video transfers aren’t half bad either. There is one caveat however: none of the features on the individual releases were ported over so you will be missing some stuff. If you’re a completist and already have them, what I did was switched out the DVD copies with the second bonus discs from each (so long as you don’t care about the DVDs).

In any case, the set is a bit on the expensive side since you are paying for some trinkets but unless you purchased the expensive complete collection, you do get some excellent featurettes and documentaries that are well worth wading through.

 

Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Published:
11/17/2012

 

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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