Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Street Date:
- March 28th, 2017
- Reviewed by:
- Bryan Kluger
- Review Date: 1
- March 30th, 2017
- Movie Release Year:
- Warner Bros.
- 130 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 3D Blu-ray, where Aaron Peck wrote about some of the Bonus Materials and film. This review features new Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio, some Bonus Material and Final Thoughts sections.
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
The Potter films are now the highest grossing movie franchise of all time. It helps that there are eight movies, but the immense number of fans this story has gathered is unbelievable. We've watched young actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grow up before our very eyes. We've witnessed good Potter movies and not so good ones. However, the best has been saved for last.
Part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is, by far, my favorite movie of the entire series.
It seems weird to say that in a summer filled with Green Lanterns, transforming robots, and superheroes that the best action movie of the year would come from the Harry Potter franchise. The sixth film of the series was missing a huge action scene, for whatever reason, which made it feel a little less exciting. The seventh film started ramping up the action, but we were kind of still bogged down with the dreaded camping scenes. Then there's the eighth and final film packed full of so much wizarding action that it's impossible to look away. The sheer scope of the movie's action is what sucks you in.
The movie starts off with Harry, Ron, and Hermione traveling to Gringotts Bank to retrieve one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. From then on it doesn't ever let up. Magic and mayhem spill over the screen, giving us some of the best, most visceral cinematic images of the year. Director David Yates and his crew understand something about action. It's a fluid motion, and even when the action is filled with numerous pieces of inserted-after-the-fact CGI animation, you can still create coherent, cohesive action set-pieces. Thankfully there are filmmakers out there who believe audiences can't just be fooled by big, shiny explosions. Real action is a dance of sorts. A story in its own right. You know you're watching good action when you care about what's going on. Perhaps that's the biggest reason the action in this movie is so good. We actually care about the people involved.
The final film still takes liberties here and there that may upset purist Potter fans, but this is also a series that's taken advantage of the large majority of fans who devoured the books and at times forgot to explain the tiny details to the rest of us. That's okay, though, because in the end, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is beyond thrilling and grounded in paying off as many character arcs as possible.
It's strange to see this franchise end. It seems like just yesterday Harry and his friends were entering Hogwarts for the first time and now it's crumbling around their feet as Voldemort and his armies attack, relentless in their pursuit of Harry Potter's death.
Voldemort has always made a good villain; because even with all his power he still let his arrogance and ignorance to seemingly small unimportant things blind him. Ralph Fiennes has truly created one of the most fearsome movie villains ever. He'll be one of the things I remember most about the franchise as a whole.
Though at its core Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a story about characters we've grown to love. When we care about the characters amidst the action and mayhem it makes everything more exciting, believable and personal. That's what many action movies are missing nowadays, a personal touch. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is as intimate as it is epic. It's the perfect conclusion to a believed series.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 comes with a dual-layered UHD66 Disc, a Blu-ray Disc of the film, and a second Blu-ray Disc with all of the Bonus Materials. The Blu-rays are Region A Locked. There is an insert for a Digital HD copy as well. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case where two of the three discs are stacked on top of each other. There is a cardboard sleeve too.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is presented in 4K Ultra HD with an HEVC H.265 encode in 2160p and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Part 2 was filmed in Super 35mm and finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate before this release, which was upconverted to 4K UHD with an impressive HDR10 / WCG grading. Much like Part 1, this image is steeped in darkness and vague colors throughout because, like the visual style, the film's tone is very dark and gloomy.
The HDR here does enhance the various shades of these darker colors though, which is nice. In the dark rooms of Hogwarts, the various shades of gray, steely blues, and silvers really look excellent. When Voldemort's army starts attacking Hogwarts magical shield, the different shades of blue and silver look particularly striking. When fire is set to the Room of Requirement, you'll be able to see the different oranges and reds pop right off screen. There is also a scene at the end of the film between Harry and Dumbledore where the scene is soaked in bright whites and gold, making it the brightest part of the last film.
It looks excellent and never overpowering, but with many nuanced shades of whites, making it look almost magical. Black levels are deep and inky with zero crush, and skin tones are natural when in brighter conditions. There is a good layer of grain as well here, which keeps the filmic look of the movie and also gives way to a ton of depth in the detail. Nasty cuts and wounds look very good and individual hairs can be seen easily on every beard and actor's head. Wrinkles in the older wizards look excellent as well too. Makeup effects on the bloody small creature in the scene where Harry and Dumbledore talk at the end of the film looks very realistic, with every ounce of nastiness showing up.
You'll even be able to see the tiny flakes in detail when Voldermort dissolves. Wider shots never go soft and reveal every stone and brick in Hogwarts. The heavier CGI scenes look good as well, however there is some haloing in the bigger action scenes that make some of the bigger CGI effects look unnatural and fake even (that's one of the prices to pay with exquisite 4K and HDR). There were no other compression issues here, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This UHD release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has an English: DTS:X track that sounds brilliant. The extra heft definitely immerses you into every suspenseful moment, as well as every intimate situation with the three main characters. Like the standard Blu-ray, this audio track is demo worthy, but the added overhead effects are truly remarkable and the whole mix sounds smoother than before. Part 2 has way more action than Part 1 and this audio presentation perfectly captures every magical spell, explosion, and crash sound effect in a big way.
The big wizard battles provide a great deal of immersion as you'll feel in the center of every battle with wizards zooming by and spells being thrown from overhead. Each of these sounds effects pack a powerful punch and have quite a bit of heft to them with some excellent bass that never crosses into rocky territory. When Neville is running across the wooden bridge, you'll be able to hear every piece of wood splinter, crack, and explode as he ignites the charges with excellent directionality. The ambient noises of others yelling, screaming, and spells flying by are loud and robust at all times.
The score adds to every moment of thrilling action and suspense and is at time sweeping, without ever drowning out any other sound aspect. When at Gringotts Bank, traveling on the mine cart to the vault, the noises of the cart on the tracks sounds incredible with every detailed screech and clank with the addition of the score. The dialogue is clear and easy to follow along, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills, leaving this audio presentation with excellent marks.
It's pure perfection and demo worthy.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Blu-ray Disc 1 (Movie)
Maximum Movie Mode (HD, 2 hr. 47 min.) – As always Warner has outdone itself with its picture-in-picture commentary on the movie. This is an extensive, exhaustive look inside the making of the film. Matthew Lewis (Neville) introduces the feature for us then we're off to the races. Producer David Heyman stops by occasionally to talk about the movie, but he's a little stiff most of the time. Warwick Davis (Griphook) comes on to talk about his role as the goblin who gets Harry and his friends into the vaults. Other notables include Rupert Grint coming on to give us detailed backstories of what is going on, Emma Watson reciting word-for-word passages from the actual books, and VFX supervisors explaining how certain things were done. Like, for example, a floor that continuously rose upwards so it gave the impression that Radcliffe was climbing a mountain of treasure to get to the horcrux. Stunt coordinators come on and show us step-by-step, with behind the scenes footage, how certain stunts were performed. It truly is an exhaustive look at the movie from the inside out. Deleted scenes are even added in seamlessly to the movie and labeled so you know what they are. Even now I've only scratched the surface of what's in store for you when you play this movie in Maximum Movie Mode. It truly is a treat.
Focus Points (HD, 26 min.) – This is a collection of short featurettes that covers a variety of behind the scenes material. The first is "Aberforth Dumbledore" which covers the transformation of actor Ciarán Hinds and how they made him resemble Michael Gambon. There's a costume featurette where costume designer Jany Temime discusses the way she designs the costumes based on the characters and script. Following that is "Harry Returns to Hogwarts," which spotlights the scene between Harry and Snape in the Great Hall. Something of note here is to see the actual warm lighting that was present when the movie was filmed, compared to the after-effect teal that was applied in post to give the movie a darker more sinister feel. "The Hogwarts Shield" covers the CG creation of the force field created by the teachers at the school. "Room of Requirement Set" shows the immensity of the actual set constructed of individual props. Like an antique store exploded. "The Fiery Escape" covers the stunts performed by the actors during the great fire in the Room of Requirement. "Neville's Stand" not only discusses Neville standing up to Lord Voldemort near the end but it also goes over Neville's evolution as a character, and we get some great insight into Ralph Fiennes' acting process here. Finally, "Molly Takes Down Bellatrix" features actresses Julie Walters and Helena Bonham Carter going at it on set during their witch duel to the death.
Final Farewells From the Cast (HD, 3 min.) – A few of the big name actors reminisce about the last decade working on these movies. Tears are shed. That's a wrap!
Blu-ray Disc 2 (Extras)
Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 8: Growing Up (HD, 50 min.) - Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are spotlighted here. This part of the series takes a long, hard look at what it was like for these once-young actors to literally spend their childhoods in front of the camera. For ten of their most formative years these three, along with all the other recurring characters, were asked to take on the roles of some of the most popular characters ever to be committed to film. They were worldwide superstars and this documentary shows how it affected them and how they were able to grow despite the immense fame placed upon them.
Pottermore (HD, 1 min.) – A commercial for the online experience called 'Pottermore' with J.K. Rowling teasing fans about even more 'Potter'-filled fun.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 6 min.) – There are quite a few good scenes in this short six minutes. Scenes that would have added a bit more to the movie and could've been used for some kind of director's cut if possible. There's a scene that explains much more about where Hermione got clothes that looked like Bellatrix's. There's a scene that gives a better explanation about the mirror Harry has been carrying around all this time. Another extended scene with Aberforth that shows his deeper disdain he had for his brother. And a comical scene where the Syltherin students are locked in the Hogwarts dungeon.
A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe (HD, 53 min.) – This is one of the best special features in this set. Rowling and Radcliffe sit down with each other and candidly talk about their experiences with the story. Radcliffe asks her questions like what bits of the movies is she mad that they took stuff out of the books, and what stuff she was annoyed they added in. Radcliffe discusses his time working on the movies and how he was allergic to the Potter glasses at first. They talk about how the kids were miraculously acne free throughout the films, due mostly to great makeup artists. There is so much more talked about in this nearly hour-long sit down. It doesn't seem like much editing was done as they continuously talk over each other just like they're having a real honest discussion. It's quite revealing actually and allows you to get inside the head of Radcliffe and Rowling at the same time.
The Goblins of Gringotts (HD, 10 min.) – This is more, or less, a look at how the goblins for the film were designed and how they evolved from the very first movie up until now. They also profile the actor who plays Griphook and we get to see him getting his makeup applied.
The Women of 'Harry Potter' (HD, 22 min.) – Rowling takes point here and talks about the pride she has in her strong female characters which she created for her books. The actors are also interviewed and talk about their character's motivations and how they tried to do Rowling's story justice with their acting.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part - 2: Behind the Magic (HD, 47 Mins.) - This is an in depth behind the scenes look at the bigger action sequences and heavier visual effects sequences in the film with tons of interviews with the entire cast and crew. There is a lot of B-roll footage and behind the scenes takes here too. Everyone discusses their characters and working on the film in these certain scenes. You'll see a ton of green screen shots and on location shots too.
Hogwarts' Last Stand: Extended Version (HD, 31 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about staging and building the sets for the final battle at the school. There is a ton of B-roll footage and behind the scenes interviews and production footage that shows just how camera tricks were used. It's a lot of fun to see. A ton of makeup effects and visual effects are shown here and how the made them. Some of the dialogue and character traits are talked about here too.
The Great Hall of Hogwarts (HD, 4 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about the Great Hall of Hogwarts here. They discuss when they first saw it in the first film and now when it's all destroyed.
Ron and Hermione's Kiss (HD, 4 Mins.) - The cast talks about the growing romance between Ron and Hermione throughout all the films. The outtakes of them kissing is quite funny too, because they couldn't stop laughing.
That's a Wrap, Harry Potter (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew say goodbye to one another as the main actors wrap up their last day. There are some tears and laughs. A but emotional here.
Neville's Battle Makeup (HD, 4 Mins.) - Not just Neville, but you'll see most of the actors sitting in the makeup chair, getting bloody and bruised up for the final battle, along with some interviews with the cast and crew.
The Gringotts Disguises (HD, 4 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about playing one another in a certain scene in the film with emphasis on Hermione and Bellatrix. There is some rehearsal footage here too.
Harry's Death: The Courtyard Confrontation (HD, 10 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about shooting the courtyard scene where Voldemort gives his speech to everyone and Harry awakens and starts the final battle. Tons of behind the scenes footage here and we hear what most characters thought about the scene.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Quest (HD, 50 Mins.) - There are 16 different segments here that cover little details of the film. Some segments cover the relationships with the characters over the years to the actors laughing during takes. Some short fun segments here.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter (HD, 2 Mins.) - A promo for a WB studio tour in London.
Trailers (HD, 5 Mins.) - A couple of trailers for the film.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is an excellent end to an epic film franchise. The relationships, characters, and story all come full circle in what I'd call a masterpiece of high emotion, thrilling action, and state of the art visual effects. It's a fantastic film.
The new Ultra HD video and DTS:X audio presentations are top notch, and upgrades from the previous releases. Plus there are tons of extras, all of which are worth watching that give a ton of information and laughs about all of the films. This release comes Highly Recommended!
- Ultra HD/2 Blu-rays/Digital HD
- 2160p HEVC/H.265
- English DTS:X
- Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
- French: Dolby Digital 5.1
- English, Spanish, French
- Maximum Movie Mode
- Focus points
- Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 8: Growing Up
- Deleted Scenes
- A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe
- Behind the Scenes
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