Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.4:1 1080p 3D transfer and is Region free.
As with Part 1, this disc is a 2D to 3D conversion, but unlike Part 1 that conversion is rather more accomplished and did it did have a theatrical release. However, a convert it is, and it contains all the short comings that are associated with such post production tinkering – principally there is no solidity to the layers and layers themselves have little or no distance between them. This is most telling with the characters, whose facial features are given a modicum of volume, but the effect does not convince and, as such, the brain sees through it so then the effect fails. Distances between simple two shots is very poorly seen; though some of the more thought out framing does represent something approaching a decent effect – extreme foreground holding the perspective as the frame recedes back (look at Ron collecting a Basilisk tooth for a reasonable shot.) Yet there are some decent enough effects, most of it involving CG, which naturally converts well, and few people, that the brain can immediately identify as ‘false’, such as the ‘roller-coaster’ ride through the tunnels underneath Gringotts, the subsequent dragon and the escape with it, the rolling ‘fire beast’ in the Room of Requirement, the Dementors circling Hogwarts, Voldemort’s (CG) army of followers besieging Hogwarts and their subsequent magical attack – all exhibit a good deal of 3D, at least it is noticeable and effective; but even this suffers from the darkness associated with the film’s look; if you thought Part 1 is dark you haven’t seen anything yet – literally. And with black comes a distinct shortening of the frame and the loss of the 3D illusion. Even when set up correctly this film is so dark that detail is lost though the added tint associated with the 3D glasses; it might not be much but when compounded with the poor 3D realisation, the scenes noted above notwithstanding, you are left with the impression that this is a film that should never have been earmarked for conversion, and one that looks far better in its 2D guise.
Thankfully the rest of the picture is awesome; detail is top notch with everything from skin and hair to clothing weaves, wood grain to brickwork and sand grains to fluffy clouds – all are perfectly seen and hold edges well into the frame.
Colours have once again been diluted to an inch of their lives, meaning the pallet does have a rather dower, drab grey feel to it; but where it is allowed to shine, such as the ‘fire beast’, the gold in Gringotts and the vibrancy of the wand duel colours, do really stand out; primaries still coming across bold and strong.
As mentioned above this is a dark film, brightness and contrast are set to give some near impenetrable blacks (with the usual 3D caveat), but lurking within the darkness is plenty of shadow detail when allowed to be seen (some of this can be lost with the 3D glasses, even with correct set up; not a fault with the transfer but of the technology) making the darkness almost palatable.
Digitally there were no compression problems, nor is there any posterization or edge enhancement and there remains a nice grain layer giving a very nice filmic sheen. Using passive technology I encountered no cross talk but it did show up a fair amount of aliasing, more so than on any other film I’ve seen, could be my player of course, but it’s worth noting all the same. Had this been a review of the 2D picture I’d happily have gone to a 9, but as we’re looking at the 3D I have to take into account the rather poor presentation and go with a 7, simply due to the lack of anything approaching real immersion – it's better than Part 1, but not by much.
Once again the sound more than makes up for any deficiencies in the picture with a loud, brash and immersive English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that will easily keep the neighbours awake. Right from the opening scene, with the opening of Dumbledore’s sarcophagus, the rolling thunder and the subsequent wand burst, you know this is going to be a powerful and aggressive surround track. Stereo effects come thick and fast, from front to back and left to right, always tightly constrained by the on screen action. The rear speakers are used to provide plenty of ambience from the aforementioned thunder to wind, rain, street noise and hushed whispers in the Great Hall, as well as other magics and curses from the furious battle that rages in the second half. Perhaps their greatest use is when Voldemort addresses the school, where his voice simply echoes around the room – was enough for me to shop Harry!
Dialogue is always clear and precise, sounds perfectly natural and given directionality when needed. Bass too is used to ground everything naturally as well as providing plenty of LF effects to keep the sub happy, indeed this plumbs the depths that few discs dare to tread. Alexandre Desplat’s awesome score is very well catered for with all the speakers piping in to ensure a flawless surround presentation. Fantastic stuff.
As with Part 1, this set comprises of four discs, the 3D and 2D Blu-rays, a Special features disc and a DVD/Digital copy – all the extras are housed on the 2D discs and are, in fact, exactly the same as the 2D set that was released at the same time; there is nothing but a bunch of trailers on the 3D disc.
- Maximum Movie Mode: Blowing Up Hogwarts (2.47.25, HD) – Is Warner’s take on the traditional Picture in Picture commentary, but is so much more; introduced and hosted by Matthew Lewis (Neville) who guides us through, with help from other cast members, productions crew and visual effects artists, the making of the film with the help of behind the scenes filming, pictures, artwork, set designs, interviews, special effects and other production information that leaves no stone unturned to describe how the film was put together. There are book readings, focus points (longer featurettes that further expand upon certain areas integrated into the run time) and deleted scenes put back into the run time. The whole thing runs longer than the film and is the one stop, information overload, to explain the making of the film. A nice little feature enables you to exit this mode but store the point at which you left thus you can go back at any time and resume where you left off.
- Focus Points (26.27, HD) – The same focus points that are incorporated in the MMM above, accessed individually or all together with the play all function; the titles describe what they are about and include - Aberforth Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows Costume Changes, Harry Returns to Hogwarts, The Hogwarts Shield, The Room of Requirement Set, The Fiery Escape, Neville's Stand and Molly and Bellatrix.
- Final Farewells from the cast (3.04, HD) – A moving farewell from the cast and crew of the film franchise as they say goodbye for the final time after twelve years of working together on the same project.
Special Features Disc
- A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe (53.03, HD) – Pretty much what it says on the tin; J.K. and Dan discuss the origins of the franchise in both book and filmic form, the alterations needed, the casting, ideas, themes, characters and plenty of other aspects in the often candid but very enjoyable chat that comes across as two friends talking rather than a staged interview, meaning that information flows both ways easily and naturally with plenty of anecdotes given to enthral and entertain as well as educate.
- When Harry left Hogworts (48.11, HD) – Acclaimed film maker Morgan Mathews was given unprecedented behind the scenes access to make his own take on a behind the scenes feature, and the result is a candid and faithful representation of the trials and tribulations of filming for 261 days on a major motion film. He talks to behind the scenes crew, such as chippies and plasterers, as well as all the major cast and crew; they are relaxed and discuss elements of trivia with the film maker revealing an often unseen pathos and enthusiasm from everyone associated with its making; it is quite an eye opener to see how security and set builders work; how the cast are treated and how simple things like the weather can grind everything to a halt. Without the gloss of any of the other ‘studio produced’ extra features, this is by far the best making of feature I’ve ever seen.
- The Goblins of Gringotts (10.56, HD) – A look at the goblins as they appear in the Harry Potter universe and how they have developed over the films, time is also spent with Warwick Davis as he has the makeup applied – difficult to take him seriously since his ‘Life’s too Short’ TV series ....
- The Women of Harry Potter (22.31, HD) – A closer examination of the strong women that J.K. populates her world with and a brief chat with the actresses that brought them to life on the big screen.
- Deleted Scenes (06.33, HD) – Eight scenes that can be watched individually or all together with the play all function; considering the length of the first part, these short cuts, which do add back a few nice character beats, could have remained, but it seems pacing was a major issue since part 1 was slow, part 2 had to be fast; a shame – but no doubt the Ultimate edition will re-instate them to a complete version at some stage.
- Warner Bros Studio Tour, London (01.33, HD) – A promo for the Studio Tour at Leavesden showing off the sets of the films.
- Pottermore (01.07, HD) – Another promo this time from J.K. as she demonstrates the new on-line reading experience website.
After twelve years and eight films the Harry Potter film franchise comes to a fitting conclusion with Dave Yates’ final contribution, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (in 3D). The film combines action aplenty with some lovely character moments allowing us to see into the minds of those who have long been misjudged and thus revealing a hitherto unseen bravery and camaraderie; it manages to change perceptions and enthral all in one. The climactic battle scenes do not disappoint and, as with earlier entries, it does not shy away from the grief experienced when a loved one is lost. Poignant and action filled the final Harry Potter gets the films right back on track after a couple of slightly shaky films to bring to a close, with empathy and courage, a fantasy adventure that has out shone any other in existence by its sheer number of devoted fans. Those same fans will be pleased that this film skilfully manages to contain much of the written word while still maintaining its filmic originality; it may not have the immediate accessibility of, say, film three, but when watched with Part 1 becomes a very cohesive whole and becomes all the better for it.
As a 3D Blu-ray package, Warner has, once again, put together a very well thought out Region free set. The 3D picture suffers from the usual problems associated a post convert, i.e. it is pretty flat throughout, though it does manage to contain a few decent enough looking effects, while the sound is simply wonderful. The rest of the set is the same as 2D Blu-ray that was released at the same time, with excellent picture and sound and a very well thought out and comprehensive extras package; this remains the way to watch the film.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £32.99
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