Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part Two – DVD Review

Boy wizard bids bye bye

A mucky-faced Daniel Radcliffe.

Daniel just couldn't resist splashing in dirty puddles in-between takes.

Release date: 2 December 2011
2011 * 12 * 130 minutes * £24.99 (DVD)/£28.99 (Triple-Play Blu-ray)/£32.99 (Blu-ray 3D)
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman

For many Potter fans, the eight films that brought JK Rowling’s boy wizard to the big screen have been every bit as emotional and resonant as the books ever were. As the PR machine took great pains to remind us, we’ve watched Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow up in front of our eyes. We’re so familiar with the trio, who began as wide-eyed innocents and are now awfully down-to-earth multi-millionaires, that it seems only right that the focus of this final instalment is their friendship, their bond, their journey.

Except, of course, it isn’t; while the Harry-Hermione-Ron story is central to the series, it’s not the whole story. Deathly Hallows Part Two is an entirely fitting bookend to the franchise, in that it encapsulates everything that’s great – and grating – about the series. It gets a lot of things right: from the first frame, it has a sense of urgency that was lacking in Part One; the break-in and subsequent dragon-back escape from Gringotts is spectacular; and as Hogwarts prepares for battle the hairs on the back of your neck will rise. It nails the ominous, end-of-days feel perfectly, looks stunning and wraps up Harry’s story with a flourish.

Yet while the cash lavished on production is much in evidence, in the end the climactic Battle Of Hogwarts is nowhere near as exhilarating as Rowling’s written take on it. The deaths that make Harry’s ultimate victory such a bitter and believable one barely register. Key moments are rushed or brushed aside, in favour of keeping the focus squarely on Harry and his two besties. Is Deathly Hallows Part Two entertaining? Yes, undoubtedly, but it falls some way short of perfect. Lacking the feeling of satisfying closure that came with turning the final pages of the book, it proves once and for all that it’s not the size of the wand but how you wave it that counts.

Extras:

The DVD (rated) includes three documentaries: end-of-an-era piece “When Harry Left Hogwarts” (46 minutes), the lady-lionising “Women Of Harry Potter” (21 minutes), and make-up Making Of “The Goblins Of Gringotts” (10 minutes), plus eight deleted scenes and a promo for the studio tour. The Blu-ray adds a Maximum Movie Mode hosted by Matthew Long (Neville Longbottom) and a 50-minute conversation between Rowling and Radcliffe.

Rob Power

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