“Hogwarts has changed!” It certainly has, Neville — along with everything else in the cinematic world of Harry Potter that began all those years ago in much more innocent school days. Directed by David Yates, Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (which grossed $1.3 billion worldwide, the third biggest box-office take of all time) is a dark and gloomy movie in both mood and look. Nonetheless, contrast in the Blu-ray picture is excellent, with inky blacks and a wide range of subtle tones. Everything is much more sharp and detailed than in previous Potter films, and it all comes across as incredibly hyper-real. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is restrained, clean, and open. Dialogue is always very clear, and the surround channels are saved for atmospherics and set pieces, as when you’re suddenly engulfed by a tide of rushing water or by walls of roaring flames. Instruments are nicely separated in Alexandre Desplat’s score, which is often surprisingly moving. Cueing up the extras, fans will likely head first for the hour-long chat between J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe.
Video: 1080p, 2.40:1. Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Extras: Maximum Movie Mode, a PIP track that includes 9 featurettes; a conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe; “The Women of Harry Potter,” “The Goblins of Gringotts,” and more featurettes; deleted scenes; UltraViolet Digital Copy for streaming/downloading. (Release date: Friday, Nov. 11.)
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