This isn’t the end. Pop the film disc for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 into your DVD player and once past the obligatory copyright notice, first you will see an advert for the Lego games for years five to seven, and then the introductory video for Pottermore. So every time you’re reminded of tiny Harry, all wide eyes in Philosopher’s Stone, and start welling up a little at the idea that it’s finishing, you can always book your studio tour during a break in watching your Elder Wand DVD boxset and know that this franchise isn’t going anywhere.
But even while I am cynically half-expecting a reboot to be announced within a year, I was hard-pressed to stay completely dry-eyed while watching this two-disc package. We’ve reviewed the film itself pretty extensively so this post will focus on the special features. Like Part 1, the one difference between the Blu-ray and DVD is the Blu-ray version has Maximum Movie Mode, which interrupts your film-watching with extra behind-the-scenes information. It’s a shame there isn’t a more conventional commentary, which would be informative without being overly intrusive.
The Special Features disc is more satisfying, if not exactly overflowing with extras, and there are adverts scattered all throughout as if someone watching might actually be surprised that it was possible to get the other seven films on DVD and Blu-ray too. The Focus Points section contains nine behind the scenes featurettes (well, eight and a soppy farewell sequence) which provide interesting extra details on different aspects of the film, such as the Room of Requirement set, the Molly and Bellatrix fight and evolution of the costumes.
The most meaty feature is the 45 minute When Harry Left Hogwarts – a documentary with some behind the scenes coverage and a lot of banter and reflection on what Potter has meant to everyone. An air of melancholy colours all of their musings – Emma Thompson recommends therapy for the “kids”; Julie Walters declares the set as one of the least dysfunctional places they could have grown up on. Of Radcliffe, Grint and Watson, Emma is by far the most eloquent and thoughtful an interviewee, but all of the young adults speak about the pressure of being child stars and how it feels with the world waiting for them to screw up and what they have missed out on through not having a “normal” life – while all the time emphasising how happy they are and grateful for the opportunity. It’s also evident how much work the Harry Potter franchise has provided for people and I was left fretting about what the setbuilders and stunt people are going to do next. Stick with it through to the closing credits though, which might be my favourite part of the whole disc.
The Women of Harry Potter left me feeling similarly sad, even as Joanne Rowling speaks of being rightly proud of creating a wide range of well-rounded female characters. It’s the interviews with the dwarves in the main documentary and the additional The Goblins of Gringotts that provide a bit of relief from all the goodbyes and retrospection. This is partly down to getting to see Warwick Davis chat as himself and not as his Life’s Too Short character, but also because all of the actors playing goblins seem so good humoured and the excitement of Warwick Davis’ kids is very cute.
Apart from these features (and more adverts) there are eight deleted scenes, which are mostly small character moments that would have added a bit more emotion to the film’s existing action, including Tonks and Lupin reuniting on the Hogwarts’ battlements and a Ginny and Harry moment that I found more touching than any kiss they had in the films.
If you’re a fan, it’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t want this DVD in some form, whether it’s to join your existing seven others, or if you intend to buy all eight in one set. Although then you have to choose between a no-frills version, or a special numbered edition, or whether to hold on for a year if you believe the rumours of the “Ultimate” boxset, expected to come out at the end of 2012. (I told you the franchise wasn’t going anywhere).
And if you haven’t followed these films from Philosopher’s Stone to Deathly Hallows, I have no idea why you’re still reading this. You definitely don’t need me to tell you this isn’t the purchase for you.