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Published: Thursday, 11/10/2011

Final 'Harry Potter' disc hits shelves Friday

BY RICH HELDENFELS
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL
From left, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe are shown in a scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." From left, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe are shown in a scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Enlarge

For some of us, Friday will be Nigel Tufnel Day, since 11-11-11 seems a perfect time to honor the Spinal Tap guitarist famous for having amps that went to 11.

But for far more people, Friday will be Harry Potter Day.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2, the eighth and final film in the series of screen adaptations of J.K. Rowling's novels, will make its way to video Friday.

That same day, Warner Home Video will release a set of all eight Potter films, although it appears that will be a bare-bones set of the movies without the extensive extras that have accompanied some individual releases.

Deathly Hallows 2 will be offered as a single, standard DVD ($28.98) and in a combo pack with the high-definition Blu-ray, the standard DVD, and a digital copy ($35.99). There also will be various gift-set packages, including one with both of the Deathly Hallows films in a collectible case ($44.99).

Extras on the single DVD will include deleted scenes. The Blu-ray will add a conversation with Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry in the films; a piece on the movie's goblins, from casting through makeup; a making-of piece; and a look at the women of Harry Potter.

As I said when the movie hit theaters, it does exactly what fans of the books should expect. It offers a respectful and precise rendering of the last part of the final novel, right down to the book's coda. It has some marvelous performances, particularly by Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, and impressive, effects-laden sequences.

But the movie suffers at times from flaws in Rowling's book, notably a long, talky stretch late in the film. There are a couple of romantic cliches that break the rhythm of grander moments -- as if to say that disaster and carnage are bound to make adolescents excited in other ways. As much as I loved parts of it, at the end of Deathly Hallows 2 I felt more respect than exhilaration; while the movie ably replicates the book, it does not quite transcend it.

The complete movie collection, meanwhile, will be on standard DVD ($98.92) and Blu-ray ($139.99). And, as if Potter fans were not devoted enough already, Warner has tried to intensify interest by saying that "new shipments of all eight Harry Potter films on Blu-ray and DVD will cease on Dec. 29." But that might not mean this is the last time the films will be on video.

The Digital Bits Web site has reported that Warner "is planning a massive Complete Harry Potter re-issue in late 2012, and is trying to pump up demand for it." The 2012 set apparently will add bunches of extras. But, as Digital Bits said, "If you're among those few who haven't already purchased Potter on BD or DVD, and you want to dive in sooner rather than later, act before 12/29 or put your plans on hold for a year."

Other upcoming box sets include a repackaging of HBO's epic World War II dramas Band of Brothers and The Pacific in a single package adding a new documentary, He Has Seen War, featuring the real-life veteran survivors from the military teams portrayed in the two productions. It will retail for $159.98 on standard DVD and $199.99 on Blu-ray.

Then there is Mr. Magoo -- The Television Collection (1960-1977) (Shout! Factory, $79.97 standard DVD), 11 discs of animated series episodes and specials starring the nearsighted Magoo. It does not include his 1962 Christmas special, which is available separately.

On the Blu-ray side of things, new offerings include Blue Velvet (Fox, $24.99), David Lynch's eerie drama, with 50 minutes of never-before-seen footage as an extra, and the classic revisionist Western Little Big Man (CBS/Paramount, $24.99), which is also being reissued on DVD ($14.99).

Down video road: All 218 episodes of Smallville arrive in a complete-series DVD box on Nov. 29, the same day that the final season is released in a single-season set ... Paramount will re-release Tom Cruise's three Mission Impossible movies in new DVD and Blu-ray "extreme trilogy" collections on Dec. 6, in anticipation of the release of the fourth film in theaters. That will follow by a week the release of the 1988 TV revival of Mission: Impossible on DVD.



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