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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
The only issue I had with this set, is when I opened it, one of the CDs had fallen out along with the booklet, and bent the pages a bit. Other than that, I'm very much impressed!

The sheet music is different for everyone; I got "Detonators". It has a 100% REAL autograph on it by Desplat! I honestly didn't catch that part when I ordered it, which makes this totally worth the money. (Not a big fan of the fact it's on glossy paper, but if it was on REAL sheet music, the signature would bleed and smear easily.)

I thought the actual printed vinyl would have been normal size, not the mini kind -- but it's wonderful nevertheless. Harry on one side, and the burning Hogwarts on the other <3

The film cells are FANTASTIC -- I've been stuck with cells that have sucked, but these are perfectly centered and cut. I had a cell of Voldemort holding onto Harry's face, and the second is Hermione putting up the wards in the forest with Harry kneeling next to Ron behind her.

I was a bit confused at first, seeing as the Harry and Voldy scene was NO WHERE in the first part of the movie...

But it's still awesome! :)
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2011
I love the music for the Harry Potter movies. I own all of the soundtracks and enjoy them all (for the most part). I still consider Prisoner of Azkaban to have the best score. I was hoping that John Williams would be able to return to finish the music that he originated, but that was not to be the case. Anybody would be better than Nicolas Hooper, who composed the bland music for the 5th and 6th movies. When I heard that Alexandre Desplat would be taking the reigns for this film (and Part 2), I was elated. He's one of the best non-John Williams composers working today. I previously enjoyed his score for The Golden Compass, which has a very similar tone to a Harry Potter film, so I was eagerly anticipating listening to his music for this one.

The music for this film is miles better than the music for the 4th, 5th, and 6th films. My favorite tracks include Obliviate, Snape to Malfoy Manor, Sky Battle, The Locket, Bathilda Bagshot, and The Deathly Hallows. Desplat does a good job balancing the music between the fast tracks for the action sequences (i.e. Sky Battle) and the slower, more subdued tracks (i.e. Ron's Speech).

There isn't a whole lot of continuity between this soundtrack and the previous films' soundtracks. Rarely is the "quintessential" Hedwig's Theme heard. This is fine with me. This film is much different than any of the previous Potter movies, so the music should be different as well, in my opinion. Desplat does a good job establishing new themes that are heard throughout the score. There are new themes for the death eaters, for Harry, Ron, and Hermione as a group, and for the Deathly Hallows.

Overall, I am very pleased with Desplat's score and I'm looking forward to hearing what he does with Part 2.
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38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
The conclusion of the Harry Potter saga is as much of a cinematic event as it was a literary one when J.K. Rowling's eagerly-awaited seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in July 2007 and broke a myriad of records for book sales. The success of the Harry Potter franchise is quite astonishing: it is reportedly responsible for almost single-handedly revitalizing the children's literature market, brought fantasy fiction out of geekdom and into the mainstream, and of course made Rowling herself a gazillionaire, thanks not only to the book sales but also to the spin off merchandise, theme park rides, and of course the movies and soundtracks based on her work.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh film in the series, is again directed by David Yates, and features Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as Harry, Hermione and Ron, the three protagonists of the saga. Picking up from the immediate aftermath of Dumbledore's death and Voldemort's rise to power at the end of the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows sees Harry, Hermione and Ron leaving Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to search for and destroy the remaining horcruxes: pieces of Voldemort's soul which were hidden inside everyday objects in an attempt to make himself immortal. With Voldemort having taken over Hogwarts and rekindled his reign of terror in the wizarding world, Harry and his friends essentially become fugitives, desperately trying to evade capture by Voldemort's agents. Eventually Harry learns of the existence of the `deathly hallows' of the title, a trio of exceptionally powerful magical objects which he believes will help swing the balance of power in his favor, and eventually defeat Voldemort once and for all. The film has been split into two parts, with Part II coming to theaters in the summer of 2011.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows boasts possibly the most impressive cast of British actors in any film in recent memory: alongside regulars Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Helena Bonham-Carter, John Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Gary Oldman and David Thewlis, the new cast also manages to add such luminaries as Rhys Ifans, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Ciaran Hinds and Bill Nighy. Impressive indeed. One person not returning, however, is composer Nicholas Hooper, who decided to not to take the opportunity to score the finale. His place at the podium is taken by French composer Alexandre Desplat, whose status as one of the most in-demand composers working in the film industry today has now been well and truly cemented.

First things's first: like Nick Hooper before him, and like Patrick Doyle before him, Desplat's score does not make any obvious references to thematic material from the previous scores, with the exception of some brief lip service to John Williams' famous theme, "Hedwig's Theme", paid in a couple of the album's cues. This will drive Williams fans insane, especially those who clamored for Williams to return to score the finale, but the point I made in my review of Hooper's score for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last summer is still relevant here: the Harry Potter of Book 7 is not the Harry Potter of Book 1. He isn't the wide eyed-innocent child at large in a new and fantastical world. He is a deeply troubled young adult, plagued by his past, surrounded by the death of his family and friends, weighed down by the pressures of an ancient prophecy, who must fight to the death to save the world which has embraced him as its savior. As such, it makes perfect sense that the flighty, whimsical nature of the first few scores has necessarily been supplanted by darker, more mature music. Owls, Quidditch games, and schoolyard rivalries are no longer Harry's mains concerns, and so the music Williams wrote to accompany these things is naturally less important to the story. This is a story - and a score - about danger, anguish, regret, and sacrifice, and Desplat's music inevitably reflects these things.

Desplat's music is fully orchestral and choral, performed with gusto by the London Symphony Orchestra and various choirs, alongside various specialist solo instruments ranging from the common (guitars, recorders) to the slightly unusual (a mandolin, a shakuhachi bamboo flute) to the downright peculiar, most notably a theorbo, which is a kind of a baroque long-necked lute. One thing I love about the score is that it is, in every way, a Desplat score: it features many of his personal stylistic trademarks, from the use of woodwinds as percussion, to the interpolation of a synth pulse to add more bass to certain sequences, the use of precise timpani rhythms, and specific phrasings in the string and brass writing which will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has followed Desplat's career. I am very pleased that he has not been forced to supplant his musical identity in order to fit the needs of the film, and has instead tweaked it in the right direction of his own accord, adding only the necessary amounts of magic to the mix.

The opening cue, "Obliviate", gradually builds out of a see-sawing string motif to present a noble new theme for strings and solo cello, before entering the first of several high-drama sequences in which the orchestra stretches its legs: "Snape to Malfoy Manor", despite clocking in at just under 2 minutes, presents a wonderful sense of darkness, foreboding and breathless energy. Different sections of the orchestra play off each other in bubbling counterpoint, underpinned by hooting bass clarinets, fluttering flutes, harp glissandi, almost subliminal gasps on the breathy shakuhachi, choral vocalizations, and a thrusting brass ostinato. It's all quite wonderful.

The film has a cool half-dozen knockout action sequences, beginning with the amazing "Sky Battle", and running through later cues such as the tumultuous "Death Eaters", the raucous "Fireplaces Escape", and the cacophonous "Destroying the Locket". Anyone familiar with Desplat's action music from scores such as Firewall, The Golden Compass and The Ghost Writer from earlier this year will be thrilled by the dynamite string runs which leap up and down scales with boundless energy, which this time around are accompanied by all manner of orchestral mayhem and choral accents. "Sky Battle" features a wonderful string phrase underneath the action which sounds like a deconstructed, slightly off-kilter version of Hedwig's theme, but which is quickly usurped by the vivacious, attention-grabbing orchestral performances that surround it. This cue, more than any other, should finally dispel the ludicrous myth that Desplat can only do pretty waltzes and can't write more forceful material.

"Ministry of Magic", "Detonators" and "The Locket" are a clever trio of pieces which underscore Harry's infiltration of the ministry to recover Regulus Black's missing locket from Dolores Umbridge. "Ministry of Magic" is all brusque business, a busy and self-important sounding piece which razzle-dazzles with blustery marches and percussion runs, but which masks a darker inner core. The hooting woodwinds in "Detonators" seem to have the same sense of twinkling tomfoolery that any self-respecting Weasley product would have, although the thunderous timpani hits and subsequent string-led lament hint at the inherent danger of the situation. "The Locket" itself revisits the slightly saccharine sound Hooper gave the Umbridge character in The Order of the Phoenix, although this time her true nature is subtly revealed by making her motif snaky, slithery, and more than a little deceitful.

The music for the sequence in which Harry and Hermione visit his childhood home in Godric's Hollow, which includes "The Exodus", "Godric's Hollow Graveyard" and "Bathilda Bagshot", is the closet the Potter music has come to all-out horror. "The Exodus" is a tormented piece for a detuned violin, ominous clarinet accents, and portentous string chords, emphasizing the danger about to overwhelm the friends. "Godric's Hollow Graveyard" is filled with a palpable sense of sadness as Harry finally visits his parents' grave: the solo cello motif and the mandolin accents combined with the warm, bittersweet string theme gives the whole sequence an attractive-yet-melancholy tone, while the piano echoes give the scene a cold, wintry overtone. Things come to a head in "Bathilda Bagshot", which layers tension upon tension upon tension, exacerbated by anxious blasts on the shakuhachi wood flute (one of James Horner's favorite colors), before exploding into a powerful sequence of tremendous orchestral savagery at the cue's end.

"Captured and Tortured" features some stark, unnerving synth elements and thunderous percussion writing, which pounds and pummels away before turning into another dark lament for brooding strings and wailing woodwinds. It eventually explodes into the score's final action sequence, "Rescuing Hermione", which is replete with more rapid-fire string runs and effortless energy.

At the other end of the scale, a warm and noble new brass theme for the Order of the Phoenix opens "Polyjuice Potion", before heading off into a series of light and whimsical sequences featuring prominent woodwinds and glittering chimes which retain a brief semblance of the magic and mischief of previous scores. It's the last time there will be any magic or mischief for a while. The only cue which comes close to returning to that style is "Lovegood", the cue for Harry's encounter with the duplicitous Xenophilius Lovegood, whose revelations about the nature of the Hallows set Harry on his quest. Lovegood's music is slightly peculiar and a little exotic, mixing all manner of shaking and rattling percussion, ragged bass flutes, and an uptempo main theme to illustrate an important, if a little deranged, character. It's slightly reminiscent of the music Desplat wrote for the equally offbeat Gyptians in The Golden Compass, but without their sense of fun and raucousness.

Of the other cues of note, "The Will" is a textural piece full of mystery and uncertainty which features an ethereal choir offset by warm guitar chords and nervously trilling flutes, fondly remembering Dumbledore's kindness, but tempering it with an unexpected sense of menace. Later, "Dobby" has his own little motif, a playful dance for mandolins, the aforementioned theorbo, and light percussion gongs which encapsulate his impish nature, and which builds up a surprising head of steam as it develops.

There are also several moments of great emotional pathos. "At the Burrow" has a beautiful sense of longing, especially in the moments when a solo horn takes center stage, and maintains a defiantly tragic feeling as the cue progresses, even when you think the strings are going to erupt into a large-scale romantic theme. The theme for "Harry and Ginny" is in no way straightforwardly romantic, touching instead on the sense of separation the pair feels when forced apart. Desplat's piano performances in this cue reinforce this notion by remaining slightly unresolved and out of step; pretty, but in no way happy.

The solo cello returns in the beautiful yet devastating "Ron Leaves", which is about as dark and emotionally powerful as Harry Potter music ever gets. Later, "Ron's Speech" revisits similar thematic material, but with a warmer, gentler aspect that speaks of fraternal friendship and resolve. The conclusive "Farewell to Dobby", with its sorrowfully tender cello performance, makes me salivate at the prospect of the music Desplat may write for the overwhelming and harrowing finale of Part II.

Possibly the only negative thing about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the lack of a single, identifying theme for the film in itself. Whereas Sorcerer's Stone had a multitude of themes, Chamber of Secrets had "Fawkes the Phoenix", Prisoner of Azkaban had "Window to the Past", Goblet of Fire had "Harry in Winter", and so on and so on, Deathly Hallows is a little on the anonymous side in terms of thematic memorability. Even Hedwig's Theme, the singular defining musical motif of the entire series, features briefly in just three cues: "Polyjuice Potion", "Sky Battle" and "The Will", despite Desplat's claim that he tried to incorporate the theme at regular intervals. Desplat's musical ideas are all excellent, but none of them ever rise to the fore in the way one might have expected: this is a score of very good underscore, but you're not going to hear it as a concert suite, and cinema-goers aren't going to leave the theater whistling the main theme.

This review of the soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is of the regular release, which features 26 cues and runs for a generous 73 minutes. In addition to this, there are two additional releases: a limited edition bonus disc box set which includes six additional music cues ("Voldemort", "Grimmauld Place", "The Dumbledores", "The Tale of the Three Brothers", "Bellatrix" and "My Love Is Always Here"), and a deluxe digital album of the soundtrack which will include three more tracks outside of the 26 original, although it is currently unclear whether these are three of the six from the collector's set.

So, I've given yet another Alexandre Desplat score a five-star review, which I have no doubt will lead some readers to accuse me of bias, or predictability, or whatever other derogatory term crosses their mind. I make no secret of the fact that I honestly believe Desplat to be the most exciting musical voice to emerge in film music since the turn of the millennium, and for me Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I just reinforces that view. Irrespective of any complaints about thematic consistency with other films in the series, or the lack of a prominent main theme in this score, I honestly feel that this score is one of Desplat's greatest achievements, and highlights everything I love about his work; the orchestral textures, the intricate use of unexpected instruments in unexpected settings, the crystal clarity of his orchestrations. But what this score has over others in his canon is emotion: unashamed, heart-on-sleeve emotion, which embraces the darkness of the story and runs with it, thrilling the listener with powerful action and forcing the listener to feel Harry's pain with equal skill. For me, this is unquestionably one of the best scores of 2010, and I hope beyond hope that Desplat's services are retained for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II next summer.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 16, 2010
I have been a great fan of Alexandre Desplat's film scores over the years, particularly those he composed for "Birth," "The Painted Veil," "The Golden Compass" and "Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium" (co-written with Aaron Zigman). They are all unique to the films for which they were written, and all expressive of a man who (like his "Harry Potter" predecessor, John Williams) has the heart and soul of a symphonic composer, one whose outlet happens to be the movie theater rather than the concert hall. As someone mildly obsessed with all things HP, I was elated to hear that he had been chosen to write the score for "Deathly Hallows." Hearing the finished product, I can only say that, miraculously, Desplat has outdone himself.

There hasn't been this rich and melodic a score for a Harry Potter film since "Prisoner of Azkaban"; honestly, it's been a long time since I've heard a film score this successful, period. It is remarkable what Desplat has achieved here, how perfectly he creates mood via musical texture, whether it be a lone piano, a swell of cellos, a distant choir or a somber, solo french horn. This is a man who not only knows how to compose, but, perhaps more importantly, how to orchestrate. (For the record, he is one of several on the film.)

I particularly love how the opening track sneaks up on us, and the gorgeous, sweeping melody that follows; the whimsy of "Polyjuice Potion"; the sly, insidious evil of "The Locket"; the heartbreak and anguish of "Ron Leaves"; the palpable regret of "Godric's Hollow Graveyard"; the emotional arc of "Hermione's Parents"; the heroics of "Destroying the Locket"; the eeriness of "The Deathly Hallows;" the pathos and nobility of "Farewell to Dobby." And I'm impressed with how often Desplat makes use of "Hedwig's Theme," both literally and in variation; it shows a genuine respect for the series' musical heritage.

I do wish that Desplat, in his theme for Dobby, had alluded to the charming one already established by Williams in the "Chamber of Secrets" score. And "Lovegood" is hardly the idiosyncratic and eccentric representation I would expect for that character. (The significance of the pan pipe escapes me.) Also, now and again (particularly in "Fireplace Escape" and "Captured and Tortured"), the music suffers from the typical pulsing monotony and punctuating brass that seems almost "de rigeur" when scoring action sequences these days. And from a producing point of view, the album itself ends rather anti-climatically, devoid of an end credit sequence. (Let's hope the film itself doesn't suffer similarly.) But these are insignificant quibbles.

This score is nothing short of a testament to Alexandre Desplat's genius, and it's a delight to read in the liner notes that director David Yates has asked him to return for "Deathly Hallows, Part II."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 29, 2011
The Harry Potter series has been interesting from a score perspective. The films have gone through different directors and with different directors come different composers. John Williams started this franchise many years ago and "Hedwig's Theme" has become a staple sound of the series and the character. Desplat becomes the 4th composer to take over the series following John Williams, Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper. Hooper faced harsh criticism with his scores but I always thought they were extremely good. Desplat is a fantastic composer and his style is very recognizable. So what does Desplat have in store?

This score is very very good. It is a very fresh approach from a different voice but befitting as a closing chapter to the series. Desplat's approach here is very somber and mellow. He doesn't have big melodies here We start light and get darker as we plunge into the belly of the whale. The score mostly stays bubbling under the surface with some incredible thematic work at play. A lot of people are saying that he is finally bringing back the series to the John Williams style. False! This score sounds nothing like John Williams and I don't know what they are talking about. Desplat has too much talent to be doing impersonations and what we get here is exactly how Desplat would score Harry Potter. He incorporates "Hedwig's Theme" very minimally giving you that subtle reminder. Otherwise the themes at play build and work to tell the story in a very lush orchestral fashion. Some moments reminded me of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button but orchestral instead of featuring solo instruments.

The only problem with the score is that it is in fact half a score. We do get a lot of music on the release, but with the film structured in two parts the score is as well. So there really isn't a climax or resolution here. I wish there was because it would have been a lot more memorable if it felt like it resolved. Look at how Howard Shore did Lord Of The Rings. Each score was a separate entity yet they still bridged the films together. Then again the films were structured as chapters instead of parts so maybe that allowed Shore to have each of his scores end with a period instead of an ellipses.

What we have here is a great start to what I'm sure will be an amazing resolution by Desplat next summer. Since we're only getting half the story it just feels like we're left hanging and when your trying to grasp onto emotional arcs it makes it hard for the score to be memorable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2011
I received my collectors edition a day ago.

The Box
Like the other reviews state, I too found that my bottom two discs had fallen out of their slots and had been shaking around during shipping. There were some very light scratches but nothing major that has inhibited playback. The initial box I thought would be a little more impressive material-wise but its just another cardboard box that could smash in easily so I could keep it out of reach of children or danger areas if you want to keep it nice. The graphic image of the box is pretty impressive though and worthy of Display in any Harry Potter collection. I actually have on display on top of my desk for lack of anywhere else to put it and it actually looks rather nice up there. The slots in the box where the CDs are is not a good long term storage place. I would highly recommend getting other CD cases to store the CDs and the DVD long term. The slots neither hold the discs well nor protect the scratchable surface. Also, there is no track listing included. Just the inside jacket booklet as a cover. I would copy the tracks listed in the product review if you intend to get this. Overall the box is aesthetically pleasing but not protective

The CDd and DVD
I found playback perfect. The music is amazing and the purchase is definitely worth it because the music on the second disc that wasn't included in the movie is amazing and adds a whole new dynamic to the story! It truly is a pity this music wasn't used in the film. You will not be dissapointed with the music in the slightest! Gaurantted!

The DVD is neat. You get to listen to the entire first CD in 5.1 surround sound and includes an interview with Alexandre Desplat. Though, if that's the only reason you'd want to by this set, I wouldn't because there is only one interview and it sin't very long. You get a wonderful glimpse into the creation of the music but nothing really in depth. I really enjoyed it.

Sheet Music
Yes, turns out every one gets the same sheet music, mine is also "The Detonators" and the signature is electronic, though is real in that it is Alexandre Desplat's signature in red on the glossy paper. I don't mind this at all in the slightest and found this rather satisfactory. The glossy paper is sturdier and will last longer without fading. I even got my violin out and messed around with the notes that were there. It was fun. :)

The Vinyl Disc
I think this is rather neat! I used to play vinyl when I was a kid but I no longer have a player so I don't know if it actually plays or if its for show (nor did I read enough of the reviews to find out). Either way, aesthetically or functionally I found this addition rather neat and am glad it was included!

The Poster
Whether or not no one has ever seen it I can't tell because I don't remember all the posters available but it is rather neat. Its not a big wall poster by any means but a smaller landscape poster. I don't mind at all. A poster is to be expected with any collector's item, at least for me, and like the one I received and have no complaints.

Film Cells
I definitely think this is VERY worth the purchase. How unique the cells are I'm unsure but the fact I have films cells is neat in its own right. I don't think I could succeed in trying to obtain films cells on my own with out this purchase. I did the same thing with Titanic, got the collectors edition and haven't regretted spending the extra money on either. My films cells are of Harry and Voldemort facing each other when Harry comes to die, which is obviously in part 2 of the movie.

Overall
I feel this a worthy purchase for the music and Harry Potter enthusiast. If you aren't as into it as to appreciate the simple fact of begin the owner of films cells, the vinyl disc, the copied sheet music, and fancy box, etc. and are only interested in the music, I would suggest just buying the soundtrack itself. I am happy with what I've received as i love music and anything extra I can get is well worth the trouble to get it. The only reason why it didn't get 5 stars and rather 4 is for the reason the CDs weren't protected, the box itself isn't long term protection worthy, nor was the simple and basic fact of a track listing included. I would suggest to Warner Brothers to improve that particular area with the next collector's edition. All in all, perfect for the collector of music and Harry Potter. :)
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2010
I need to start this review by saying that I do like the Harry Potter soundtrack and what Alexandre Desplat did with it.

The whole set is in an attractive box, that when opened up has a smaller box in it with a picture of Hogwarts burning. On this is a certificate of authenticity, informing me that I have the 192nd copy of 10000. The lid opens up, to show the actual contents.

The inside of the box has a picture of the forest in which Harry runs away from Snatchers. The CDs, DVD and booklet are put into holders here. Next to it, you can find the poster, autographed sheet music (a part of Detonators for me, with Alexandre Desplat's signature on it), the vinyl record and the film cells.

The poster is standard. I haven't got a chance to check the vinyl record out yet. But the CDs have the amazing score that Alexandre Desplat wrote for this film. There are also bonus tracks that weren't used in the film and were not even in the regular soundtrack release. The bonus tracks are good too. They include: Voldemort, Grimmauld Place, The Dumbledores, The Tale of the Three Brothers, Bellatrix, and My Love is Always Here. These bonus tracks fit in with the theme of other songs which were included in the movie and regular soundtrack release like Ron Leaves, and Lovegood.

I have already review the music on the regular soundtrack page, but here's a short review. The music really makes me remember the parts of the movie that they go with. Obliviate is a wonderful example of this. It is a much better tune to start the movie than Hedwig's Theme, because it really has an emotion of a dark thing coming up, and the fact that the trio is preparing to leave, especially with Hermione obliviating her parents. Polyjuice Potion, the first time Hedwig's Theme is featured, Lovegood and Detonators are more upbeat while there are also the sadder songs like Dobby and Ron Leaves, and fast paced action sequence tunes like Sky Battle, Fireplaces Escape, and Captured and Tortured. The music is very emotion-evoking.

This will make a wonderful gift to a Harry Potter fan, or a lover of soundtracks. It is a little expensive, but it was worth it for me.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2011
Why is there no Zero Stars option? I hate to be the voice of gloom, but this is a piece of junk.

First: The Content

You can be safely happy with the existing single-CD album. The 15 mins of bonus cues here are nice, but there's a reason they were left off the main album, aside from space considerations. They're the least interesting parts of an already subdued score and I honestly couldn't remember them even as I listened to them.

And while the 5.1 disc sounds a bit better than the CD, it's not an actual Audio DVD using the full disc, just a 700mb 5.1 video file, it seems. Unless you really want any of the various paper tchotchkes, there's nothing here worth the money.

Second: The Packaging

Simply the worst I've ever encountered for a CD. The three discs are slid, completely loose, into a cheap paper insert. Naturally, the 5.1 disc that I really cared about had come loose in shipping and arrived badly scratched. And the "Certificate of Authenticity" is slid in the other side of the paper insert, so if you insert it it'll scratch up the other discs. Terrible design.

The outer box itself is decent quality, but the stuff inside is all paper, not even cardboard, super-cheap, and the swag really is useless - sheet music with a fake scanned autograph, a film cell and an LP. The box is also, for no reason, the size of about ten LPs stacked on top of each other, so I don't have a shelf anywhere it would fit on.

I called the Amazon 800 number (which is nowhere on their website, but can be found by Googling) and arranged to send the entire useless set back for a full refund, at their expense as it had arrived damaged. It was pointless to ask for a replacement set, as numerous people here and at other sites have illustrated the discs would have arrived scratched again due to the incompetent packaging design by the record label.

I was so excited when this was announced, but that excitement was already tempered when I saw how little new material was in it. It was completely gone when I opened the box to find an expensive collection of scratched, useless junk.

This thing is a waste of money. Anyone else out there on the fence, save yourself now and cancel your order.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2011
I'll try to keep this short. I don't normally write reviews on Amazon, but I need to sing the praises of this soundtrack.

Yes, John Williams' score to the original Harry Potter was amazing, and set the bar very high (I mean, he's John friggin Williams.) Since Williams left the franchise, Harry Potter films have gone through quite a few composers (and directors, and actors, and set designs...) None of Williams' successors were terrible, but they never quite reached the level of quality that Williams set. Alexandre Desplat has reached that level, and without trying to emulate John Williams.

The score to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is magical, frightening, funny, beautiful, and original; Desplat is a masterful orchestrator. Williams original Potter theme is sprinkled into the score, but it is not at all intrusive (as it sometimes was in movies 4 through 6) and is intricately woven into Desplat's own orchestration style. If I didn't know any better, I'd assume Desplat himself had created the theme. Desplat has also created a beautiful 'secondary' theme, which truly rivals Williams' own. Where Williams' main theme is magical and mysterious, Desplat's theme is contemplative and somewhat melancholy.

Now, to top it off, the audio quality is amazing. I've never experienced audio so clean, warm, bright, dynamic, and full. My CD came with a code to download high quality waveform audio files. These files are HUGE (the mp3 album is 134.4 MB, and the waveform album is a whopping 782.6 MB) but the quality is like nothing I've ever dreamed. When combined with my Bose headset, I feel like I'm sitting in front of a live orchestra. I have now been spoiled by this quality, and I demand that all soundtracks include a redemption code for high-quality downloads!

Whether or not you are a Harry Potter fan, you will love this soundtrack.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2010
This set is really a rip on several levels. First off, the packaging, while it looks neat and pretty, is very poorly designed. When you open the case, odds are that your cds and dvd have fallen out of the sleeve since nothing is really holding them in, and when the set is closed, they're upside down. My dvd was flapping around inside the box and was quite scratched. The "Sheet Music" from the recording session is a photocopy with a pixelated signature on it. Also printed on basically a glossy paper, which recording session paper is not! I also received the Dementors track, so I'm sure anyone who buys this will get the same sheet music! The picture disc is cool, and of course the cds are cool too, but certainly NOT worth the money. This set should be at most a 40 dollar set! There is nothing inside it of any great value! I'll be returning mine and just ordering the regular cd.
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