Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

PhotobucketThe Harry Potter saga culminates in this final chapter to the entire series that began a decade ago. Our young wizard continues in his attempt to annihilate Lord Voldemort once and for all. He must achieve this by finding and destroying the remainder of his Horcruxes, magical objects that contain a fragment of an individual’s soul which allow said individual to gain immortality. But honestly, if you don’t even know what a Horcrux is, subtract 1/2 star from my rating. The script assumes, like all the others, a working knowledge of Harry Potter’s universe and a lack of awareness will be most frustrating for the viewer.

The adventure plays out as a sequence of episodes in which actors discuss at length what they’re going to do, followed by a visually stunning display that shows them doing it. For example, early on, we are treated to a lengthy discussion with regards to finding more Horcruxes. Harry speaks with Griphook the Goblin about breaking into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, as he believes one of them is hidden there. Once inside the bank, the journey toward her vault is presented like a roller coaster ride at Disneyland. It serves no purpose, but it’s one of the many special effects extravaganzas throughout. These verbose monologues that proceed the action really aren’t anything new. They have always been, for better or worse, a remarkably consistent feature in these pictures. Comprehension of jargon and familiarity with many characters is required. The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 does not stand on its own, but if you have seen the rest and especially if you have read the books, this conclusion is most satisfying.

Despite the faithful adaptation, the narrative is a little inept at times. You could blame this on limitations of the original novel, but an interpretation has the capacity to improve upon the source. I will be purposefully ambiguous so as not to reveal spoilers. At one point, Harry enters the Headmaster’s office at Hogwarts. There he uses the Pensieve, a shallow stone basin to review memories that Professor Snape has left him. In the ensuing spectacle, a ton of secrets emerge in sort of an awkward, we need to tell you all this information really quickly so we can wrap up the movie, kind of way. As the story proceeds to its inevitable finish, some major events likewise occur in a surprisingly hasty, anticlimactic fashion.  But the most misleading plot point sets up a particularly shocking revelation concerning the destruction of a Horcrux, only to dishonestly go back on that development with a cheat. Despite these issues, this installment is quite possibly the BEST of the complete series. At the very least, it’s the finest since The Prisoner of Azkaban.

The ending has a genuine feeling of poignancy. The camaraderie between Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger is particularly engaging this time around. We’ve watched our fearless trio through 7 films before this entry, so their friendship gives the drama a lot of heart. Actor Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape is rather superb as well. His murderous motive toward Professor Dumbledore is fully explained and gives further depth to his character. A powerful finale promises to effectively tie up loose ends to close the saga. It should be a culmination of everything prior. In that sense, this delivers. Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows is a fitting end to the Harry Potter epic and a touching epilogue to one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.

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9 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

  1. It’s definitely a bittersweet ending to such a beloved series & despite never having read the books, the story & it’s characters have nonetheless made their mark on me. I agree that many of the revelations, plot points & emotional moments were a bit rushed to wrap things up, but it was still a solid film worth seeing again. The geek in me would like for there to be an extended version released on DVD, the same way the Lord of the Ring series was. Of course this would mean me having to buy the entire series over again, but I’m sure I can live with the expense.

    • I haven’t read any of the books either and I’ve always resented how these films assume we know every character name they bring up, details of what happened before and the complicated lexicon of Harry Potter’s world. These movies are essentially made for people who are fans of Harry Potter, but not necessarily fans of movies. I have never given any one of these entries more than 3 ½ stars, which I still consider to be a very good rating. But they fail to achieve that level of greatness a series like The Lord of the Rings did, for example. With that said, I found Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to be an excellent episode in the franchise. I’d have to re-watch The Prisoner of Azkaban again, but I think I liked this as much, maybe more.

      • I didn’t have that problem, but I can see how it might get confusing. You do need to have seen the previous films to be up on all the Potter jargon. Great review by the way 🙂

    • Thanks Rochelle. I’ve seen all the films, so I didn’t have that problem this time. It was more a comment on the entire series. I believe these movies generate such fervent loyalty among fans (lining up days beforehand, dressing up like the characters) because a devoted reader can appreciate these stories more than the casual moviegoer. It’s almost like club that you must study hard to get into.

  2. This is the first time I didn’t get confused on, who was who. This, for me, was the best of them all. Again, the special effects were awesome. I agree with Mark, they kind of wrapped up a lot, when Harry dipped his head in the water. We sure learned a lot there. It was a great finale. Mark your reviews keep getting better and better.

    • True, this was less confusing that Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The mission was relatively simple. Find Horcruxes. Kill Voldemort. I appreciated the nod to traditional storytelling (and the compliment on my review).

  3. Nice review, Mark. I agree with a lot of the points you make. I have a love/hate relationship with this last film but had a lot of fun watching it.

  4. Mark,
    Are you a fan of the Harry Potter saga? I think seeing your 3 1/2-star review hints that you possibly aren’t so much. On Flixster, I gave it five stars (and on my blog, my equivalent A+), but I am a die-hard fan (and I have been for quite a long time) so I guess there are differences between the two views.

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