It seems a sin to speak ill of the final adventure of Harry Potter, so I can’t help but join the fold and elevate the final chapter to the same level of high praise as everyone else.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” is the example of a summer blockbuster: a grand story and performances to match the money behind it all.
Satisfying. That’s the best word to describe this grandiose end. The die hard “Potters” will of course find some disappointment (as I did, even if so brief), but the wizarding battle is chock full of witches, wizards, giants, werewolves, spiders, fighting statues, a dragon and everything one needs in the final hour of any battle between good and evil.
There’s no corny graphics here (i.e., “The Sorcerer’s Stone”), just the product of this year’s best special effects.
The film is largely one sensational battle, along with tying together many characters without dragging (like one amazing fantasy film is guilty of, with a 45-minute conclusion).
“Deathly Hallows, Part 1” had all the poetic moments, along with some rather wonderful character development between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), while “Part 2” focuses more on the final battle and on-screen farewells from so many familiar faces.
Adding to the body count of the first film, several more beloved characters pass away (along with a couple who don’t bite the wand in the book too).
Of course, the big three are the focus of the film, but some of the best moments belong to Neville (Matthew Lewis) and Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), rocking hard during the big showdown.
Everyone else says hi as we say bye to Hogwarts.
The performances from Radcliffe, Watson and Grint are top notch as usual. Ralph Fiennes puts some haunting finishing touches on his role as the fantastical world’s equivalent of Hitler, Lord Voldemort, or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Even Warwick Davis (Willow in “Willow”), an unsung hero of the franchise, makes waves as the goblin, Griphook, and Professor Flitwick.
Several return performances function through nostalgia — Gary Oldman as Serius Black and Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore — while others remind us why we loved them to begin with, such as Fred (James Phelps) and George Weasley (Oliver Phelps), Snape (Alan Rickman) and Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch).
It’s also worth noting how stellar Helena Bonham Carter is, and has been, as the wicked Bellatrix Lestrange.
We even get to see a new face, Ciarán Hinds as Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, and his brief cinematic moments are quite enjoyable.
How do you properly discuss an eight-part franchise that’s been around since 2001 and based on books first published in 1997?
For those of us who read every page of J.K. Rowling’s series and anticipated each film adaptation, with occasional disappointments (I’m talking to you, Chris Columbus), this is the final end…unless Rowling makes good on threats to continue the series in some form (at which point Warner Bros.) is sure to cash in on one of the most successful cinematic endeavors of the new millennium).
The “Harry Potter” series grew up with its fans.
The first few books were enjoyable reads, yet as the characters aged, they faced darker foes and more complex problems.
“Deathly Hallows, Part 2” is a far cry from the 11 year olds who were just learning to act in front of a camera.
Now in their 20s (playing 17 to 18 year olds), this is not a piece of children’s film or literature anymore.
There’s too much death, and the few laughs available don’t outweigh the visual darkness of the film or the wartime feel of Hogwarts as it remains in shambles.
Much like George Lucas’ original galactic trilogy, the final chapter (or half of a seventh book, if you will) is the adult conclusion of a childlike adventure, proving that “Harry Potter” truly is this generation’s “Star Wars” (especially since the new “Star Wars” trilogy underwhelmed so efficiently).
Like all great epics, it’s difficult to imagine where fantasy will go next.
This is “Lord of the Rings” all over again. Until then, this is one for the record books, both box office and critical.
Director David Yates made the “Potter” franchise something more when he took the reins in “Order of the Phoenix”, and he’s created the best film of the year.
Perhaps our naive friend, Oscar, will finally take Harry as seriously as his filmmakers have taken him.
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