Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith
Warner Bros. | 2011 | 130 min | Rated PG-13 | Released Jul 15, 2011 (Theaters)
The Film 4.5/5
I'm a fan of the Harry Potter franchise. I have read all of the books and own the first seven movies. My favorite in the series is the Prisoner of Azkaban, while I rate Deathly Hallows Part 1 as the weakest entry.
It seems that Part 1 moves slowly and contains too many insignificant scenes. In contrast, this final installment feels a little rushed. It runs about two hours before the credits start to roll and tries to cram in the final showdown, while tying up as many loose ends as possible. Some of the threads are resolved using rather clumsy exposition and deserved more screen time. My final quibble involves the use of quick cuts to increase the sense of action. The story was good enough to do that on its own and I didn't feel that it was necessary to turn some of the scenes into something resembling Bourne.
Although the movie isn't perfect, it's still a fine way to end a thoroughly enjoyable franchise.
I can't imagine that this final entry will be seen by many people who avoided the first seven movies, and that's a good thing. The story picks up right where Part 1 ended and introduces us to many of the characters from the first seven movies. It wouldn't have much impact as a standalone movie and it's not supposed to. I'm interested in seeing the two final parts together to see whether Part 1 works better. In fact, I'll watch all eight movies when the final Blu-ray is released.
The story follows Harry, Ron and Hermione in their search for the remaining horcruxes. The first hunt is a spectacular affair which is heavy on the special effects and action. I'm aware that many viewers will not have read the books, so I'm not going to spoil anything. If you read the final book, you'll be aware of which sequence I'm referring to.
For anyone who complained about the absence of scenes involving Hogwarts in Part 1, much of the action takes place at the school in this concluding part. What struck me is how different Hogwarts looked when we were first introduced to the world of Harry Potter. Gone are the vibrant colors and whimsical interactions with ghosts or paintings. Instead, be prepared to enter a dark setting. I mean that literally as the setting is extremely dim for about 95 percent of the movie; think Gotham City for a comparison.
Another thing that I noticed is how much the acting has improved. The main characters were around 11 years old when the franchise was born, so they are about 21 now. Radcliffe held his own in scenes involving some of the best British character actors of their generation. Watson and Grint played their parts well, and it's a tribute to the original casting that the franchise has developed as well as it has.
It should be noted how important some of the supporting actors are to the success of the franchise. Can you imagine anyone other than Alan Rickman as Snape? His story is one of the most interesting in the series and sees a fitting conclusion. I'm also fond of Maggie Smith's portrayal of McGonagall and love her role in the final installment. You'll see actors that have appeared infrequently given a little recognition, and they deserve it.
I watched the movie with a large audience made up of children and adults into their sixties. Although the sense of evil was always present and the setting was dark, the audience found plenty of scenes worthy of laughter. It's a truly entertaining movie.
The movie might have improved if 30 minutes were added so that everything felt less rushed, but it could have affected the tension if we were given more chances to breathe. The sense of scale reminded me of some of the battles seen in Lord of the Rings. Replace Voldemort's minions with orcs, and there were quite a few similarities.
Fans of the Harry Potter franchise, and I am among them, will be pleased with the way everything is wrapped up. After a disappointment in Part 1, the conclusion was worthy of the story created in the first seven movies. To see who lives, who dies, and what happens to the survivors, you'll have to check it out for yourself. I thoroughly recommend the experience.
The Blu-ray release should be spectacular, despite the grim setting. The explosions and battle scenes will rock your home theater.
on October 20, 2011
I found that this movie followed the book better then some of the previous movies. There are many details included in the movie that are in the story. Overall, the movie is enjoyable. I did feel that more emphasis on the middle of the book was needed, rather then focusing so much on the end. The ending of the movie was sad and you can feel the emotion of the whole series ending. While, I felt the "20 years later" part of the movie at the end was a bit silly in that the characters really didn't look 20 years older, it did not detract from the whole movie. It was a fantastic way to end the Harry Potter series.
on November 11, 2011
Having read all the books and seen all the movies, I'd say this one is the most emotionally satisfying of the lot. I can't say how well it follows all the details of the novel as I haven't read it in awhile but for entertainment value it was great. I was left feeling satisfied that the ride had all been worthwhile and it stayed true to the themes: what's right isn't always the easiest path, good will triumph over evil, self sacrifice is necessary and will be rewarded...etc. Some great moments worthy of a cheer and a tear.
on October 9, 2011
This movie is a great films for anyone who loved the story of Harry Potter. If you loved the movies and/or the books you will like this movie. They writers didn't change must of the story from the books which make it even better then some of the other Harry Potter series movies. It is a great movie for people who love fantasy, action, wizardry, and adventure. Even if you do have some slow part of the movie they are needed to make the suspenseful part more exciting. This movie is a great end to the Harry Potter series of book and movies.
on March 23, 2012
Superbe film pour finir cette grande aventure. Qualité image et audio 10/10 sur Blu-Ray. Dommage que la version 3D ne soit pas à la hauteur de nos attentes par contre.
This is the 8th. and final film of the Harry Potter series, breaking up the last book written by J.K. Rowling into two films.
The three friends unite like never before, Harry Potter discovers even more about his strengths and both friendly and romantic love grows... I do wish, though, that they reserved more space (i.e. time) for the romantic love between Harry and Jenny (Genni?) as well as between Hermione and Ron. But the powerful scenes get their power partly from the imagery and cinematography, and partly from the very good acting which has ALWAYS characterized the Harry Potter series. In fact, right from the first movie, when all the main characters were so young as actors, the acting has been truly top notch.
However, oddly enough, I found this movie a bit rushed in trying to tell it's story and get to the end, as if the producers were pressuring the director and writer a little bit, not to make it too long, lest it cost too much! LOL! I found Deathly Hallows, Part 1, a much more powerful and better-managed movie in the way it told the story without rushing.
Overall, though, it is a very satisfying and symbolically significant conclusion to a film series which slowly evolved into a beautifully recounted, filmed and acted EPIC!
And they saved the absolute best for last. Times two.
My long held pet peeve that the Harry Potter movies were being too crunched for time, causing favourite moments to be truncated or exorcised completely. While they got better with handling and translating the material as the films progressed, the natural story, characters, and flow of the Harry Potter universe is much better suited to this dual movie treatment. Still holding out for a perfect world where it all would have been a television series. But back to our shared reality. And for the sake of clarity and time, I shall be taking them on as a whole unit here.
With the freedom of movement inherent in these two films, we get the truest journey of Harry yet. Starting at the beginning, with Harry departing the Dursleys, and seeing his heartbreak over the first home he has ever remembered. Moving onto the escape plan, followed by J.K. pummeling us with a terrifying battle with deadly consequences, we see the true cost of this war. Beloved friends die. Injuries befall the innocent. Distrust infiltrates ranks. Healing occurs from the impending wedding at The Burrow. Love heals hurt. The bliss is short lived, as Voldemort finally wins and the Hogwarts Three embark on a life on the run.
All the plot set-up in the first part makes way for the emotional core of this second part. Harry and Hermione and Ron have issue and thoughts that demand to be sorted, dealt with, and expelled. And this is the wise place that J.K. has constructed to facilitate this. Stresses and emotions are pushed and tested, starting at Sirius's place and continuing unabated when they are wandering endlessly in the woods. Fractures wedged to the surface by Voldemort split them up in a scene so harrowing it feels like a limb has been unceremoniously shedded. The anger caused by Ron is temporarily alleviated by a jig Harry initiates with Hermione, showing that the magic of dance can bring laughter back. Even if only for a moment. These friends have had their quarrels and petty disputes, but this time of disarray will eventually strengthen them. As Dumbledore knew they would.
Side trips for the locket, with a half crazed, half horrific, look inside the Ministry of Magic make up one action set piece here, while an abduction to dark and gloomy Malfoy Manor brackets as another action segment. The cuteness of Dobby meeting kindred spirit Luna is inspired, but this oasis of perfection is interrupted by Hermione's torture. We never saw what was done to her in the book. But here we see the filthy racial word sliced into her flesh forever. I cringe, and still do to this day, at that evil.
And now we enter the much anticipated breaking point for this first part. I steered myself free and clear of any hints or clues of what dramatic event would provide the emotional impact for this ending. But with the escape from Malfoy Manor, I guessed the death of Dobby being the moment. All the pain and hurt this caused in the book fills these scenes. Dobby dies in Harry's arms. A friend who saved a friend. And vice versa. The littlest casualty of this war has been exacted. We feel for Harry. This never should have happened.
The next part of Deathly Hallows picks up with Dobby being mourned. And rightfully so. It would have been nice if the full funeral showcased in the book was utilized here, to properly pay tribute to Dobby, but for some reason this was not done. We next see the Gringotts affair, which never caught my attention, but was adequately addressed here. The real meat of this movie is the infamous The Battle Of Hogwarts, beautifully written and choreographed in the book, and brought to terrifying life on the screen. Neville shows his mettle, fulfilling the promise I saw in him right from Philosopher's Stone. Neville really could have done it in four books. With smelling hearts we see the DA and the Order uniting behind Harry in a truly inspirational show of support. Harry earned their loyalty through friendship. Voldemort steals loyalty through fear. The differences are even more marked here. Another reason Harry will win in the end.
The emotional whammy from the Pensieve with Harry facing his mortality is immense. Having so much of his life turned sideways, with the realization of Snape's true self, and the stunning surprise of Dumbledore's duplicity, it is a wonder Harry holds it together. But thankfully he gets strength with the Resurrection Stone, providing us with a touching moment of love. Hands up all those who cried. I know I did.
After some last minute explanations, we have the beautiful speech by Neville to rally the troops and speak the truth. Invented by the movie to make up for the lack of previous fantastic Neville deeds being explored onscreen, this is the perfect spot to launch the final bone crunching battle. Calling Voldemort Tom all along this lopsided fight was a great way for Harry to put this erstwhile Lord in his place. He is nothing but a little boy with delusions of grandeur bullying his way through life. And Harry calls him on it. How much has changed since the ending of Goblet. Harry wins, as was preordained by the love he surrounds himself with. Tom dies because of the hate he enthralls himself with. Simple emotions provides the solution here. As it should be.
With the fadeout on the decimated bridge, we depart the Hogwarts Three in this timeline. Just like the wonderful book, the joys of this glimpse forward are so tangible. We see all is right and true and loving with Harry. A happy ending for all. Thank you J.K. It was a journey of love.
on January 2, 2012
It was pretty good, I guess. It was very nice to look at. It wasn't stupid (like #1 and #4). It didn't drop the ball, but it was just perfunctory (perhaps finales are just hard to do, carrying all that weight of expectation). Save for one really nice scene that explains Snape's role in the whole thing (actually, partially explains'it left with me with a few questions that sent me to Wikipedia to sort out), it really just carried out its function of being the final battle between Voldemort and Harry. The real problem, I think, with the series is that, as weak a hero as Potter is (he's really quite bland, and we never really get the sense that he's growing in power, like, say Luke Skywalker), the villain, Voldemort, is weaker. He's just not very interesting, and other than being powerful, I never got a sense why anyone chose to follow him. There's an especial contrast with the few flashbacks we get of the young V, Tom Riddle, when he's handsome, seductive, and slickly evil. But as a reincarnated whatever, he just seems to scream a lot.
All that aside, what the series really 'suffers' from is one excellent entry ' the sixth film, 'Half-Blood Prince' (I really feel 'Prisoner of Azkaban' is a standout as well, as a wonderful film to look at'but it has too many plot/story problems to be truly great). The sixth film is a truly wonderful bit of filmmaking. Ultimately, the final 2 installments look almost as nice (Yates is a pretty good director, when it comes to visuals), but they don't hold up storywise. Perhaps that's Rowling's fault (or are these holes filled in the books?) Ultimately, the films should stand on their own.
Ultimately, the series works for me, but perhaps more in the way that James Bond does. There are very few very good James Bond films. Yet, I am kind of a sucker for them all. There's something I like about the Potter franchise too, despite some lack of execution. And I do find them entertaining. Now that I have them all, I have it in mind to watch the final 4 films in quick succession ' those are all helmed by Yates and contain the (hor)crux of the overall saga.
on July 8, 2014
No new school season's at Hogwarts, this movie takes us out of the usual format and gets ready for the battle for Hogwarts and the wizarding world. Visually this is beautiful. However, the lead up and actual battle did seem somewhat dragged out. We see interesting things from Nevil, Snape, and from Draco. There are some touching moments and as in any war some losses. This movie takes us through the final battle and shows us the future. Sums everything up decently, not leaving any unanswered questions. Viewers will be left satisfied and fulfilled by the end.
on December 28, 2012
I give this full marks just because I'm glad to now have the complete set! Its not my favorite of all the Harry Potters' but there are many reasons this movie can also stand on its own, like the incredible scene where they escape out of Gringotts riding the pale, near- blind dragon. This scene makes me cheer because once again Harry Potter and freinds make another narrow escape while also freeing the poor chained-up dragon.