Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
PLOT: Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are back for this final installment of the HARRY POTTER franchise, in which Harry finally has one last showdown with his long-time nemesis, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2, picks up right where the last film left off, with Harry mourning the death of the beloved house elf, Dobby, who died saving his life. Within minutes, Harry, Ron and Hermione are trying to track down the final Horcruxes, which will allow Potter to vanquish Voldemort (played with downright iconic malice by Ralph Fiennes) once and for all.
While DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 was a very solid movie, some criticized it for being a little slow, with the plot feeling a tad stretched out in order to separate the lengthy book into two films. By comparison, PART 2 is paced like lightening. Within a half hour, weíre plunged right into the Battle for Hogwarts, so the film canít be accused of wasting any time.
At 130 minutes, with credits, DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 is the shortest film of the franchise, and also the most action-heavy, with it being almost wall-to-wall in action. Itís certainly the most exciting and darkest of the series so far, handily earning the PG-13 rating the series has matured into. This increasingly dark streak is probably my favorite thing about the direction the last few films have taken under director David Yates. It makes sense though, as just like the star trio, the audiences have grown up since the first film came out a full ten years ago. While I never read the books (I maintain that Iím a decade too old to have really gotten into the series), for a generation of fans, this is a seminal series, and with DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2, it ends on a high note.
Iím assuming that a lot of readers have read the books, but if not, Iíll try to keep this spoiler free. Suffice to say, the Battle For Hogwarts carries a lot of weight, and a lot of beloved characters, including many students (who are after all- children), donít survive it. Yates makes the battle very gritty, with a surprising amount of gore, and very real stakes evident throughout. For my money, he nailed it.
Just as important are all the young actors who, without exception, are excellent. In past reviews of the series, Iíve raved about how Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint have grown into wonderful actors, but here- even some of the bit players get their moment in the sun. This is particularly true for fan-favorite Neville Longbottom, played by Matthew Lewis- who had the audience I saw this with erupt into cheers more than a few times.
That said, my favorite moment of the film is the great showdown between Molly Weasley (Julie Walters), and Bellatrix Lestrange, played with wicked relish by the terrific Helena Bonham Carter. For anyone whoís read the books, you wonít be surprised that their brief, but great battle rocked the house.
However, I have one problem with THE DEATHLY HALLOWS as a whole. As good as both films are, I really feel that, as a film, the decision should never have been made to split them in two. I can certainly see why they did it, as not only would keeping chunks of the book that would have been cut, please the hardcore fans- but financially, itís a brilliant move. The last one made a billion dollars worldwide, and this will do AT LEAST the same. Why have one billion dollar film when you can have two?
However, splitting them up keeps the final installment from having the punch it should have had, as we jump right into the action. Granted, the last film had MORE than enough character development, but unless you watch both films back to back, PART 2 feels a bit like walking into an epic thatís half over. If it had been one extremely disciplined three-hour-plus films, DEATHLY HALLOWS might have been some kind of genre masterpiece. Rather, as they are, the films are very good, rather than being as transcendent as they could have been.
Still, I think this is an argument that will carry more weight with the non-Potter devotees like myself. Regardless of whether you worship the series or not, DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2 is a great send off, and a fitting final chapter to a series I initially dismissed, but later surprised me by becoming something that feels essential. There arenít many franchises that have been as consistent. On the whole, HARRY POTTER hass been a great series of films, and a major accomplishment for all involved.
|Extra Tidbit:||The 3D is quite bad though. Yates's dark take and Eduardo Serra's cinematography really don't go well with 3D. The visuals are mangled- and if at all possible, this is REALLY one to see in 2D. Cheaper, and in this case- better.|