Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love. “

-Albus Dumbledore 

After years of waiting the epic conclusion of the tale of Harry Potter ends on the big screen. For many people this will mean saying goodbye to a childhood friend and for others it will simply mean the end of a series that has kept them entertained for nearly 10 years. Deathly Hallows Part 2 has so much to live up to that it seems almost impossible for the film to meet the exceptionally high standards of the fans who have been following of the story of Harry Potter since their childhood. There are many questions that need to be answered and several storylines and character arcs that need to be resolved before this series is to end. Did David Yates, Steve Kloves, and the many actors who have worked on this series deliver the film that fans and critics alike want?

The Harry Potter films have been telling the epic story of the boy who lived for a decade now and there have been countless people who have been hoping that all of those years of storytelling would be building to some emotional resolution with these characters. While the film is certainly packed with action it never loses sight of what it is trying to do which is wrap up the emotional journey of Harry Potter and the characters around him. The movie begins exactly where the last film left off and takes off almost immediately after it . Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their search for horcruxes by looking through Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts. It is here that the movie really takes off and there honestly isn’t one minute wasted between here and the end of the film. Eventually the trio make their way back to Hogwarts to look for what they believe is the final Horcrux. Harry reunites with some of his old school mates and the remaining members of the order. They vanquish Snape from the building and take Hogwarts back. This is where the epic battle of Hogwarts commences and we get to see so many characters from many films past come back to fight for the school once and for all. The story unfolds very quickly and in this epic battle Harry learns many truths that will change him forever.  It is a tale of epic proportions.

While this movie is certainly filled with action it is also filled with so many emotional moments that will sometimes have the audience cheering and at other times have them crying. It is an emotional roller coaster of a film particularly for the people who have invested so much into this story whether it was through the books or the movies.  We get to see many characters finally become the people we knew they could be while finding out that some characters weren’t  who we really believed they were. The movie has emotional character moments like this sprinkled throughout the movie so that the movie certainly feels like it has high stakes with a really emotional core. Some of my favorite parts of the movie were times when Neville would emerge as a true Gryffindor leader. Its funny to see that the good natured but clumsy kid become the bravest of them all. There were so many other scenes with so many different characters that made me smile. It was awesome to see characters like Neville, Malfoy, Ginny, Semus, and even Luna begin to show who they really were.  The most heart wrenching part of the film was easily the sequence involving Snape as we learn some secrets about his character and history between him and another character that will certainly change the way audiences look at him.  We take one last trip into the pensieve to learn some sad and painful truths that change the way Harry and audiences will remember his mother and father. There were certainly many times in the film that brought tears to my eyes as I said goodbye to many characters that are a happy part of my childhood. The movie succeeded at giving fans as well as myself the epic and emotional conclusion we have been craving.

The movie not only succeeds at having an emotional core and an epic story, but at being visually spectacular. The movie is jam packed with special effects shots that all look comparable to the best work thats been done in the film business. The movie also had the option to get so bogged down in special effects that it stops being believable, but luckily the movie doesn’t take that road. David Yates decided to stay as much on the practical side as he could which means that the movie has an excellent balance between CGI and practical effects. Aside from just the special effects, the cinematography is just as amazing as anything you’ll see at the Oscars every year. Scenes are beautifully shot and edited and the movie never looks sloppy. Director David Yates could have very easily played things more laid back when he was making this movie. It was already a guaranteed hit at the box office and the fans would still see it multiple times whether they liked it or not. I am so very glad he did not take that road. It is very clear that every aspect of this movie had quite a bit of work, time, and thought put into it so that fans would be happy. Warner Bros. easily could have wrecked this movie in so many different ways, but they left the film in the hands of a director and production team that really wanted to give fans, critics, and the general audience a great movie. As much as David Yates made me very nervous in his first entree to the series with Order of the Phoenix; he has proven himself as a more than capable director in these last two films.

In the end Deathly Hallows is a really great movie. It may not quite be on par with the greatest movies of all time or even The Return of the King from the Lord of the Rings, but it is a terrific way to cap off a story and characters that are loved by so many different people. The movie delivers on what fans wanted; closure, emotional resolution, and a finale of epic proportions. As great as this movie is I don’t believe it is perfect. The movie feels rushed many times and the film actually could have benefitted from a longer run time(this is actually the shortest entree of the series). Even though the movie did emotionally resonate there were times when it didn’t really give the audience time to take in what all was happening. With so much going on and so many people dying it definitely felt like there needed to be a point to take a deep breath and mourn with the characters.  There were also  a few  things cut out here and there that did take away a bit of emotional depth of some of the characters. It was also sad to see that some of the fans favorite characters hardly got any screen time at all. If there was thing I could think of that could fix these small shortcomings for the Blu-ray release it would be a director’s cut that would flesh small things like that out. The biggest flaw the film has is  the same as the book which is the very cheesy and poorly handled epilogue that takes place 19 years after the end of the Battle of Hogwarts. To be honest and fair to the film makers, I really don’t think there is a good way to handle the epilogue. It was a very poorly written part of the book that felt pointless and it feels the same way with the film. I do applaud the film makers for trying to stick to the source material, but I honestly with they would have left this one as an extra for the DVD/Blu-ray release. The scene still wasn’t handled well because of there laughable aging effects used on the actors to make them look older.  I guess it was the film’s way of trying to make everything feel like it had come full circle and to that extent I suppose it works. Overall this is an excellent film that delivers in all of the ways that really matter with only a few minor problems here and there. This is the final goodbye to a very happy part of my childhood.

Story: 9.5

The movie does a tremendous job at tying up loose ends while delivering emotional resonance to the viewers. Despite the fact that it has so much to do it still wraps up in a very satisfying way in a run time that is cut just a bit short.  The run time is just a bit too short and because of it there are a few times when the film seems like it is rushing to its end. There are plenty of nods back to several of the past films that fans will love. The epilogue is still cheesy and laughable

Acting/Character: 10

We get to see so many different characters from nearly every movie(some more obscure than others) that join Harry in his fight against Voldemort to protect Hogwarts. We get to see many of the characters finally become the people we knew they could and we find some very sad and heart wrenching revelations about Severus Snape. Seriously; Alan Rickman is the man and he delivers a performance that the academy should not ignore. The film finally gives emotional payoff for all of these characters that fans and audiences have been growing to love(or hate) over the course of the last 10 years.

Direction: 9.5

David Yates manages to find a near perfect balance between character, story, and epic action. The film looks excellent and the cinematography is some of the best you’ll see in the film business these days. I have to give it to David Yates for being able to deliver this amazing epic of a finale. I would love to see if there is a director’s cut of this movie that makes it out once the film is released on DVD/Blu-ray

Overall Effectiveness of the Film: 9.0

This movie was an amazing finale to a great film series that has been giving audiences magical experiences for a decade. The biggest weakness the film has is that it can not stand on its own. It must have Deathly Hallows: Part 1 to give it ground to stand on. The movie takes off extremely quickly and there is no real build-up in this film; all of the build up to this movie is in Part 1 and the previous films. As its own its still great, but it needs Part 1 to be something really exceptional. I would love to see a version of the movie that puts Part 1 and Part 2 together to form a true epic. This film delivers in countless ways and gives us the final piece of the Harry Potter staple of modern pop-culture. This series(book or film) has truly been the Star Wars of our generation.

Overall Score: 9.5

One Comment Add yours

  1. conor mcleod says:

    This movie was the opposite of what you just wrote,no doubt you were paid to write a good review.It doesnt follow the books at all and many unnecessary changes were made.Where was the emotion?The movie moved so fast you couldnt feel anything for anybody.The ending was the most anti climatic ive ever seen.After a decade of killing and torture yet nobody gives a shit that voldemort is dead.

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