Ten years, eight movies, seven books, four directors, three unknown child actors and countless spells have all culminated in the final chapter of Harry Potter’s story. It’s not often that a film franchise can make you feel both excited to see the newest entry, but also sad that it’s going to be the last. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part 2 did exactly that. Minor spoilers ahead….proceed at your own risk.
The action lacking in the first part, was more than made up for with this one. The film begins where the last one left off with Voldemort desecrating Dumbledore’s tomb for the Elder Wand. Harry, Ron and Hermione are still holed up at Bill Weasley’s beach cottage where Dobby has been laid to rest. Harry’s mission to find the remaining Horcruxes, those items that Volemort has stored parts of his soul in, lead the trio to Gringott’s bank. This pretty much takes care of any overlay from the first part and after a harrowing scene in the bowels of the bank, the trio head back to Hogwart’s where the real action takes place.
The Hogwart’s that they return to most certainly isn’t the same Hogwart’s it was under Dumbledore’s tutelage. Snape’s in charge and Dementors hold sentry positions above the grounds. Once Harry’s presence is made known (in an awesome scene by the way) all hell breaks loose and it’s on to the final showdown between the boy who lived and he who shall not be named. Death Eaters, Dementors, giants, stone soldiers, witches, wizards, werewolves, and ridiculously large spiders all engage in the epic battle. This is the focal point of this final film and it was a nice departure from the slower pace of the first part. While the first film was all about the set up, this film is all about the pay off.
HPatDH2 (had to abbreviate) was, of course, mainly about Harry, Ron, Hermione and Voldemort. They are the major players here, but with this being the final outing, it was great to see all those familiar faces pop up through out the film. Fred and George Weasley, along with their parents, Tonks and Remus, Hagrid, Cho, and even Professor Trelawney make brief appearances. The best of the supporting cast however is Professor McGonagall and Neville. Both characters finally get their just dues and it was a sight to behold.
Director David Yates took on a huge burden when signing on for this film. Not only juggling one of the biggest, most important scenes from the entire series, but also making this final film one for the history book could not have been an easy task. Maintaining a sense of order between the different aspects of the battle, along with the different characters and sub-plots could have easily become a jumbled mess. Yates handled it all with a deft hand. I saw this film in 2D so I can’t say if 3D added or detracted from the film. 3D has a tendency to wash out colors and can be difficult when it comes to dark scenes and the battle takes place at night so that made me a little wary.
It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but I did notice a few changes that film made. Changes from page to screen are to be expected and those that were present didn’t detract from the story at all. If anything, the liberties the film took added to the story. The one scene that truly stands out is when Harry confronts Snape in the Great Hall in front of everyone. The other being less emphasis on the Dumbledore family drama. Hermione being the one to come up with mad plan to escape Gringott’s was a nice change as well. Books are normally better than their film versions, that’s not anything new. With as much love as I have for these films, the books have always been better. I’m not sure anyone could exceed the vision that J.K. Rowling created in written word. But Yates came very close.
Since this is the final film, I was wondering if we were going to get any sort of montage. That answer is yes, but it comes in the form of flashbacks from Snape. It’s not over done, and it never felt like it was added for sentimental reasons. Watching the scenes from the previous films where the stars are so fresh-faced and then catching up to them present day, in the midst of a war between good and evil shows how much they’ve grown as actors, as well as characters. Daniel Radcliff has carried the burden of this character for 10 years and has gotten progressively better with each film. He’s exceptionally good in part two and the same goes for Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.
HPatDH2 is a great send-off for an incredible series. With each new installment the overall tone of the series has become darker. It only makes sense for this to happen just because of the nature of the story. As the characters have aged, they’ve learned that life isn’t fun and games. This is true in the real world as well. This film contains quite a bit of violence, and loss, but through it all friendship and family remain. It’s a bittersweet end, but as the credits roll, the audience closes the book on a decade long relationship. It’s a fitting end and some may even find themselves wiping away a tear or two. I know I did.Tags: Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliff, David Yates, Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Rupert Grint