I have seen two Harry Potter films at midnight, and the conclusion to the Harry Potter cinematic franchise was one of them. The other was Goblet of fire, and if you happened to be there with me in attendance at both screenings, you could clearly tell there was a major difference in crowd enthusiasm and love outpouring between Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows Part 2; this, my friends, was the end of Harry Potter. If you think I mean literally when it comes to the movie and Harry’s actual fate, I’ll leave that up to you to find out. But no, what I inferred is that there will never be a Harry Potter movie. AGAIN. Knowing that, you could sense it from the people in line along with yours truly and his company; people were running around in costume, some dude yelled “I’ve got the snitch!,” and we even saw a dementor who towered over us at about 7 feet tall.
Now, this outpouring of love is solely for a reason, as the Harry Potter franchise has entranced fans all over the world, and reaching its cinematic close means a lot to lots of people. Restricting myself from reading a lot of reviews, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 didn’t affect me emotionally as much as I thought it would, as I could hear people in the theater sobbing uncontrollably while the movie played itself out on screen. That didn’t happen to me. However, for what it is worth, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is one hell of a conclusion to the Potter franchise, ending the series with one of its best films and containing some of the greatest performances.
*Note-review contains minor spoilers*
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 picks up where Part 1 left off, as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is seen at Dobby’s grave. He, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) continue on their journey to find the horcruxes, seven items that hold pieces of Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul. The trio makes a stop at Gringott’s bank for one, and then Harry, being able to look into Voldemort’s mind as the two are connected by his scar, realizes that there is another horcrux at Hogwarts. When they make it there, Voldemort plans to attack the school, but he will withdrawl if Potter is given up to him. Harry’s friends do no such thing, and so, the dark lord and his army begin to lay waste to Hogwarts. The body count rises, and as Harry begins to track down the horcruxes, he finds out through a series of events that he must confront Voldemort whether he wants to or not.
At 130 minutes, Harry Potters and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the shortest of the films, but keep in mind that this is the second part of one full story, so in estimation, both Deathly Hallows films put together would clock in at a little under five hours. There is no recap at the beginning, so you best view the first film before heading into the second, as you may be semi lost at what is happening.
To me, that was my biggest problem with this film; as it is split into two pieces, you cannot fully enjoy the event that is to be had. Hopefully the films will be combined for a future dvd/blu ray release, as I really do think it would something extraordinary. Both films on their own are the most faithful Potter adaptations, and having them be fused for one engaging (albeit long) film would be something I’d really like to see. To do the series justice, however, and so people wouldn’t obviously tire from a lengthy film, the final Harry Potter story was trying to remain faithful to the book and removing as little as possible from the literature. I understand that, and I scoff at anyone who said it was done for financial reasons; while HPATDHP2 will rake in so much cash, to please the loyalists of the series, the finale needed its due.
My other problems with the film were minor. There were elements of humor in the film, which is fine, and some of the jokes were pretty funny. However, one thing that always bugs me in movies is unintentional humor (unless I know that’s what the movie is going for, i.e. Snakes on a Plane). What I mean is Fiennes choices for Voldemort and how he plays the character at times was really odd. He got laughs were he really shouldn’t have, and we’ve gotten Voldemort in bits and pieces before (in regards to the movies), so the time with the character was restricted. However, in this film, the dark lord gets a ton of screen time and goes too “over the top” at times (watch for the hug he gives Draco, it’s so awkward), and while I chuckled at those moments, the idea that this is supposed to be the baddest dude in that world was kind of lost on me at points.
Thankfully, the movie pulls in some great performances to counter attack that, and one of them is from Alan Rickman, who plays Severus Snape. While Snape has never been a major character in the movies, this movie he’s almost front and center. Rickman owns the role, packing some scenes with an emotional wallop that sent audience members in my theater into tears. Whenever he came onto the screen he commanded it, and you could tell by the very first glimpse of him which is seconds after the movie begins (foreshadowing his importance in the movie) that while this is going to be Harry’s movie, we are going to learn a ton about Severus. Well done, Rickman.
Rupert Grint and Emma Watson both turn in amazing performances, but they of course fall second to the main character, Harry Potter. And damn, as young as Radcliffe is, he gave the performance of his career. He breathes new life into the character he has played for so long, and you get a sense that he knew this would be the final time he was going to be “the boy who lived.” Every second counts with Harry, as and as the saga drew to a close, you saw Daniel Radcliffe BECOME Harry Potter. For the first few movies, you saw him play Harry Potter but not evoke too much into the character. But here, the actor loses himself in the role, and you are rooting for him every step of the way. Chris Columbus was onto something when he cast this kid as Potter, and fans are in for a treat as they see the actor live up to the person they’ve read about in the books. A fantastic performance given, without a shadow of a doubt.
Oh, and not putting too much emphasis on it, but Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom, gets a lot of time to shine in this film, and he does a great job of it too. Another performance to watch out for.
Be warned, in the finale, blood spills, people die, and tears are shed. You may shed them too, as the movie has a lot of emotional weight to it. It is very dark and dismal, and while I got emotional over some scenes, like I mentioned before, some people were crying loudly in my theater. Depending on what kind of fan you are, you may want to bring tissues.
As the credits rolled at nearly three o’ clock in the morning, my time to say goodbye to Harry was upon me. And there I sat, moved by what had just happened. While Deathly Hallows Part 2 had its flaws, the conclusion was a real passion piece from all the actors and crew. They wanted to give us a stirring last act, and they did; both films in the Deathly Hallows saga were incredible, but knowing that we were giving such a fond farewell really makes you notice how much the people who were behind it love Harry Potter, just as much as we do.
No more Quidditch, no more casting spells, no more horcruxes, no more Hogwarts. It’s funny; while Harry Potter will continue to be read and seen by viewed by many people time and time again, there’s a sense that it’s over for good. Maybe I didn’t get so overwhelmed emotionally by it because J.K. Rowling expressed to her fans…
“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
Harry Potter will live on in our hearts and memories forever. Thankfully enough, we had an amazing conclusion to remember him so fondly. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 is the ending to 10 years of movie magic, and it is without a shadow of a doubt the best film in the series.