Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 [2011]
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Watson
Directed by: David Yates

Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their search to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes that will once and for all put an end to the Dark Lord and his quest for immortality.

Finally, the Harry Potter series comes to an end. Last years 'Hallows, Part 1' was a slow burner. Some people thought it was a bit too heavy on the drama and not heavy enough on the action, i disagreed. Characters needed to be established before the big finale, and the struggle of trying to survive the Dark Lord's obsession with Harry's death was a burden that needed to be explored properly. Part 1 may have been lacking in the action department, but they well and truly made up for it with 'Hallows, Part 2'.

Essentially, 'Hallows 2' isn't really a part 2, it's more of a 1.5. The story set up was pretty much completed in part 1, and the bulk of part 2 is the final battle at Hogwart's where Harry finally has his big showdown with Voldemort. Event though there are a couple of big secrets revealed within the story in part 2, most of what we see on screen is wizard fighting and Harry rushing around to find and destroy the final Horcruxes.
The movie runs at a very fast pace. That's both good and bad. After the slow burning Part 1, the lighting speed of Part 2 was needed. Part 2 is the "pay off" movie that Part 1 teased at. At the same time though, i did feel that certain sections of the film were rushed through a little too quickly. The battles could have lasted a bit longer, and a key scene involving Snape's big reveal should have been fleshed out more. The running time for the film isn't as long as the HP films usually are either, so i'm not sure why an extra 10 minutes of story development wasn't added to the film to bulk it up a bit. This isn't a major issue though, and other aspects of the film make up for any short comings.

Where Part 2 succeeds is both in scale and emotion. The movie certainly feels epic, the danger of the battle is felt very strongly as the teachers of Hogwart's set up their protection barriers for the dark wizards oncoming assault. You really feel like Harry and the gang are desperately trying to remove Voldemort's immortality so they can have a chance at killing him. The urgency is tense.
Emotionally, it has the same strengths as the final book did. Harry's struggle feels like a burden as you watch him frantically crawl and run for dear life, and when he is faced with possible death, you can't help but get teary. The meeting between Harry and his dead loved ones was a beautiful way to lead into the start of his confrontation with Voldemort, i thought it was very moving.
Snape's final moments were perfectly done as well, his last breath as he looks into Harry's eyes was heartbreaking. Th following scene about Snape's true intentions makes it that much more depressing.

Even though there are strong parts of 'Hallows 2', it still didn't give me the PERFECT shot of brilliance i wanted from a closing film. It should have been longer, it should have tired me out, it felt like they could have pushed it a tiny bit further. Maybe it will feel more complete watching it as one big movie right after part 1?

Overall, they did a good enough job at finishing up the saga in a big way. It served up enough magic and drama to satisfy any Potter fan i'm sure. The series has been a lot of fun, and the last few films have really been what's kept me on board all these years waiting for the end. I can't wait to own all of the movies in one big mouth watering blu-ray box set!.

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