Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay), J.K. Rowling (Novel)
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, John Hurt, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Gary Oldman, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Katie Leung, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps,
Plot Summary: Harry, Ron and Hermione search for Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord once and for all. [IMDB]
Sorry for the late review folks, but I was away for the weekend and only had a chance to see this finale recently. But here we are, the grand and epic conclusion to the much beloved franchise that is Harry Potter.
Now I have heard a lot of comparisons of this franchise to my beloved classic, STAR WARS, with this finale being called the Return of the Jedi of the franchise in terms of sentimental meaning. I get it. I also get the huge build-up for this film, except one thing: unlike Return of the Jedi, we knew what the ending was going to be for this film.
STAR WARS comparisons aside, the real meat of this review is down below.
What is there really to say about this film? It is one of the most highly anticipated conclusions to a franchise ever, and is even on the level of other beloved fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings and STAR WARS—yes, I say STAR WARS because though it is set in space, the story is very fantasy-esque. This is one of the very few films which I could ever review that droves and droves of fans and audiences will go see regardless of whatever opinion I do give on this film. But what I do want to share is what I both enjoyed and didn’t enjoy from this film.
First off, I want it to be known that I’m treating this as a true second part of a story and not a film on its own, as it is a continuation of a self-contained story that is The Deathly Hallows novel. And because of that, it leads me to one thing I did enjoy about this film, which is that it picks up right where the last film left audiences and wastes no time in continuing all the threads left untied in the previous film. From the first shot of the film, we are literally thrown into the rapidly growing conflict between Harry and his supporters against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. This works as both a negative and a positive, as there is no exposition of what occurred in Part 1. But for those who have seen Part 1( honestly, why watch this without seeing Part 1?) it gets right to the point from the start.
Also, because of the lack of backtracking on the previous film’s events, this film ends up being exceptionally well paced in following Harry, Ron and Hermione on their quest to destroy the remaining Horcruxes that Voldemort has hidden. The pacing is fast, but what really adds to it is the atmosphere of urgency in their quest. Throughout the film we are literally given the feeling that all hell is about to be let loose on the wizarding world, which makes their quest feel ever so more important to achieving victory.
As an audience member, knowing what the outcome will be should they fail, it is imperative that that sense of urgency is there to make all that is wrong that is happening around them feel even more genuine, as you want to really feel fear for these characters who you have grown up with. This film does an exceptional job of that.
However, near the climax Part 2, it does change gears and does slow down a bit to set up the conclusion and finale. Now for most films, this sudden change of pace would throw me off, but having read the book and understanding that this was a part that needed a lot of exposition into how the film would end, it was a welcome change of pace. We are given that breather that an audience needs before the grande finale.
It’s here where I started to get a bit disappointed with Part 2. Now I enjoyed the pacing of this film, but I felt that a lot of what goes on during the climax was a bit underwhelming. The two big villainous deaths of Bellatrix and Voldemort weren’t quite as dramatic as I’d hoped they would be. They lacked the satisfaction I was hoping to get in seeing these two very evil people finally pay for their crimes in death. The biggest reason for that, in my opinion, was because neither of them ever came off as fearsome and menacing as they had in previous films. The entire film, they felt more timid and scared than frightening and scary. Because of that, I never ended up feeling satisfied with their deaths.
Despite my lack of satisfaction in their deaths, I was fully engrossed with the deaths of the various heroes leading up to the conclusion. Fred, Tonks and Remus highlighted the film’s casualties, and their deaths truly were sad. I really felt the emotion on the screen for their characters, despite their short appearances, and their deaths did feel tragic. If there was something that the Deathly Hallows had over the previous 6 films in the franchise, it was that emotional connectivity that I felt for the characters. This second part continues it, and continues it well.
Now there really isn’t much else left I can say about the film other than the biggest disappointment I had in it, which was the short epilogue at the end. Now, I’m pretty sure most audiences and fans will love it, but I didn’t. I felt that David Yates and company really cheapened the epilogue in the film and did it a disservice. Other than the fact that the supposed mid-30s aged cast looked ridiculously hilarious, the epilogue could have really used some narration as audiences who have read the book wouldn’t have the slightest bit of context for some of the shots in the scene.
As for other aspects of the film, I guess I should mention the 3D which I did get to see it in. Now, here we have another film where the 3D was done in post-production, so it’s another film that ends up being a mixed bag in the 3D conversion. There are scenes that look really great in 3D, and some scenes that felt like they were solely included and shot for the 3D. These scenes were good, but for a good portion of the film, the 3D is unnoticeable.
Well, I’ve said about as much as I can for this film. To finish it up, I must say that as a stand alone it wasn’t nearly as effective as it could have been, and I honestly believe that to fully appreciate Part 2 it must be seen in conjunction with Part 1, as they are one whole story. However, as a stand alone, it’s not anywhere near bad, but it is a bit underwhelming due to its nature of being a second part.
I have two ratings for this, one for Deathly Hallows Part 2 and a second rating for Deathly Hallows as a whole.
GO Rating (Part 2 on its own): 3.5/5
GO Rating (Deathly Hallows as a whole): 4.5/5