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I know this review might get me in hot water, but I am
willing to take the heat: The last few HARRY POTTER films belong in the
Like a majority of the population, I am a huge Harry Potter
fan and proudly admit it. The books are incredible and the films are
fantastically realized. Ever since Warner Bros. launched the franchise back in
2001, I’ve been awestruck and have a renewed love of and faith in children’s
dark fantasy films. These sorts of kids’ movies over the last two decades have
seriously lacked in intelligence, luster and wonder, with some obvious
exceptions—the Pixar pictures, for example. This critic often yearns for the
good ol’ days when epic escapism like THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK graced the
The Harry Potter films, however, are well-shot, dark,
humorous, epic and flawlessly directed by some of today’s most seasoned
upper-tier filmmakers, such as Alfonso Cuaron and David Yates. And now, with
the release of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2, we are witnessing
Harry’s eighth and, sadly, final screen outing. Of course, many of us who have
read J.K. Rowling’s books know how it wraps up, but those of us who count
ourselves among the faithful are still excited to see the last of her beloved
works translated onto the screen—especially in the glory of 3D and IMAX. As a
devout fan of the series, this writer is pleased to report that DEATHLY HALLOWS
PART 2 delivers the goods. It is the spectacle we’ve all been anticipating, and
everything a Potter fiend could hope for.
When we left Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) at the end of DEATHLY
HALLOWS PART 1, he was grieving over the loss of longtime friend Dobby, and
evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) had just obtained the mythical Elder Wand.
PART 2 immediately launches the viewer right back into the action as Harry,
Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) continue their pursuit of the
remaining Horcruxes, critical elements to destroying Voldemort. Their search
brings the gang into the depths of Gringott’s Wizarding Bank, in a sequence
that sets the pace for the entire movie.
Without giving away too much, the film (which Yates directed
from a script by series perennial Steve Kloves) adapts the final third of the
book and sees Harry discovering truths, destroying more Horcruxes, reconnecting
with supporters and strengthening bonds. It’s a white-knuckle race against time
that culminates in a massive battle of good and evil at Hogwarts’ front gates,
full of expertly realized special FX and sound and fury. The movie does an
excellent job of connecting all the dots laid out in previous entries,
concluding every surviving character’s 10-year journey, their defined roles and
their destinies—including that of the villainous Voldemort.
Fan-driven blockbusters like the Potter films are usually
critic-proof—and so they should be—but DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 does suffer from
some minor yet mentionable lapses. For one, it helps to be a fan of the books
to fully grasp what’s unfolding, and there are parts of the story many will
have trouble following. This despite the fact that the film also suffers from
lengthy exposition, a device to help those who haven’t read the books. It’s a
These are, however, minor inconveniences in a film so finely
detailed with dark, imaginative wonder, and it’s still remarkable to see the
effect—like the best cult films—it has on its audience. The advance screening
this critic attended was packed with fans dressed as all their favorite
characters, and their collective energy was truly amazing; they cheered, they
laughed, they cried and, yes, they ogled and drooled over Radcliffe’s newly
minted manly chest.
Is it a horror movie? Of course not, but the HARRY POTTER
films are dynamic entry points for parents to gently introduce their kids to
more evolved stories of good and evil, myth and monsters. And, as it did for
me, will flash those grownups back to that point in their childhoods when the
magic was real.
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