Friday, February 14, 2014

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011, Movie Review)


       Ten years, eight movies, one incredible franchise, when 2011 came around, I couldn’t believe it, the HP movies are actually concluding. Whether you’re a fan of the Harry Potter franchise or not, you still can’t deny that it’s a classic series of films that will be remembered for years to come. It left a huge impact on my childhood, it lasted throughout my teenage years and finished at the beginning of my young adult years, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of the generation that grew up with this saga. Now at last, we reach “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”, the eighth and final film in the series, and I’m so pleased to say that the franchise closes on a very, VERY high note. If it wasn’t for “Chamber of Secrets”, this film would have been my absolute favorite. As it is, “Deathly Hallows Part 2” is a very close second favorite and should be immortalized as one of the best final chapters of all time.


     Following up immediately after the events of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”, Harry and his friends find themselves back on their quest to find and destroy Voldemorts seven items in order to defeat him once and for all. This leads to another thrilling sequence where the gang sneaks into the wizard bank, collect another item and make a daring escape on a fire breathing dragon, it’s just an awesome scene and it gets things started with a kick. After words, they find themselves back at Hogwarts, where they seek the final items to destroy and later find themselves defending the castle from Voldemorts invading army of dark wizards. It’s actually a very simple premise, but everything is done so well. The action/ adventure sequences are thrilling, the performances are powerful, the visuals are dazzling, all the characters are given the proper amount of attention, the films message regarding sacrifice is effective without feeling preachy and despite the constant violence and dark concepts, everything still feels magical. This is something that the last film just couldn’t accomplish.


       Also, unlike “Part 1” of “The Deathly Hallows”, this film gives the supporting characters plenty of attention. Everyone gets their shining moments, mellow dramatic scenes and they all have a charismatic sense of hummer to boot. The comedy in this film is very subtle and they all hit bull’s-eye’s. I also find myself cheering for the cast more then I have in any of the previous films, Harry Potter in particular makes the big sacrifice move by giving his life for the good of his friends. The characters are also given a significant amount of development, and Professor Snap gets an incredible back story that ties everything together so well. Seriously, the scene when Snaps story is revealed to Harry was absolutely electrifying and could have won its own little academy award. 


      Many people have compared this film to “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and to be fare, both films are very similar. Both plots revolve around a battle on castle grounds, which involves an army of monstrous creatures and a hero who has to destroy evil objects that with vanquish the main villain. Personally, I never liked “The Return of the King” that much and I felt that “Deathly Hallows Part 2” improved on every one of that films short comings. The battle of Hogwarts is a thrilling spectacle with statues that come to life, lots of destruction, lots of wand duels and a busy environment, however, it’s mostly in the background of the film, while all the attention still goes to our hero’s. Personally, I felt that “The Return of the King” spent way too much time on its battle and making it a larger than life spectacle out of it, while the characters were all moved to the sidelines. Also, the passing is much better in “Deathly Hallows Part 2”, it’s the kind of fast pace that never feels dull but it also doesn’t come off a rushed, it still gives the characters enough time to breath. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is the stuff of legend, and is worthy to go along other classic confrontations of good vs. evil like Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker.


      My only criticism toured this film is the final scene with the trio after the climax. When the battle concludes, Harry, Ron and Herminie share one last scene together on a bridge and all they do is discus who Voldemorts wand properly belongs to. That sucks, this is our final scene with these characters, this is the moment when they should be reflecting on how much they’ve experienced over the years, how they’ve prevailed against so many odds, how their friendship has only gotten stronger, what they plan to do with their lives now that all the dark times have passed, etc. Bottom line, I feel like there could have been a really nice bonding moment between these three characters in their final scene and it was all wasted. Thankfully, the film redeems itself with a nice little epilog that takes place 19 years in the future. We see that our hero’s are all married, they have kids and Harry sends his son off to school, so it’s like everything has come full circle from where Harries journey first began. I love how simple, pleasant and to the point this scene is, unlike the stupidity of “The Return of the King” which had to beat you over the head with an ending that just wouldn’t end.  


     To some things up, I couldn’t have asked for a better send off to a beloved film series. It’s magical, epic, action packed, powerfully acted and ties all loose ends together so nicely. It's actually on par with "Star Wars 6: Return of the Jedi" as one of my favorite final chapters of all time. I realize that this was a relatively small review, especially in comparison to all my previous Harry Potter posts, but I can’t think of anything else that needs to be addressed, just see the movie for yourself because I can’t do it justice. If you’re a big fan of the Harry Potter series, I think you’ll be perfectly satisfied with this epic, powerful, emotional, magical and all around stunning conclusion to the timeless Harry Potter series.


                   I give “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” a perfect 5 stars out of 5. 

I suppose, if I were to rank all eight of the Harry Potter movies from favorite to least favorite, the list would go like this......

                                 1st Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)  
                                 2nd Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
                                 3rd Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
                                 4th Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
                                 5th Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone (2001)
                                 6th Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
                                 7th Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)
                                 8th Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

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