Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Reviews
But the big reveal of Snape being the real hero of the series makes the whole thing. Don't judge a book by its cover.
Over a decade in the making the wizarding world draws wands for the very last time in a worthy farewell. The escalation to a final battle between good and evil forces hits its crescendo and we are drawn back into the most vivid and quietly brilliant cinema-scapes of all time.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 sees the culmination of a dynasty, the shortest chapter brings about the completion to the longest marathon of magical mythology. With approx 1194 minutes of screen time, over 7 billion at the box office, all seven of it predecessors present in the top thirty of highest grossing films ever, its own theme park in Orlando Florida and infinite fans worldwide, we witness the passing of a monumental pop-culture milestone.
If living up to the hype and pleasing everyone isn't hard enough, this final film presents the gargantuan challenge of a mountainous plot to climb (even if it was split in two). Screenwriter Steve Kloves is in the unenviable position of making the vexing decisions of exactly what can stay, without sacrificing forward momentum.
Quibbling over these omissions is part of the fun and frustrations of this gripping franchise, and critics always take pleasure in playing devils advocate. However, this herculean effort to juggle colossal action scenes, with emotionally depth, sideways jaunts into metaphysical memories, and a functional rendition of a labyrinthine plot, is just brutal and unwarranted nitpicking.
As each preceding chapter has revolved around solving a mystery, in Part 2 there is no mystery, its time for action. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are in pursuit of the final scattered horcuxes which harbour pieces of Lord Voldemort's fractured soul, tethering him to this world.
Having escaped Gringot's bank by the skin of a dragon's neck, all plans lead back to Hogwarts. Once safe haven boarding school, it is now a melancholy fascist camp under Snapes control. Breaking in through a secret passage, Harry's re-emergence drives the resistant group into battle.
Hogwarts becomes a stronghold; a battlefield under attack from an army of Deatheaters, Dementors, giants and beasties defended by small dwindling group of teachers, students, parents and castle ornaments.
Every surviving character of the franchise accounted for, lesser villains get their comeuppances, heroes fall and Hogwarts crumbles in a thrilling convergence of drama, intrigue and emotion.
Suffering slightly from its urgency, some characters hasty send-off's are disappointing unexplored, leaving you wanting. Thankfully, Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) get their lightening moments to shine and the truth behind Alan Rickman's sneering Professor Snape is uncovered in one of the most moving scenes of the series.
The tangled Dumbledore family back-story has been simplified, a few characters have been removed, Voldermort's snake Nagini is over highlighted and some fundamental rules have been bent. Eduardo Serra's cinematography captures your attention so completely, that the collaborative phenomenon between page and screen means they can each offer something unique.
A warning: It has always been said that the movies grow progressively darker with the age group of its original audience and with this it is evident. As Harry solemnly walks through the great hall, the visual proof of the devastating human cost for his defiance is genuinely moving; and the crossroads platform he reaches and witnesses the dying form of a piece of Lord Voldermort's soul is rather a shock.
The Verdict: With the last incantation spoken and the final flourish of a wand, the Potter legend reaches its resting place in a magnificently magic movie.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 15/07/2011