Posted on 8/08/11 03:23 PM
For ten years, J.K. Rowling's beloved book series has been translated from page to screen faithfully and magically. This year marks the end of an era. The final story of the saga is completed with Deathly Hallows: Part II. It's an exciting event, but perhaps the big question is whether this conclusion will be a satisfying one. And the answer to that question is a definitive "yes" for fans of the series.
Continuing immediately where Part I left off, Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue to search for and destroy horcruxes, pieces of the evil wizard Voldemort's soul hidden in seemingly ordinary items. As long as they exist, they grant him immortality. Harry's quest leads him to the wizarding school Hogwarts, now overrun by Voldemort's followers. Voldemort soon discovers what Harry is after and leads an assault on the school. It is here that Harry must face his fate and end Voldemort's reign of terror once and for all.
If there is any problem at all with this film, it is accessibility. This is not simply a movie that you can walk into with no prior knowledge of the series and expect to understand and enjoy. If you have not at least seen the previous seven films, you will be as lost as a fish in the Sahara. Deathly Hallows is strictly for fans.
For those who have faithfully read the books and followed the films, this is the finale you have been waiting for. The film is constant climax and constant action through and through. There are wand duels and battles the likes of which have never been seen before in the franchise. The dazzling special effects elevate the action and magic rather than overwhelm the drama taking place.
While most of the dramatic and character-driven moments took place in Part I, make no mistake in assuming this film carries no weight. Beloved characters fall, couples steal kisses between battles, and there's a great emotionality to every scene. The revelations involving Professor Snape come to mind as one of these defining moments of strong emotion.
The decision to split Deathly Hallows into two parts was a controversial, but necessary decision. Cynics may claim this film to be little more than action and special effects with no character development. Taken on the merits of only Part II, they would be right. However, Part I and Part II together, not to mention the previous six installments, offer all the development you could possibly want. This is the big finale, the action-packed, spectacular pay-off we the fans crave and deserve. And it works.
Together, the two parts make for the greatest of the Potter films, and a fitting conclusion to one of the most spectacular sagas in film history. It is now with a heavy heart that I must bid farewell to this wonderful series and the characters we've all grown up alongside. It's been a wild ride, and you will be missed.
Part 1 - 4.5/5 stars
Part 2 - 5/5 stars
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2 - 5/5 stars.