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Posted on 7/17/11 07:26 PM
All good things must come to an end.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, directed by David Yates, ends the 8 film saga following Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) as they seek out Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Finnes) remaining horcruxes and attempt to destroy them and finally, him.
The film starts with a quick flashback to Voldemort stealing the Elder Wand, a hint that Warner Bros. is going to milk our money by releasing a dvd/blu ray of Part 1 and Part 2 combined. We then see Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) watch over a Death Eater controlled Hogwarts. Alan needs a best Supporting Actor nom, but more on that later.
We see the trio at Shell Cottage where they prepare to make their next move after the terrible loss of Dobby in Part 1. Griphook (Warrick Davis) agrees to help the trio into Gringotts and steal from Bellatrix Lestrange's (Helena Bonham Carter) vault, where Harry believes lies a horcrux. This entire sequence is fast and a roller coaster, literally. When the trio manage to steal the horcrux, they escape on the dragon in a beautiful sequence. Eduardo Serra really makes his mark on cinematography here, as throughout the entire film he makes his mark. We also get some lovely music by Alexandre Desplat, and many cues from previous films can be heard in a throwback to them.
Hogwarts now becomes a battleground in which everyone comes back for one final stand, brief or long. The acting is superb and not one person falls short. Daniel, Emma, and Rupert have grown before our very eyes and leave us with everything they can muster. The adult actors, aka Britain's finest, all have something to say in the matter as well. Maggie Smith (Professer McGonagall) does wonderful in the time that she is given. The standouts of the adult actors though are Finnes and Rickman. With Finnes, he shows Voldemort's strength and weaknesses, and as this is the final film, he really has no leash. There's a scene where he kills all in sight and moments later, we see him walking in a pool of blood. It's quite haunting.
The battle itself is a bit shorter than I expected, but that's because the focus was on the trio and their journey. The parts where we did see battle? Outstanding. VFX was top notch, and unlike some movies where the film is based around VFX and battles without a plot (cough transformers cough), this one all has merit to it.
Alan Rickman now gives Snape's defining moment, and perhaps Rickman's career performance. *Spoilers*
His death scene is one marked with heavy emotion. When Harry enters his memories and sees his true colours, it's one of great sorrow. This 7 minute sequence was, in my opinion, the best part of the movie in all aspects: visually, acting, soundtrack, you name it.
The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is extended from the book, and rightfully so. We see the two go at it, and Voldemort at a struggle to do anything and heavily weakened by his lost horcruxes, resorts to physically punching and kicking Harry. Finally, in the courtyard when the two blast their final spells and Nagini (his snake) is killed by Neville Longbottom (Matt Lewis), Voldemort meets his end by turning to ash to a beautiful sunrise over Hogwarts.
The epilogue, set place 19 years later, brings the story full circle has Harry takes his children aboard the Hogwart's express. I could not avoid tears, when the final shot of the trio with the final notes of the iconic theme blasted.
Perhaps, like Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) said in this final entry, words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. In this case, allow me to amend my original statement. All good things must come to an end, yes. But this is not the end. It is the beginning. The beginning of a Legend.
***On a side note, the Academy better swallow their pride and do it now. This is a serious contender for best pic, name me the last Oscar winner with 100% top critics and at least 8.8 average?