Film Review – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 poster

Hard to believe it’s been ten years watching Radcliffe, Grint and Watson grow up in public and on celluloid, but here we are with the final part of this epic story as Harry, Ron and Hermione find themselves in a desperate race to find the remaining Horcruxes before Voldemort, now armed with the Elder Wand, achieves victory.

After the first part of Deathly Hallows was so dark, so adult, I did wonder if the second could possibly match it. There is a difference in pace and tone – while part 1 felt thoughtful and personal, much of part 2 is made of up of some fantastic set pieces – the raid in Gringotts, the fire in the room of requirement and Voldemort’s forces attacking Hogwarts. The difference is inevitable I guess, when you take one book and break it down into two halves.

David Yates shows himself to be, once again, a safe pair of hands. The action sequences, especially the defence of Hogwarts is exhilarating, indeed more so, I felt that JK’s prose. Similarly Steve Klove’s has written another excellent script, that is wordy when it needs to be, but allows the action to speak for itself.

Performance wise, the three lead performances seem a little less sharp, again due the the “final act” nature of the movie. With so much going on around them, some lines seem tossed away, second fiddle to effects and CGI. It’s a pity after so much was invested into the characters in part one. Still, Watson and Grint finally kiss, which is sweet rather than nauseating, and Radcliffe imbues Harry with sufficient gravitas when he realises, and accepts his fate.

Performance of the film however, has to go to Alan Rickman, who finally gets his moment in the sun as we see the culmination of his story. Rickman has clearly had a blast over the past ten years playing the poisonous potions master, but as the story draws to its conclusion and Snape’s true feelings emerge… Well let’s just say I found that more affecting than Dobby’s death at the end of part one.

CiarĂ¡n Hinds is a welcome addition as Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth, his tone and make up so right, I wondered if it was Michael Gambon underneath it all. Similarly Kelly McDonald is enchanting as the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw.

It seems churlish not to mention Ralph Fiennes, whose performance as Voldemort seems so effortless. It’s hard to bring any depth to a character so base, so beyond redemption. Jason Isaacs has Lucius’ meltdown to work with, Helena Bonham-Carter has Bellatrix’ insanity. Fiennes has that voice and a very big snake…

Once again the film looks fantastic, although, as expected the 3D is pretty much unnecesary. Certain key sequences are obviously intended to utilise 3D to the best effect, but somehow doesn’t quite give the rollercoaster thrill I’d hope for. However, there is one moment, towards the end where the 3D is so absolutely right, that it almost justfies the headache from the other 129 3D minutes…

There are a couple of moments that may disturb younger viewers (not least the paunch they give poor old Rupert Grint for the “19 years later scene”) but nothing worse than the scarier moments of this season’s Doctor Who.

All in all it feels polished and satisfying, a fitting end to the saga. Best to watch Part 1 just before you see it, to get the full effect.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens worldwide on July 15th

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on July 14, 2011.

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