Whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan, you can’t deny that the movies of author J.K. Rowling’s epic tale stand as excellent examples of modern filmmaking. Made at a breakneck pace over ten years, they have consistently entertained and brought vivid life to the novels, so much so that it is nearly impossible to return to the books now without still imagining the actors, sets and costumes. For an industry that very often disappoints its audiences, this is a remarkable achievement.
And so, the end arrives. As the eighth and final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will not by itself bring in new viewers, and everyone else will see it anyway. A review can only indicate whether the series’ phenomenal quality has been maintained for the finale. That was not a foregone conclusion, since Part 1 is my least favourite of the films. In laying the foundation for the final battle between the forces of good and evil wizards, it was lighter on action and spectacle than the others.
But what a foundation it laid, since Deathly Hallows Part 2 simply could not be as good as it is without all that setup out of the way.
Picking up mere minutes after the conclusion of Part 1, we find Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) planning their next move in the search for the Horcruxes protecting Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) from defeat. After a tense and exciting raid on Gringotts, the wizard bank, the action returns finally to Hogwarts castle, where the fates of all the characters will be determined.
Rowling’s novels have always seemed slightly too long, and screenwriter Steve Kloves once again brilliantly balances the film’s need for action and compressed storytelling with the expectations of the author. Director David Yates delivers not only pulse-pounding action, but also an unexpected amount of emotion. We presume to shed a tear or two in the final scenes, but other moments make a big impact as well, particularly the last scenes of Professor Snape, which prove that Alan Rickman is the best and most underrated actor in the whole series.
And the rest of the cast? Well, a roster of talent this deep could have spent the last seven movies reading the phone book, and here, they’re all just as good. It’s gratifying that most get their own memorable moments to close out the story.
Fans won’t need convincing, but if you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth getting into these films, go get the DVDs and enjoy. This ending perfectly justifies the journey.
Tags: movie review