Sunday, July 17, 2011

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

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The date has finally arrived for the Harry Potter saga to come to a close. Millions of fans from around the globe has been patiently waiting the eight months to view the final epic battle that takes place at Hogwarts after watching our heroes Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson) searching and destroying the horcruxes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The road movie that was Part 1 shifts focus in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to become a war movie that for its fans gives a very satisfying pay off for the long interlude between the two sections.

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 Movie Poster
Undoubtedly, this was the biggest event of the summer and I was ready for it! I used a M&M's discount code to cut my out of pocket cost for the ticket. At the snack bar I used my loyalty coupons for a free small popcorn and soda which I upgraded to large and then went even further and splurged on some white cheese powder for the popcorn. I had been waiting a long time to see how the movie would draw to a conclusion as compared to the book and wanted to make the most of it!

The story pics up right where Part 1 left off. Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennese) has claimed the Elder Wand and Harry has just finished burying Dobby the elf. No extra exposition to recap and bring people up to date if they didn't see Part 1. The trio make a stop at Gringotts Bank and then head back to Hogwarts where most of the 130 minute running time takes place. Chances are you'll see one of your favorite members of the Order of the Phoenix, Hogwarts professor or student that you might not have seen in a while making you realize how immense of a world J K Rowling had in her mind and the characters that were created to fill it.

Credit needs to be given to screen writer Steven Kloves and director David Yates and the various producers on the decision to split the film and give the climatic battle its due. One of the criticisms of the series as a whole is how much detail, sub plots and little extras have been left out as the books have been translated. The battle of Hogwarts as shown on the big screen was more than I had envisioned in my own head. The sequences of intense action violence and frightening images during the fighting scenes earned the movie a PG-13 rating. One little part that brought some laughs was Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) calling suits of armor to life to protect the castle. This seemed be be a throw back nod to Disney's 1971 feature Bedknobs and Broomsticks where Angela Landsbury's Eglantine Price casts a spell giving life to war regalia, uniforms and weapons to battle off the Nazis. The Death Eaters have been compared to Nazis so the similarities between the two seems appropriate.

Throughout the whole series the question lingers in the back ground, is Severus Snape good or bad? Alan Rickman has had to play the part balancing on an edge not knowing the true nature of his character until the seventh and final book was released. As you watch Professor Snape's back story fill in you'll garner a fuller appreciation for the wonderful portrayal of such a complex character that has done by Rickman.

One of my criticisms in the last movie was that at certain points where there should have been critical emotional high points, they fell flat. That wasn't the case in this film. At key moments when there was silence or low volume in the sound track you could hear the sniffling of people in the theater. I do believe that it was because the direction of the film pulled the tears out of the audience rather than this just being the end of the series. Speaking of the end, after the actors faces fade from the screen, you can leave the theater. Unlike the credits for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which had the interesting marauder's map as the background, there was nothing special done for this final film.

Now that the story of The Boy Who Lived has completed we'll need to keep an eye on next year's Oscars. The Potter series to date has drawn little acclaim from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a few nominations for categories like art direction, score and costumes. With the completion of eight films comprising almost 20 hours of screen time and grossing over $6 billion in sales which makes it the highest grossing series and that's not including Part 2 will the Academy show any love to the saga either to the last two films or to the series as a whole? We'll just have to wait and see. Regardless of what the Academy does, the fans will continue to shower the series with love and hope the J K Rowling has a lot more from the wizarding world via her Pottermore web site which releases in October.

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