Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review
Steven's Rating: 8.5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 8.7/10
(5 reviews total)
Eight films in just about 10 years and no rusty wands in the bunch. The success of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series theatrically has been unprecedented in both box-office receipts and critical success. Perhaps Warner Bros. and producer David Heyman are to thank for their careful supervision, or original director Chris Columbus for helping to envision a foundation for future success and casting three kids who perfected their roles at age 10 and at age 20. Maybe it’s long-time “Potter” scribe Steve Kloves for finding a way to give both fans and studio heads exactly what they were looking for. Yet as the credits roll on, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
, the satisfying punctuation mark at the end of a true cinematic journey, it really all comes back to characters and storytelling — to Rowling.
“Part 2″ continues the final quest of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe): find and destroy the remaining three Horcruxes and finish Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) once and for all. To do so, Harry must sneak into the vaults at Gringotts bank and then make his inevitable return to Hogwarts, where a tremendous battle looms and his toughest test awaits.
The path seems as equally harrowing for Kloves down the stretch. The second half of the book — as with the final chapters in any saga, let alone “Potter” — contains a lot of dialogue to tie up loose ends and a variety of old (and even new) characters reasserting themselves in the narrative. In more than a few instances he’s faced with losing propositions, but mostly comes out ahead. For every rushed or unusually slow sequence, untimely bit of humor or random bit of dialogue, there’s something he’s personally added to make the film stronger. For example, a wonderful exception to much of what goes on in the film depicts Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione’s (Emma Watson) venture into the Chamber of Secrets, whereas the book never leaves Harry’s side. We get to revisit the second film’s chilling and impressive Chamber of Secrets set, which helps create a “this is coming full circle in a dark and mature way” that Yates strives for throughout the film.
As for the promise of action unlike anything we’ve ever seen, there’s definitely a spectacle to “Deathly Hallows Part 2,” but the infamous battle in Hogwarts is 80 percent background noise while Harry pursues the lost diadem, one of the final horcruxes. Essentially, the battle possesses no narrative(s) of its own. We see all the things the book mentions: giants and the spiders of Aragog and more, but it’s all tossed together into mere presentation. Yates continues to make the danger more gritty and palpable as he’s done with the last few films, but “Part 2″ does not blossom into an action epic. For the shortest “Potter” film of the lot, I would’ve exchanged 10 more minutes of my time to see some creative fight choreography and more of a flow to the battle, at the very least to give some of the story’s significant characters nobler deaths.
Part of this is rightfully to keep the focus on Harry, which Yates has always done well. We feel his journey, we know what’s at stake and we admire the person he’s become, the young man who knows what must be done. The overall character focus of “Part 1″ gets a bit diluted, especially in terms of the dynamic between Harry, Ron and Hermione, but Radcliffe truly emerges into a leading actor in its place. The level of increased maturity throughout the series, namely in Yates’ films, from the acting to the fact that the script respects the audience’s intelligence and doesn’t spell things out with excessive dialogue, couldn’t be more astounding. Little ones won’t get this movie at all other than figuring out who wins when it’s all over, but to be fair, who cares; the film gets to be much more profound in its tensest moments like any grand finale simply has to be.
On the topic of maturity, perhaps the most pleasantly surprising thing about the film is its stillness. Even at the end, there’s a calm and a sense of maturity suggesting that the triumph of good over evil doesn’t come with an Ewok celebration and fireworks montages, but a recognition of all that was sacrificed. Other than the way the film handles a couple romantic moments, there’s nothing cheesy or cliché about it. Most filmmakers would likely be inclined to give in to those types of things in a conclusion, but Yates stands firm with his grim and softly-spoken vision. The film ends happily, but not in the strictest sense of the word.
So in spite of some unmet expectations and rough script edges, this ending still turns out worthy of the beginning and much more, which simply gives final testament to the power of the characters and the story Rowling has told. Her sheer creativity results in the summation that is “Deathly Hallows Part 2,” a film that could not possibly be disliked unless you disapproved of nearly every chapter before it. Her words are the ones spoken in the most affecting moments of the films and her creations paved the legacy it will leave. Although few make it this far, I doubt most franchises could end on a final note that wasn’t better than every note before it and still leave its audience as happy and satisfied as “Part 2″ does.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Directed by David Yates
Written by Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling (books)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes
Other Player Affinity Reviews
"All good things must come to an end they say, and it would seem as if great and even amazing things must as well. With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
the final half of J.K. Rowling’s seventh novel is adapted in thrilling and infinitely satisfying fashion, capping off a nearly five-hour coup de grace when viewed in tandem with “Part 1.” The stakes are high here, the tone ever darker and the ensemble performances have never been stronger. The complexity of the final novel and the many details are thankfully handled in a coherent way while never stripping away the sophistication of the source material, with all the ever lengthening plot threads all converging in explosive fashion. Set design, scale and a sense of wonder have been a continuing staple of this franchise and it perhaps has never been executed more epically than it does in the finale. The siege of Hogwarts interspersed with Harry’s frantic quest to find and destroy the final horcruxes while his friends die around him is both bittersweet and gripping, inflated by some of the best special effects of the series. It will be sad to see these characters go, having been with them on the big screen for a decade, but since we all new this series was coming full circle, I am quite glad this was its farewell." Rating: 8.5/10
"All good things must come to and end, even Harry Potter. The eighth and final film in the enormously successful series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
, lives up the promise of its immediate predecessor, and provides the series and its fans with the send-off they deserve. It's a briskly paced film full of excitement. Every actor in the massive ensemble is at his or her best, and the sense of closure brings a great deal of emotion to the table. It's quite an achievement, one of the best in the series, the
best film of the summer, and totally deserving of the record-breaking box office and overwhelming praise it has received. Director David Yates, screenwriter Steve Kloves, and the rest of the team behind this film and the seven others should be proud of everything they've accomplished. They had a tough task on hand and were under a great deal of pressure, but for the most part, they did a magical job." Rating: 8.5/10
Kieran thought: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
is basically the Battle of Hogwarts and it is a really fun fantasy blockbuster. David Yates certainly makes a fast-paced movie, different to all the other Harry Potters because of its narrow timescale. To me “Deathly Hallows Part 2” is like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
, having a massive battle but also able to cut it with the actions of the main characters, letting the audiences follow the events easily. The film makes sure that it focuses on Harry’s quest and while “Part 1” looked at all three main characters, “Part 2” is definitely Harry’s story as he discovers his past and destiny: he is the Jesus of the Wizarding World. “Part 2” is certainly dark and the stakes are raised, yet still has some time for humor and is at times as downbeat as "Part 1." The action is great and Harry Potter fans will be satisfied with this conclusion." Rating: 9/10
Max thought: "'Part 2' definitely puts on a hell of a show, upping the action and overall scale leaps and bounds over the quieter and more reflective “Part 1.” Never has the cast felt more connected and organic than here and it’s damn lucky; with a number of prominent characters from past films dropping like flies, the fallout of their loss feels strong without being shoved down your throat. One sequence that stands out with power is Snape’s backstory, likely the worst-kept secret in entertainment, but still holding remarkable resonance in its onscreen depiction. All of these pieces in play are very good things, but on its own—much like “Part 1”—“Part 2” feels like only half of a complete puzzle. When you put the pieces together, you get a near five-hour powerhouse send-off, one of the best in film history. When split in two, you still have a great film, but one that feels rushed and unable to take a full breath before it’s all-too-sudden ending. Still, “Part 2” is one of the best “Potter” films out there and when played in conjunction with “Part 1,” a remarkable end to one of cinema’s milestone series." Rating: 9/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 8.7/10