A part of my childhood is over.
I suspect I’m not the only person thinking this way. Ten years after the first film, a series that has dominated my teens is now over for good. With the final offering controversially split into two parts, Deathly Hallows part 2 was always going to be an interesting beast. With the entire first film acting as a warm up to this, it was always going to be thrill-a-minute stuff, jumping headfirst into the action. Within the first half an hour, Gringotts Bank was already ransacked and another horcrux crossed off the shortening list. This set the tone for a story that was hurtling towards the eagerly-anticipated Battle of Hogwarts.
The parts before the battle still seemed a little matter-of-fact to me. I find it hard to believe that the trio would turn up to the bank without a real plan, and with no idea what they’re even looking for. It’s awfully convenient for Harry to just know that it’s the cup. It’s easy to look past this, but it is a recurring theme in the film – the clear differences between the book and the film, although this could be because I re-read the book last year. Don’t even get me started on Harry and Voldemort jumping from the top of Hogwarts, flying around and then – for some completely unknown reason – merging their faces.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get onto the positives. And despite the slightly negative start to this review, they were present in abundance. When the trio reach Hogwarts, the story really gets going, and you get a sense that this is the endgame. You literally hang on every word, pay attention to every detail and savour every minute remaining in the film. Harry is obviously the focus for everything, even putting Ron and Hermione into the shade. Surprisingly, Voldemort is not at his menacing best in this film, staying out of the action for a surprisingly long time. If you’re expecting to see him battling everybody inside the castle, then you might be a little disappointed. That said, there is no shortage of action. Professor McGonagall plays a fantastic role, Bellatrix LeStrange – a personal favourite of mine in the films, played by the excellent Helena Bonham Carter – menaces in both her infamous battle with Molly Weasley and her earlier Polyjuice-related role and, of course, Neville comes into his own and completely rules the school in his cardigan. Pun semi-intended. Hagrid was sadly conspicuous by his absence for a large portion of the film, which is a shame for another great character. Ron and Hermione’s long-awaited kiss was a bit strange, happening out of the blue – and oh my god, the epilogue was actually hilariously cringey, although I’ve always thought that would end up this way. Harry’s encounter with Dumbledore at post-life Kings Cross was a bit odd, too, but done well, and the Snape conclusion was touching.
Visually, it’s what you’d expect from the Harry Potter films by now. Computer magic brings the wizardry to life, Hogwarts looks stunning and the battle scenes are insanely good. It’s sad seeing the school crumbling under attack, but it adds to the idea that everything is at stake with this final, endgame battle. I decided to give the 3D a miss – I’ve heard it doesn’t really add much and is yet another example of this fantastic technology being used as an excuse to raise ticket prices – so I can’t comment on that aspect.
It’s actually harder than I thought to write a review for this film, because it literally was just one battle scene after another. Nobody can complain about this, though, and it definitely meant that part two didn’t follow it’s predecessor in being a bit short on substance. The ending – despite already knowing what happens – was satisfying, and the film as a whole was more than satisfying. I think you would struggle to come up with a better way to close the series. Any negative comments are probably just me being picky. If you haven’t seen it, I massively recommend you go as soon as possible.Noteworthy 20 July 2011
Tagged as movies, noteworthy, reviews
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