Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

11 Aug

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Year: 
2011
Director: 
David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling
Starring: 
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Domhall Gleeson, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Kelly Macdonald, Helen McCrory, Gary Oldman, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalie Tena, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
Runtime: 
130 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
8.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 
97%

 

It’s taken me forever to do my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. And that’s not because it took me forever to watch it, because I was at the midnight screening on opening day, and I’ve watched it four extra times since, both with and without those pesky 3D glasses. But I’ve taken forever to do the review because, I just simply don’t want this to end. I’ll try to keep it professional and all, but if this feels a bit too fanboy-ish at times, bear with me, Harry Potter represents a huge chunk of my life, I have read the books multiple times each, have seen all eight films a bunch of times, and I consider Jo Rowling the be one of the greatest minds of the last century.

But what’s so awesome is that to celebrate this final chapter in the Harry Potter saga you don’t really need to be as huge a fanboy as I am, because this is after all the most profitable film franchise of all-time, and right up there as one of the best film series ever. Eight films in eleven years, over $7.5 billion dollars in cumulative worldwide box-office grosses, with this last one already having passed the $1 billion mark on itself, currently standing as the third highest-grossing worldwide film of all-time. And that’s just the commercial part of it all, the stuff that correlates with all the Harry Potter merchandise you’ve bought and seen in the past decade, with the theme park in Orlando, with just how much an influence the Harry Potter brand has had in the new millennium. But what’s truly amazing is that the films are unequivocally great, with an average 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, with this one actually scoring a series-high 97%. Those are the statistics, the numbers that reflect just how profitable, and more importantly just how great, the film series has been. What it doesn’t show is just how much it has influenced the people who really love these books and films, and who really do feel as though a part of our lives ended as those end credits started rolling.

But anyways, I guess we must talk about this final film specifically, one that I absolutely loved every single time I’ve seen it, and that probably passed the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as my favorite film in the series. I loved it because, even though there was that 3D aspect, you didn’t get the feeling as though something was there just to make a big buck, you really got the sense that they divided the spectacular final novel into two to service this unbelievable series in a way worthy of its epic scale, and this film was just tremendously well-made. And you contrast this with the previous two films in the franchise and you really get that awesome sense of closure that lacked in the prior two movies, which were just all about the set-up and not as terrific as stand-alone films, this one manages to deliver closure and is purely about the pay-off from being part of a decade-long journey, it’s all literally about the big final battle of Hogwarts, of all the good guys agains the bad guys, of Harry against Voldemort, of good against evil.

Not to mention that we got some sensational performances in the midst of all the spectacular action, as well. Our three young leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint all shone in the past two films, really embedding a lot of themselves into the characters, traits that maybe weren’t as obvious when we read the books, but that now we can’t imagine the characters without. And then there are the adult castmembers. The Harry Potter film series has been consistently amazing in recruiting the best of the best of British acting royalty for the supporting adult roles, from Michael Gambon to Alan Rickman to Emma Thompson to Imelda Staunton, the people involved in these films are all insanely talented, and in this film they get to really show off their props.

Mr. Rickman as Snape was specially incredible here, as it is in this film that the veil of secrecy that had shrouded his character in the previous seven films gets lifted and we get a look at this real agenda, and he does a stellar job at showing this to us, so much so that some people are already generating buzz for him for a Best Supporting Actor nomination come Oscar time, but that’s a subject I’ll tackle later on. Then there’s the unbeatable Maggie Smith, who really gets the crowds going as Professor McGonagall here and has a couple of seriously neat moments that she rocks. Michael Gambon in the King’s Cross scene I think delivered his best Dumbledore performance yet. And Ralph Fiennes took a page out of the Heath Ledger playbook and this time around made Voldemort seem like a person equal parts evil and mad, and it was his best turn as the Dark Lord yet, a hugely entertaining performance to watch and let fuel the whole movie. All of these great actors you get the sense are really just having the time of their lives as these characters.

I’ll actually end the review right now because if I go into specifics this will never end. Suffice it to say, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a truly masterful film, a movie that somehow lived up to the huge expectations of providing a tremendously satisfying finale to one of the best series of films ever. It’s just a huge bundle of thrills, acted ridiculously well by a bunch of young actors with huge futures ahead of them alongside the crème de la crème of British acting, and with its stunning visuals it really shows us, for a final time, how magical a film experience can truly be. This is what all franchises should aspire to be, the fact people keep coming to see this films speaks not only to the built-in audience, but to the fact that they never messed a film up, they’ve all be amazing, and this is what a conclusion to this should feel like.

As for the Oscar part of it all, which is talked about quite a bit these days regarding to this film, I think it’s safe to assume Warner Bros. will heavily push this one across the board, and while I think Cinematography, Special Effects, Art Direction and Score are all real shots, it’ll be interesting to see if Mr. Rickman gets that acting nod and if the film can crack the now-expanded list of Best Picture nominees. I think it should definitly get a Best Picture nomination, I won’t pretend this one has a shot at actually winning that award, but a nomination would be incredible to celebrate the decade-worth of entertainment this film has given millions across the world, and I really do hope it gets it because those tears you experienced as Harry was in the Forbidden Forest making that final walk, or as you saw the Prince’s tale finally unfold in the pensieve, show just how much an effect this franchise has had on our lives. And, corny as this may be for a final line, I will say one thing, the books and films may have now ended, but the magic truly does live on.

Grade: A+

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