Jul 18, 2011

Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

It is hard to review this movie without looking back at the ten years of Harry Potter that precede it. We literally saw those little kids grow up, witnessed as their world matured with them, grew darker, more serious and far more dangerous. There is a feeling of immensity to this franchise that few others have achieved. And even though the quality of the movies was uneven, and they had many problems that could not be denied, in the end the scope of the thing seems to be worth more than its mistakes. If you were ever captured by the magic of Harry Potter, you can't not see the conclusion to the boy wizard's story.

After the painfully boring disappointment that the previous movie was, I had pretty low expectations for Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, mingled - as always - with some hope to be proven wrong. My opinion of David Yates as a director is, shall we say, low. And when you've failed three times in a row, it's hard for people to expect much the fourth time, even if it's your last shot at getting it right.

Surprisingly though, the movie delivers. Beginning where the previous one ended - with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) claiming the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's grave - The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 follows Harry to the end of the road, going full circle back to Hogwarts, as it should.

The movie is epic. Considering the part of the book that it covers, most of it is one gigantic climax spread into two hours, and that of course leads to problems with pacing as is Yates' wont, but even so it is epic. As usual, the script follows the novel almost to the letter, so all of the fans' favorite moments are there.

I find it pointless to go over the story (everybody knows it) or acting (as that hasn't changed in the last years). Instead, I'll just focus on how the ending itself works. And it works wonderfully. Alexandre Desplat's soundtrack is much better suited to the grand tragedy that unfolds at Hogwarts than John Williams' original music from the first movies, and even though the pacing is all over the place ("uneven" doesn't begin to do justice to the awkward moments of slowness amidst scenes of action, revelations and drama), when the key moments happen, they are always satisfying. The final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort itself is magnificent, and Snape's memories actually got me choked up - something I no longer expected from that particular series.

So, is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 the best movie in the series? Hell no! In terms of overall quality it holds no candle whatsoever to The Prizoner of Azkaban or The Goblet of Fire. But it is the final chapter, it is the end of an era, and it is epic! And you should go see it, if for some weird reason you already haven't. With all its flaws, and even knowing how much better it could have been in the right hands, it is worth the ticket money.

So yeah, mischief managed. Let's see what the next Big Thing will be.


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