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Review: ‘Deathly Hallows 2,’ clearly the best, ends Harry Potter saga

July 26th, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

By Jakob Asplund

One of the most expensive and ambitious cinematic projects has come to an end with the courtyard of Hogwarts Castle in ruins. It has been 10 years and eight films since our favorite wand-twirling young wizards and witches set their feet at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The finale is a dark and gritty adventure that carries considerable emotional weight, with secrets uncovered, battles fought and lives lost. But as beloved friends are found dead in the rubble, others find their courage.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the best Harry Potter movie in the famed J.K. Rowling series. The reasoning for this, through a financial assessment, is very simple: Screenwriter Steve Kloves has had one of the easier jobs in the history of literary adapting, falling just a bit short of the number one spot belonging to Stephanie Meyer, adapting her Twilight Saga onto the big screen. This is the final chapter in the series; people want to find out what happens.

The fan base, the over-hyped people who stand in lines for days in cloaks and costumes for tickets is large enough to motivate these cinematic projects financially. And despite Harry Potter being perhaps the best-realized movie franchise in the last 10 years, tickets would have sold out regardless of whether people thought the movies were going to be good or bad.

But Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a very well made movie as well because Director David Yates and company are holding nothing back. At times, the series has struggled with being too soft, but there is no place for childish fear or adolescent issues in the concluding war between Lord Voldemort and the young Harry Potter, whom we’ve watched grow up.

This is a grim, beautifully shot epic scale war movie with magic and wizardry. It literally hits ground running, picking off where Deathly Hallows Part 1 left off. Harry, Ron and Hermione are hunting down horcruxes, magical items into which the dark lord Voldemort has transferred bits of his own soul in order to master death itself.

As they conquer all obstacles put in their way, Hermione, Ron and Harry bump into pretty much all the memorable characters in the series, including the dead ones. And as they finally take back the castle which was once their school and home, they have to witness its walls coming down as it is torn into a battle ground for the final conclusion of good versus evil.

Despite its action sequences and jaw-dropping effects, brought in by the help of visual effects supervisor Tim Burke, it is the slower moments that bring this movie to life. If you haven’t read the books, following the entire movie series now becomes essential, as we see our favorite heroes at their best. Neville Longbottom discovers his warrior within, Ron and Hermione finally get it on, sort of, and Harry´s emotional roller coaster finally leads him to his destiny.

All of this, however, is surpassed by Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Severus Snape. Why more time wasn’t given to exploring Snape is a mind-boggler, as Rickman´s subdued but rich performance was consistent throughout all eight movies.

As Voldemort, the one who could not be named for so long, but towards the end could be, Ralph Fiennes adds grotesque gestures and facial twitches making him even more…attractive. The villains in this story are far too interesting for the amount of screen time they´ve been given and this especially goes for the Voldemort-Snape relationship.

But then again, this is the problem with almost all cinematic adaptions of literary work. Balance is off at times. And that is really the movie´s only weak spot. Enough time is not given to certain elements and some moments do feel rushed. The fight between Molly Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange is over before it even starts. Some of the characters are just left dead without us actually seeing what happens to them, and many of the moments with characters from the earlier installments could have been moved to the much slower-paced Deathly Hallows Part 1 to even it out a bit. It is always important to stay true to the original material, but movies are not books, and lack the luxury of pacing in many ways.

It is most likely with a heavy heart that many followers say good-bye to the boy wizard and his friends. But regardless of whether they are sad it’s all over, or relieved they don’t have to bring their kids to the movies dressed as wizards anymore, the cinematic adventure of Harry Potter gets the good-bye it deserves in Deathly Hallows Part 2.

The Potter finale takes the number one spot of epic blockbusters of the season, beating even Transformers 3. At the same time it brings an emotional conclusion to the series and lets it go out with a magic bang.

And as mentioned earlier, if you are not a Potter fan, the reason for seeing the movie is because it’s well made entertainment.


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