Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Review

by Ed Lau on July 16, 2011

I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve never read the books and have only seen each movie a single time a piece. I mean, I enjoyed four of them, I think while three others were rather forgettable. I can see the appeal of the books but they’re just not my cup of tea. However, since I got to see this movie a day early, I thought I had to write something for it.

It’s funny to see the huge transition between this film and the first where the heroes were half their current size. Overall, I think the Harry Potter series is a real achievement in film…a true eight-part series where the movies can stand alone but aren’t really complete unless they’re all watched together. I don’t think any other series has ever gone this long with true sequels. I mean, James Bond has gone on for over 20 movies but only the hero’s name has remained the same throughout. You can easily watch one and not the others but with Harry Potter, that would be just confusing. Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is unrelenting in the fact that it’s a second part to a larger film. If you haven’t seen Deathly Hallows, Part 1, then there’s very little in ways of recaps and too bad if you don’t get it.

The 8th movie finds the Harry Potter universe divided with Harry, Hermione and Ron hunting down various trinkets called horcruxes and the forces of evil led by Voldemort hunting them down and doing the usual world domination plan. Unlike the first movies that had a more cheerful and whimsical tone, Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is very dark and morose with lots of death and violence. Previous movies had some very moody moments and big battles as well but they were slotted in with scenes of the kids learning magic in classrooms or playing quidditch. I know this is the end of the books and it’s supposed to be the most “mature” of the series but it’s a bit of a bummer to see everyone wear frowns the whole time.

But I get it. We had our fun with previous movies and there has to be resolution somewhere. This had been a bit of a coming of age series but by the 8th movie, the kids had grown up and have to deal with…well, what they call real life. Unfortunately, I think that’s why this movie doesn’t work for me as a movie and why I’m sure I would absolutely hate this book if I actually read it.

While I could deal with the deux ex machina resolutions in previous movies where everyone is saved by things that happen with little or no reasonable explanation, things have built up so much by the time this last film rolled around that it deserved better. I mean, the owner of the Deathly Hallows was supposed to be the Master of Death and that really doesn’t come to fruition. J.K Rowlings built up the inevitable and only way Harry could defeat Voldemort and I thought that a little silly as well. Basically, it’s a whole lot of “oh, this happened because it did.”, hiding behind the fact that so little of the magic is explained that they can just make it up on the fly…and at times, I thought they had.

Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is well made, well shot and has very good performances by an all-star cast. I mean, behind Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint there are greats like Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman to name just a few. Ralph Fiennes, I thought, dominates the movie as a frightening Voldemort. Everyone else only shows up from time to time or in certain cases, for little more than extended cameos but Voldemort’s presence is felt even when he isn’t on screen. Helena Bonham Carter gives hilarious crazy eyes every time she’s on screen.

Some of the set pieces are very entertaining and the battles are very well done, with a great sense of scale and grandeur. I always thought that the fighting in the whole Harry Potter series is rather boring. They say it’s magic but really, they’re just fighting with guns shaped like sticks. Think about it…they’re just zapping each other with lasers most of the time. I would really prefer some actual magic…and you get hints of that here and there in the films but 90% of the time, they’re flinging glowing balls of light poop at each other.

I will say this though…the movie is very good at pulling your heartstrings. Even for someone with very little invested in these characters, I could feel their pain. I could see the heroism that boils inside some of them and I understood why they are willing to do what they do. The emotional part of the movie keeps it simple and unlike the plot or the magic or the lore, everyone can understand fighting to defend their loved ones. Everyone can appreciate sacrifice and honor.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge fan and haven’t spent hours reading wikis, learning about the Harry Potter world but I’ve always felt like not enough is explained. Even when things are, it’s usually after something important happens and nothing more about why it happened is said other than that’s just the way it is. I get why people go crazy for this sort of thing and I really enjoyed some of the Harry Potter movies but this last act isn’t one of them. As a movie, it is spectacular…worthy of the summer blockbuster label but as a story or rather the end of a very, very long story, it just falls short for me.

Verdict: 7.0 out of 10

in Entertainment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sourish @ Iphone 4 jailbreak August 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm

since the first harry potter movie , the graphics and animations have changed a lot , liking it

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Web Design Resource August 5, 2011 at 5:13 am

“horcruxes” the world of Harry Potter, i can give it 2.5/5

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Headwise January 26, 2012 at 4:23 am

I was like “whoa” with all the animations and magic. I have watched followed Harry Potter Movies and I can’t just help but be amazed till the end.

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Jogle March 13, 2012 at 2:26 am

I agree this wasent one of the best Harry Potter movies.
The first had a magical quality about it but this wore off with each new movie. As the children grew older they grew less believable, but thats just my opinion.

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