It’s only been a few months since my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, but here I am again reviewing Harry Potter for the last time. With Deathly Hallows Part 2, J.K. Rowling and the film crew she keeps on puppet strings wrap up the final volume of her epic wizardry series. The first Deathly Hallows movie focused on the three young wizards wandering around the country looking for Horcruxes, or objects containing pieces of Voldemort’s soul. This second film focuses almost entirely on the final battle.
During their mission to find and destroy Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes, Harry, Ron and Hermione find themselves back at Hogwarts helping the Order of the Phoenix lead the students in a final showdown with the Death Eaters.
I’m going to go ahead and review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, even though I know it’s useless. At this point, nothing is going to stop J.K. Rowling from amassing enough money to buy the United Kingdom and turn it into a Harry Potter theme park. The sad part is that I would totally visit the new Potter-UK, because I think the franchise, including this movie, is awesome.
My major worry with Deathly Hallows Part 2 was that in contrast to the first half, in which hardly anything happened, the second half would be a noisy, chaotic scramble from beginning to end. But it didn’t turn out like that at all. The film picks up directly after the first one, with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) buying his old house elf friend Dobby. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Except for some haunting Celtic flute music, it’s very quiet.
Here lies Dobby, who was very short.
Harry then convinces Griphook (Warwick Davis), a goblin he and his friends rescued in the last film, to sneak them into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault in the notoriously secure wizard bank Gringotts. To do this, Hermione (Emma Watson) has to Polyjuice potion herself into looking like Bellatrix, which leads to the unusual and hilarious situation of Helena Bonham Carter dressed like Bellatrix Lestrange but acting like Hermione trying to act like Bellatrix Lestrange.
Hello, I am crazy and I would like my stuff. Please.
They manage to filch Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, which is a Horcrux, and escape on the back of a dragon. Their search for the next Horcrux takes them to Hogsmeade where they meet Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth. Aberforth is played by Ciaran Hinds, who is the latest famous British actor to put in a cameo in this most famous British series.
The credits for Harry Potter always read like a list of past BAFTA winners.
Aberforth helps them sneak into Hogwarts to look for the Horcrux, where they meet Neville Logbottom (Matthew Lewis) and their friends, who are leading a resistance movement from the secret room where they used to practice in the fifth film. Neville assumes that they’re here to lead a rebellion, and then suddenly, they are. The members of the Order of the Phoenix show up out of nowhere and suddenly they’ve retaken Hogwarts in about thirty seconds and are securing it for the final battle against Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and the Death Eaters, who are now massing outside. It’s rather jarring, actually.
Here we are! Give us back the school you fiends!
While Neville and Seamus (Devon Murray) set out to disable the bridge to Hogwarts in a subplot reminiscent of an abbreviated version of The Bridge on the River Kwai, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and the other teachers prepare the defenses, which include a giant translucent energy shield and an army of stone statues. There are some pretty funny jokes up to this point:
MCGONAGALL (excited like a schoolgirl): I’ve always wanted to use that spell!
The way that director David Yates shot the action – mostly wide angle – allows the audience to take in the full measure of visual chaos. With the appropriate sound effects, it would have been headache inducing – especially since it’s so long. But luckily everyone seemed to realize that would be too much, so we float over the battlefield in near total silence, which makes it very haunting. Unfortunately, without any comic relief, the audience tended to laugh in inappropriate places during the final two thirds of the movie, such as when Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) reveals his true allegiance.
SNAPE: I’ve sacrificed my entire life for unrequited love.
The battle is mostly a time-buying strategy that allows Harry, Hermione, and Ron (Rupert Grint) to find and destroy the rest of the Horcruxes. One of the first things they do is battle their old school nemesis Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and his goons over the lost tiara of Rowena Ravenclaw in a storage room that’s on fire. It’s an action packed but unnecessarily long segment. If I were Steve Kloves (the screenwriter), I would have cut that, along with most of the first movie, in order to make one longer but balanced Deathly Hallows movie.
THIS is the important part, not searching storerooms for old junk.
I can’t tell you much about the plot beyond this point without spoiling things for those people who haven’t read the books, but suffice it to say that during the sad part everyone in the theater was sobbing, and Neville, who has grown rather heroic during the course of the last few books, finally gets his chance to save the day and make a really lame, clichéd speech about it.
They’re not really dead because they live on in our hearts, etc.
What a lot of people really seemed to be looking forward to, judging from the way they cooed when it came on, was the last scene of the film, which is set 19 years after the final battle and features several of the main characters grown up and sending their own children off to Hogwarts. I liked it too, but I thought it was funny that the only thing that changed about the characters in 19 years is that they started dressing frumpy, rather like Ron Weasley’s mum (Julie Walters).
She looks like she’s wearing a housecoat made out of an old throw blanket
that someone kept on the sofa in their cottage.
I won’t bother recommending Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 to you. If you’ve seen the others, you know you want to see this one already. If you haven’t, chances are you’re smart enough to figure out that you shouldn’t go straight into the last movie in an epic series. I think the Deathly Hallows movies could have been improved with some sweeping cuts that would have allowed them to be a single film, but that’s just me. Go on and buy your ticket now. And don’t forget to bring your toy wand to the show.