Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Reviewby Homer Yen (homeryen88 AT gmail DOT com)
July 19th, 2011
Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - Might and Magic by Homer Yen
I start my review of the final installment of the Harry Potter series by quoting the last thoughts from my last review after watching "Deathly Hallows, Part 1."
There was once a time when suspense meant winning a Quidditch match or asking someone to the Yule Ball. And, I miss those simpler and more whimsical times. As I eagerly await and eagerly hope for a great finale, let me quote something that Dumbledore once said to Harry. "Once again, I ask too much of you." After 9 years of our lives, they owe us at least that much.
Back in 2001, George W. Bush started his first term as President; the very first installment of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy ("The Fellowship of the Ring") was released; "Lady Marmalade" was the #1 song of the year. And that year, Harry Potter was introduced to filmgoers with "The Sorcerer's Stone". With a total of 8 films (spanning the 7 books) that have woven together characters and complexities, some have thoroughly enjoyed the comeuppance of the boy wizard while others have merely endured it.
And while I've felt that the films' ability to captivate were more effective in some of the installments (in particular, "Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Goblet of Fire"), it was less effective in the others. But the Harry Potter saga comes to an exciting and satisfying conclusion as destinies are revealed, opaque background details are explained, and the threesome of Harry/Hermoine/Ron have their final confrontation with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
To be quite honest, while this is a Harry Potter film, it feels unlike any of the other Harry Potter films, including Part 1. This time, there's more clarity in terms of what the three heroes need to do; there's a greater sense of purpose as to why sacrifices need to be made; there's more urgency as Hogwarts School becomes ground zero for an inevitable battle in which the teachers and students must defend themselves against Lord Voldemort and his encroaching evil minions. Hogwarts is where things all began back in 2001 and it's appropriate that it's where all things will end. And, by staging the final encounter here, it gives Harry (and us) a chance to revisit and say goodbye to the many beloved staff and students that we've met over the years.
There is also a level of imagination at work here that is unexpected but thoroughly exciting, even by Harry Potter standards. The film starts off in full-throttle fashion as the three quicken their pace to destroy the remaining four-of-seven Horcruxes (pieces of the Lord's soul). This is a central plot point to the upcoming penultimate battle and if you need a refresher on Horcruxes, I refer you to this imdb.com vignette.
The HP films have always been more-than-competent with its cast of distinguished actors and its true-to-the-author's visualizations. What has always hindered many of the films though is the pedestrian pacing. Just like in real life, more gets done when a deadline looms. And, in getting it done before the deadline, "The Deathly Hallows, Part 2" wraps everything up tidily but also successfully carves for itself an identity all its own that separates it from "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Lord of the Rings". Those who have enjoyed Harry Potter over the years will be thrilled and even those who have endured Harry Potter over the years will be appreciative. Again, going back to Dumbledore's request of Harry ("Once again, I ask too much of you."), The Boy Who Lives delivers everything that we had hoped for.
S: 1 out of 3
L: 0 out of 3
V: 2 out of 3
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