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Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Jul 17, 2011 04:38AM ● By Wendy Sipple

This is the finale of good vs. evil and ultimately Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort. The bulk of the movie takes place back at Hogwarts School of Magic where an epic battle that not only features wizards, but a host of creatures serves as the backdrop. The main thrust of the story is Harry Potter’s quest to destroy the Horicrux’s (objects that contain a piece of Voldemort’s soul) and ultimately vanquish Lord Voldemort.

It’s interesting that Transformers 3 was released not two weeks ago because it makes it easy to juxtapose it with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Both films feature destruction and battle for the better part of their movies, but where Transformers sacrifices story, character, and any heart and places its faith in pure spectacle, the Harry Potter finale is based almost solely on emotion and relationships. There is a unique sense of loss watching the castle of Hogwarts destroyed because of the prominent nature it played in the series. It is easy to say the finale sacrifices action to pay off the loose ends of relationships as the main battle sequence mainly happens as a backdrop. This movie clearly rewards the fans of the series and is not intended in the slightest for newcomers, which is a good thing.
People who have not read the book are in for a particularly wild ride as it serves up several huge reveals that completely change the tenor of the ending battle. People’s opinions about the series heroes and villains will forever be altered. What’s a lot of fun about finale is two of my favorite actors take center stage in this film as both Alan Rickman and Ralph Feinnes get a much larger role. Feinnes performance as Voldemort is nothing short of spectacular. His ability to emote so much emotion through his eyes is not hindered the least by the make up he wears. Snape’s role in the story takes an unexpected twist and people will definitely be going back to previous movies to revisit the evolution of Snape’s character and his relationship with Harry Potter.
Like I mentioned above, the movie is not intended as a jumping in point, and quite honestly is just half a movie. Deathly Hallows Part 2 features the 30 to 40 characters that have been introduced over the previous seven movies in one way or another and it’s fun to see these characters return for a send off but the emotional impact will not be delivered to people foreign to the series. The spectacle of the film is something anybody can appreciate and there is quite a bit of it in this film. There is more action in the last movie than the other seven movies combined. It’s a crowd pleasing conclusion to what will go down as one of the greatest franchises and book to film successes in motion picture history.

********Do not read if you do not want to know what happens in the movie********

Having read all of the books I can say that many of the problems I had with the ending in the book are present in the movie. Mostly I felt that Harry Potter not dying at the hands of Voldemort the first showdown was a mistake, although I realize I am in a minority on this issue. Snape’s redemption in the movie is hurried but effective nonetheless. What the movie does do is suggest that Harry Potter may in fact be Sanpe’s son, although I don’t think they do that intentionally. The end battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort is much more impressive and nuanced on screen than in the book. However unlike the book where Harry Potter clearly exclaims the death curse and kills Voldemort, in the film they don’t yell curses so Voldemort’s death is more ambiguous in terms of Harry Potter ultimately murdering his foe. Fans of the books will take issue with how little screen time many of the supporting characters get, but considering they have a limitation on time I thought the film makers did what they could to have as many characters play a part as they could. I actually had wish they at least altered the first battle between Harry and Voldemort to let the audience believe Harry had in fact died longer. As it stands it plays out pretty much as it was written in the book.

********Safe to read again********

I thought the film makers (David Yates and Steve Kloves) took an impossible job in adapting the second half of the final book and delivered an excellent conclusion to the series. At times it gets a little overly sappy, but that is to be expected with eight films of emotional build up. This series will live on for generations thanks to the high production values and the determination of all involved to see the film through to the end. There really isn’t another series quite like this one. Once again the name of Harry Potter gave a PG-13 rating to what should probably be an R rated movie. The same name of Harry Potter will probably prevent one of the year’s best films be denied consideration for any end of year awards. But make no mistake, this film is indeed one of the year’s best much like the previous installments before it. The real question is will this in fact be the last story told of Harry Potter?

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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