The final adventure for Mr. Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger is so jam-packed with story strands to be tied up, character arcs to be completed and thrills to be had that it has to be spread over two whole movies. And that still may not be enough room to fit in everything that fans of the novel loved.
Those who don’t know all about Harry and the Hogwarts lot by now should really go away and come back when they’ve caught up. This is not a film for newcomers. Hell, I’m not a newcomer and I still got confused a number of times during the first hour or so. Because rarely has a blockbuster come along with such a rich, intricate history leading up to it (speaking strictly of onscreen activity, of course). As much a victim of it’s own success, the Harry Potter franchise is a juggernaut that will just use it’s momentum to get to the very end and to hell with anyone who can’t keep up.
We’ve had death on a couple of occasions now so fans should be used to the darker turn that events have been taking but when we join our wizarding friends this time around it certainly looks like it could well be the darkest of the dark days. Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes again) and his Death Eaters are still after Harry but this time the dark lord has also decided to seek out one wand, more powerful than any other, that should finally allow him to end the boy’s life. Harry, Hermione and Ron spend most of their time simply staying hidden while trying to achieve their own objectives, surely the second and final FINAL part will have more confrontation scenes and the major face-off that we all know must happen.
Clocking in at just a tad under two and a half hours, this particular Harry Potter movie still has to cram a hell of a lot of information and action into it and so never drags. Sadly, it never really hits any heights of excitement either.
Perhaps it’s simply because the previous instalments have already spoiled us with visual spectacle and magical shenanigans but this instalment feels quite drab, with most of the big set-pieces never really setting any fire in your belly or properly lighting up the screen.
David Yates once again does well to keep everything in order, helped by a script written by Steve Kloves (responsible for all but one of the movie adaptations), but there’s still just a little bit too much for viewers to take in with a lot more left unsaid that would have helped. It’s fair to say that fans of the novel will get more out of the movie but it’s equally fair to say that this is the first movie in the series that fails to stand on it’s own feet in the world of cinema.
The cast have all been doing this long enough and they ARE the characters, no fault there. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, David Thewlis, Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton, Brendan Gleeson, etc are excellent.
It’s was also great to see Peter Mullan, David O’Hara, Rhys Ifans and others getting in on the act.
Highlights from such a lengthy movie? Sadly, for me, only two. One undercover excursion into the Ministry Of Magic was a great mix of humour and thrills and there is a wonderful animated sequence explaining just what the deathly hallows are and how they came about. Nothing else stood out although nothing ever dips below average, the series retains a certain level of quality even in it’s lesser outings.
DIRECTOR: DAVID YATES
STARS: DANIEL RADCLIFFE, EMMA WATSON, RUPERT GRINT, RALPH FIENNES, ALAN RICKMAN, JASON ISAACS, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, ROBBIE COLTRANE
RUNTIME: 146 MINS APPROX