Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part Two (2011)
This is it, finally. The very last chapter in the life of the most famous boy wizard who ever lived. Those who had already worked through every book in the series may have been sitting there smugly, knowing how everything was wrapped up, while moviegoers shuffled and fidgeted and waited impatiently for the grand finale but it was absolutely worth the wait.
Following on, naturally, from the events in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part One, this movie makes up for the bloated feel and disappointment of its immediate predecessor by providing scene after scene of exciting revelations and whizz bang action. Everyone knows that Harry must end up facing Voldemort. There are still other items that need found in an attempt to weaken Voldemort and give everyone a chance by the time the final battle comes around. And Ron and Hermione need to just stop giving each other longing looks and admit their feelings for each other. So fans of the films will be pleased to know that J. K. Rowling and those involved in making the movies feel exactly the same way. This may not please everyone all of the time but it’s certainly an abject lesson in satisfying franchise resolution (despite a bit of a mis-step in a poorly executed epilogue).
I will happily admit that I was nervous going into this movie. It had to do something special to end the whole series, it had to satisfy audiences but also entertain. The fact that it was the second part of an instalment I viewed as one of the weakest in the franchise also had me worried. But the trailer had raised my expectations and I brought my own attachment to the material and goodwill to the experience. Thankfully, everyone involved brought their “A game” along and the end result is quite spectacular, easily one of the finest resolutions to such a lengthy movie event that I’ve ever seen. It’s far from a perfect film but it sits up there with the other, better movie adventures of Potter and co. and almost edges ahead to become the best of the lot.
It’s easy to comment, once again, on just how much Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have improved from the first film but the plain fact is that they had no choice – with such a stellar supporting cast it was surely either a case of “ship up or ship out”. Tom Felton has always been great at sneering and hating our hero so he’s as good as ever while Matthew Lewis, as Neville Longbottom, has grown into character onscreen in a way that’s, arguably, just as impressive as any transformations we can easily see in the three leads. Alan Rickman is as wonderful as ever in the role of Severus Snape, Ralph Fiennes gets more time to tear up the screen as big, bad Voldemort, Warwick Davis takes on a couple of roles and is fun, while a number of scenes are filled out by great cast members like Ciaran Hinds, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, Evanna Lynch, John Hurt and many, many more.
David Yates directing, and Steve Kloves providing the screenplay, will come as no shock to those keeping their eyes on the credits of the last couple of movies. The two have always managed to provide something at least worth seeing on the big screen but here they outdo themselves. Action set-pieces are well realised and exciting, the pacing is perfect with some great realisations being made a bit late in the day and plenty of drama in between the huge battle sequences and the heart of the whole series, and not JUST this movie, beats in a way that’s distinctly . . . . . . . . . well . . . . . . . . . . Potter. It’s quite a wonderful, and wonderfully entertaining, sight to behold. A superb swansong for perhaps the finest family entertainment of the 21st century, so far.
DIRECTOR: DAVID YATES
WRITER: STEVE KLOVES (BASED ON THE WORK OF J. K. ROWLING)
STARS: DANIEL RADCLIFFE, RUPERT GRINT, EMMA WATSON, ALAN RICKMAN, RALPH FIENNES, MICHAEL GAMBON, TOM FELTON, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, WARWICK DAVIS, MATTHEW LEWIS, CIARAN HINDS, ROBBIE COLTRANE
RUNTIME: 130 MINS APPROX