Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
Nominated for 3 awards.
Nominated for Art Direction (Stuart Craig, Stephanie McMillan), Makeup (Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin), and Visual Effects (Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson).
January 3, 2013.
Save 2012, I have read the Harry Potter books every summer since my fifteenth birthday. I am one of those people who reads all of the books before the next movie comes out, dresses up as Hermione, and goes to stand in line for the midnight premier before most people get off work. I own the first four books in paperback and all of their bindings are taped and glued and will soon require rubber bands. I own the remaining three books in hard back because I picked them up at midnight the day they were released.
What can I say about a film and a series that has been so near and dear to my heart for almost a decade? I didn’t quite grow up with it–I think I didn’t see the first film until I was fifteen because there had previously been a lot of stigma about reading a book about witches and wizards in my community. I didn’t even know who Harry Potter was until the fourth book came out and it was on the news. How could such a famous book have three before it and I had never heard of it before? After watching the first film, however, I was hooked and never went back.
I am a fan.
However, I have always felt as if the films were a let down. Such is the curse of knowing the books too well. When something as “small” as the color of Harry’s eyes is done incorrectly, the whole world shatters and one loses faith in the filmmakers. When the actors that have been chosen to play the three main characters are pretty near hopeless in front of the camera, there is something wrong.
Despite their flaws, the Harry Potter films are always worth watching in my opinion. In fact, because I haven’t read the books in a longer time than usual, I might appreciate them more. One of the biggest things that endears them to me still is the fact that we watched Harry, Ron, and Hermione grow up on screen. Just as they grew into the people J.K. Rowling intended them to be right before our eyes, the actors who played them grew in their skills and understanding of the characters so much that they are acted as if they are one in the same. By the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I can hardly think of Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe, because they don’t exist any more. They have embodied their characters so well that no one else in the world could ever be Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
The two Deathly Hallows installments are on a completely different level from the films before them. From an artsy, character study, true to the book sort of aspect, I preferred the first installment. However, from an action, well adapted, very visually cinematic sort of aspect, I thought that part two did the book extreme justice and am incredibly pleased with it as the last film. For the first time out of all eight films, all loose ends are tied, all plot lines are closed, and Voldemort is finally finished. There is no cliffhanger or promise of more adventures next year. There is promise that life and love will go on, but we are given a glimpse of that life and then our Harry Potter journey is complete. Though bitter sweet, I can’t believe that it could have been done much better.
The beginning of the film is slightly abrupt due to the fact that we jump right in after part one. The initial conversations to establish the rest of the film are a bit slow, quiet, and tedious, and for those who haven’t read the books they are a bit confusing. Once the trio gets up and begins searching for horcuxes again, however, the pace picks up immediately and it is a non-stop ride until the end of the film.
If you don’t know what a horcrux is, it is an object that contains a bit of someone’s soul and therefore the person to whom the soul belongs is unable to die. Voldemort believes that seven is the most powerful number and has made himself as many horcuxes, which means it has taken Harry, Ron, and Hermione exactly two and a half movies to track all of them down.
Through the heavy complexity of J.K. Rowling’s last book, this film is lighter in its story and is drawn much more to the visual action sequences. I appreciated the wordless communication of much of this film, and indeed the most powerfully moving sequence involving Snape’s past needed little narration to be so brilliant. The acting is superb and all of the adult supporting cast is at their best, again mentioning Alan Rickman, but also Maggie Smith whose line “I’ve always wanted to use that spell!” was my favourite in the film.
What was adapted so well and true to the book in part one was done equally well in the second. Many might disagree because the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort was quite altered, but I actually believe that the added elements were, one, more cinematic, and two, more realistic. I actually found that part of the book a bit of a let down, and was pleased that movie-Voldemort puts up such a good fight. After all, he is a brilliant wizard, despite how he has misused his genius.
All in all, I would count both parts one and two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be among my favourite movies, and although I would not quite as readily vouch for the six movies preceding them, I would recommend movies seven and eight to anyone. Please see them, buy them, own them, and love them! The end has come, but for the next generation it has yet to begin!