Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

If you haven't read the book, I have a feeling you're going to feel cheated. Actually, you're going to feel cheated if you did read the book. More care should have been spent on scenes that actually matter with regard to character arc instead of scenes where the characters stand around and do nothing.
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All good things must come to an end.

****DISCLAIMER****

This review is for entertainment purposes only. So who was the person that started the whole 'napkin on your lap' restaurant trend? Because I'd really like to choke him with one. Choke him with a restaurant, not a napkin.

The sexy cinematic world of Harry Potter started way back in 2001 when The Sorcerer's Stone was released in theaters. Millions of Harry Potter fans polished their wands, threw on their capes, put paper mache owls on their arms and went to the movies in droves to see their favorite wizarding characters come to life. Ten years and millions and billions and trillions of dollars later, it all ends today with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. They had to turn the last movie into two parts because the Deathly Hallows book is the relative size of a small country.

Does Deathly Hallows: Part 2 close out the series in a satisfactory way for fans? Yes and no. Deathly Hallows 2 is like that one girl you've dreamed about sleeping with for years and when you finally did you kind of just looked at her after and went, “Meh.”

Harry (Daniel Radcl ... oh God, you know their names already), Ron, and Hermione just buried that ugly little Persian guy Dobby, who took a knife in the heart from Bellatrix Lestrange before using apparition to get to safety. I am going to assume you've seen Part I and that you know the magical terms I'll be using because if you haven't you should be reading something else. The dark lord Voldemort is still after Harry, who is continuing his quest to hunt down and destroy all of the horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemort's soul. Destroy all of those and you can finally kill Voldemort. Harry finally realizes what he must do and confronts the dark lord once and for all for their final showdown at Hogwarts.

This is without a doubt the most action-packed movie of the series. Things start off pretty quickly when Harry, Ron, Hermione and that ugly goblin guy from the first film head to Gringott's bank to see if Bellatrix kept a horcrux in her vault. This leads to a very exciting scene with cups and chalices that multiply when touched. (Same with boobs. Least in my dreams, anyway.) There is also a really exciting sequence involving a dragon that makes great use of today's CGI tech and 3D, should you happen to accidentally stumble into a theater showing it in that ghastly format.

Your cup runneth over Harry! Haw haw!

Your cup runneth over Harry! Haw haw!

Deathly Hallows 2 isn't very complicated when it comes to actual plot -- destroy horcruxes, avoid the fight, kill the dark lord -- but I wish screenwriter Steve Kloves, who penned all the Potters except one, would have added in more of the smaller details that readers of the book were able to get. If you haven't read the book, I have a feeling you're going to feel cheated. Actually, you're going to feel cheated if you did read the book. More care should have been spent on scenes that actually matter with regard to character arc instead of scenes where the characters stand around and do nothing. I'll get back to this in a minute.

Like to see grown adults point hard long things at each other? Then this is for you, big boy. The wand waving is in overdrive when Voldemort and the Death Eaters break through Hogwarts' defenses and attack the school, resulting in a colorful magic sparking display of fireworks only rivaled by something you'd see at Disneyland or your local gay pride parade. They went all out on the special effects for the last film, and you'll see every dollar spent was used onscreen. Between the dementors, giants, wizards, witches, dragons, and spiders, it's a CGI buffet for the eyes. I was really impressed by the film's look and the 3D, while passable, was again unnecessary. I'm praying that studios eventually drop this dead format. It's uglier than Voldemort and doesn't enhance the viewing experience.

Watch where you point that thing.

Watch where you point that thing.

My big problem with Deathly Hallows 2 isn't the film's look, it's the film's heart. Key scenes are missing that emotional punch that could have really satisfied long-time Potter fans like myself. Had David Yates spent more time (and I don't know how much of the film was left on the cutting room floor) in certain scenes I probably would have been crying like a baby. A sequence involving Severus Snape, perhaps the most important character in this series, should have been longer and included more detail. In fact, I don't know why it didn't include more detail. I won't do spoilers in case you haven't read the book, but let's just say there's a key sequence when Harry finally learns about Snape's true motives and how they got to where they are now. Had Yates stretched this out, and focused more time on it instead of wasting our time on scenes where Harry argues with a ghost, then I would have been happier with the end result.

The final confrontation with Voldemort also lacked the emotional impact I thought it would have. After all of the build-up, the end just kind of ... fizzles. Oh sure, it's cool to watch, but it doesn't exactly shock you. Neville Longbottom also shows us his courage and plays an important role in helping to try and kill Voldemort; but again, it doesn't have the heavy emotional impact it should have. When the dust settles, you're given a second before realizing “That's it?” A lot of series regulars die and even that feels glossed over so they could rush to the epilogue. It's almost as if Yates got ... lazy. I wonder what a director like Spielberg or Nolan would have done with this final chapter. Great. I just pissed myself off thinking that.

Harry Potter4

The epilogue wraps things up but again, another minute of footage with key interactions between certain characters would have made a world of difference with regard to the ending of the movie. If you haven't read the book, you're going to ask, “Why was there no resolution between so-and-so characters?” It really annoyed the hell out of me that they didn't spent more time in the editing room fine-tuning scenes like this. And the kid actors they found in the epilogue were terrible. Editing makes or breaks your film and I hated the editing in this movie. I felt cheated.

Deathly Hallows 2 is a satisfactory completion to the series, but hardcore fans like myself will be wondering why more care wasn't taken with certain scenes. I'm not going to get emotional just because I know the series is over. (I used that box of tissues years ago.) What I will get emotional about is the fact that director David Yates decided to put his wand down at the last minute and let the magic dissipate instead of ending the series with the bang it deserved.

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