Director: Peter Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Duration: 130 mins
Do you like Harry Potter? Do you really really like Harry Potter? Have you read all seven tomes of magical hijinks and quite happily sat through the 18 hours of cinematic wizardry that precedes this film? If the answer is ‘Yes’, well then nothing written here really matters, you’re going to see this film. And rightly so, Deathly Hallows Part 2 is one of the best pictures in the whopper series, and proves a decent if slightly unsatisfying finale. If the answer is ‘No’ though, then avoid this film like a cruciatus curse (not that you’d know what that is…), it is aggressively intolerant of newcomers and offers little for anyone not already committed to the franchise.
The final movie finds Harry Ron and Hermione half way through their hunt for the horcrux, mystical trinkets that hold the secret to defeating the nefarious Lord Voldermort. But Voldermort has plans of his own and is now in possession of the Elder Wand, which is like a regular wand, but better, apparently. As the final battle looms both factions are drawn back to the place where it all began, Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. But these are details you should probably already know if you want to come out of this film with anything more than a headache. The picture is utterly uncompromising in this regard, and the plot moves too fast to take a moment to explain anything. Even fans could do with watching Part 1 again. There are so many magical concepts, doodads, people and places whizzing around this film that it can all be a little overwhelming.
Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s greatest triumph is in the way it unites all the films that preceded it. It utilizes locations, clips, story elements and characters from the franchise to great effect, bringing a terrific sense of cohesion to the series. This also affords the film a strange, wonderful air of nostalgia, misty-eyed memories of places and people only ever witnessed through these films and books. Where it falls down however, is as a satisfying finale. It rushes through the final 20 minutes, and is over before you can say ‘catharsis’. This would be a minor misstep were this simply a rushed ending in a two hour film. But in this case it’s the rushed ending to what is essentially one five hour film. At the tail end of an eight movie series. Fans will most certainly be leaving the theatre wanting more, and probably not in a good way.
The visual presentation of Part 2 is mostly superb. Set, makeup and costume design has always been the series strengths, and that is no different here. Visual effects have been less consistent, but are mostly top notch in this film; The CGI riddled action scenes are magnificent, and feel more solid than in a lot of other films this summer. The now iconic musical score returns, and John William’s memorable themes are used sparingly but to great effect. The music in the series has always superbly captured the mischievous and magical spirit of the HP universe. Here especially it does great justice to both the dark and light moments the film offers. The clearly rushed 3D presentation is an abject failure, however. Ghosting (the appearance of fuzzy double images) is rampant and immensely distracting. As ever, State urges you to not be swayed by 3D bullying and stick with films the way they are meant to be seen: in 2D.
If you fulfil the requirements (read every book, seen every movie, preferably recently), then Deathly Hallows Part 2 has much to offer. It’s packed with moments that will make fans laugh and smile, even cry and tremble. It’s a sad fact that despite being a truly great addition to the series, it stumbles as a conclusion to it. The End.