Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Directed by David Yates
As I write this review, I know I'll probably get flak for my lack of enthusiasm, my cynicism, my utterly meh opinion of this movie. But before anyone starts throwing cruciatus curses at me, let me start by saying this.
The Harry Potter movies aren't the greatest movies (ducks a fireball), but the stories are good stories and, more importantly, the franchise has raised an entire generation of readers and fans more devoted than any other series of books has ever produced. On this merit alone does the franchise earn at least four stars.
Down to the basics: HP 7.2 takes off where part one left off. There are chase scenes with lots of eye-popping 3-D graphics, epic battle scenes that look like a cross between The Lord of the Rings and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, loveable bumbling heroes, kissing scenes, Christ imagery...everything a good end to an epic should have.
For people who've read the books, boils down the original work as much as possible in order to wrap up all the loose ends in just over 2 hours. For non-HP fans, you'll follow along easily enough, assuming you've suspended disbelief over the past seven movies.
I don't need to say too much more because chances are you'll go see these movies regardless of what critics say. Let me be clear: it wasn't a bad movie. But it wasn't a great movie, either. What it was was the journey's end and we, as fans and viewers, had to see it through to the bittersweet end just as Harry did.
I've said this before: perhaps we've all grown up too much to feel the magic. In HP7.2, we're not given an opportunity to be surprised by this world anymore because, well, it wasn't the world we first walked into. It's terrifying and dreary, a wizarding world we really don't want to be in. The final battle lies ahead: we know we have to face all those characters we know and love, face inevitable losses and death and tragedy.
And yet, the tension of the inevitable face-off between the Boy Who Lived and You-Know-Who was completely missing. By the time Harry makes the decision to face Voldemort, I was pretty much yelling "Get it over with!" Not just because I knew what was going to happen, but also because I was bored by all the sitting and staring and exposition moments. And speaking of boredom, I think Voldemort stopped being scary right around the time we saw him with the evil league of evil having dinner at the Malfoys' dining table. How powerful can You-Know-Who possibly be if all he has are wand-waving goths around him doing his bidding? And how does Ralph Fiennes breathe with his nose smooshed down like that?
There are still great moments, and I admit, I cried a little. Alan Rickman's performance and flashback moments are the most touching in the series. And there is a huge sense of finality and loss in the end. We'll now be relegated to watching Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in other roles now...or else fade into obscurity, tragedy, or worse...
More than a week later, I still can't quite articulate everything about what I did or did not like about this film. Perhaps I am still in shock that there won't be another HP film to look forward to.
Or perhaps I'm simply grateful it is all over, and now we can move on.