Jun 10, 2015

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)


Anticipation was almost the death of me in the summer of 2011. After a whole year of waiting for the conclusion to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Part 2 was finally here. Like I had mentioned in my review for it, Part 1 ends in a way that is both extremely satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time. It felt like I had aged ten years since Part 1 and no way was I going to miss it. I was far from the only one either.

It's amazing really to think just how far the Harry Potter series had come in those ten years and how consistently good they've been. Harry Potter mania is still bubbling to this day which makes the development of an additional movie set in the same universe no surprise. The franchise has the potential to be a reliable cash cow for Warner Brothers for a really long time if they play their cards right. As much as I'm skeptical about the Hollywood sequel machine, I will admit that I'm cautiously optimistic for the future of Harry Potter movies, especially if J.K. Rowling is involved. But Warner Bros. I beg you, please don't break my heart like MGM/New Line Cinema did.

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At a Glance


Genre: adventure, fantasy, mystery
Directed by: David Yates
Produced by: David Barron, David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, etc.
Written by: Steve Kloves
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Running time: 130 minutes
Production company: Warner Bros., Heyday Films, Moving Picture Company
Distributed by: Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Entertainment, Panorama Studios, etc.
Country: United Kingdom, United States
Language: English
Budget: $250,000,000 (shared with Part 1)
Box office: $1,341,511,219 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, John Hurt, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, Ciarán Hinds, Kelly Macdonald, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Warwick Davis, Natalia Tena, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Domhnall Gleeson, Clémence Poésy, Devon Murray, Jessie Cave, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Chris Rankin, David Bradley, Dave Legeno, Geraldine Somerville, Adrian Rawlins, Timothy Spall, Ian Peck, Benn Northover, Hebe Beardsall, Afshan Azad, Anna Shaffer

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Synopsis


After escaping the Malfoy Manor, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) still needs to locate the remaining Horcruxes that protect Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) from death. Suspecting that one is being kept inside Bellatrix Lestrange's (Helena Bonham Carter) vault at Gringotts, Harry strikes a bargain with Griphook the goblin (Warwick Davis) to help them get inside. Gringotts is known as one of the most secure places in the wizarding world, so they have their work cut out for them. Time is running out though and they have to act fast.


Review


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 begins quite slowly as Harry gets answers from Griphook and Ollivander (John Hurt). Following this, Part 2 is a veritable roller coaster. It definitely feels more like a blockbuster compared to Part 1, but after ten years of build up this was pretty much expected. There are lots of action sequences that require a lot of special effects but besides the odd occasion or two, characters are never drowned out.

Plenty of familiar faces are brought back for this finale which is sure to delight Harry Potter fans. Griphook, Ollivander, Trelawney, Pomfrey, Percy Weasley and many, many more. Who could ask for more? It's clear that David Yates and co. went out and got as many past actors as they could and even if all we see are their faces, the stakes are definitely raised even higher. No one wants to see the good guys die, no matter how minor they are and there is a real possibility of that happening in Part 2.

That's because there is the biggest magical battle that's ever been seen in the franchise. Seriously, this thing is huge. Before it all begins, there's even a great little preparation montage that's positively shiver inducing if you ask me. It's just hard to believe that this is what it all come down to after watching seven movies and I can safely say that this magical battle sequence does not disappoint in putting a finish to everything. It certainly could've been a let down but that's thankfully averted. 

Not to spoil who exactly, but there are some deaths in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and some are quite significant. When it seems like writers have an issue with killing significant characters in movies these days, it's nice that Harry Potter doesn't play by those rules. The grim reality of it all is even more of a push for Harry to do what he has to do and you can feel his pain from having those close to him die to protect him.

Acting-wise, I think the main trio do a good job and they've come incredibly far from their humble beginnings. As usual though, it's the rest of the all-star cast that truly enchants. Alan Rickman finally gets a real chance to shine which is well-deserved. For so long he's made his short presences memorable and he deserves this screen time after making Snape one of the greatest characters in all of Harry Potter. Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort  commands the most attention of all though. Evil just radiates off of him and there's no doubt that he's one of cinema's greatest villains ever put to screen. That's how great he is.

(Spoilers) There's an epilogue at the end of the film that really brings back fond memories of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It's also pretty awesome to hear John Williams' compositions back as well. Daniel Radcliffe strikes me as a bit silly looking posing as an adult like he did in The Woman in Black, but it's not something that derails the magic of this satisfying finish. Seriously, this is how you finish a film franchise. (End Spoilers)


With a total of eight movies, there are very few film franchises that can come close to matching Harry Potter in quality. There are a few missteps here and there after a mostly risk-adverse start, but as a fan of the books I can say that I am extremely satisfied with how everything went. I couldn't really ask for a more satisfying finish to everything. Conclusions to film franchises almost never meet expectations but David Yates made sure that didn't happen with Harry Potter

Rating

8/10

Related Reviews:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)