Today, Harry Potter makes his final appearance on the big screen with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the eighth and final movie of the Harry Potter story. Most Potter fans will go out and see this movie regardless of what critics say, but will they be leaving the theater feeling fully satisfied, or will they be disappointed? A great deal of people (primarily those who have never read the books) claim that the final Potter book should never have been split into two separate movies, and that doing so was merely a ploy to continue milking the wand wielding cash cow. Is this a fair claim? Could parts one and two of The Deathly Hallows have been combined into one movie session? The simple answer is no, but lets dig a little deeper into it shall we?
Part two starts off strong, bringing us right back to where things left off, with Voldemort retrieving the elder wand from Dumbledore’s grave and Harry burying Dobby on the beach. From there, things move on very quickly, and almost feel slightly rushed or garbled in certain areas. After leaving the theater, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content that was crammed into the movie, but I am happy to report that it all ended just as strongly as it began. One of the inherent problems with any movie that is adapted from a popular book is that things are always going to end up happening differently from what you might have imagined while reading the book. Deathly Hallows Part 2 is no exception, but unlike the case with The Half Blood Prince, David Yates has really come through in this final installment, and has managed to capture the essence and raw feelings that I got from the book.
There are still those moments with cheesy acting or awkwardly placed humor that have plagued the movies since Goblet of Fire, but thankfully they never really dragged down the crucial parts in the story. The pacing, which somehow felt off in Part One, seems much better in Part Two, and doesn’t suffer from as many slow or overly dramatic parts. I never felt bored or disinterested, even if things did start to feel like they were happening one after another without proper explanation at some points. But, to be fair, there is so much that happens in the Deathly Hallows book that it must have been a difficult challenge to decide which scenes to really focus on (even when working with two movies). There could easily have been dozens of different variations of this story, but I am more than satisfied with this version.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 also has some wonderful symmetry with the previous movies in the series, with direct references to scenes and quotes that do a wonderful job of tying everything together. All of the key scenes that fans were looking forward to have been crafted with a master’s hand, and there is little that is left to be desired, aside from personal opinion. I really couldn’t have been happier with how they handled the matter of Severus Snape. The pensieve scene (people who have the read the book or already seen the movie are sure to know what I am referring to) was beautifully done and has become one of my favorite scenes out of all eight films. You can really tell by the performance of not only Alan Rickman, but from the entire cast as well, that they know these will be their final scenes in the Potter story, and all of them seemed to be giving their best. Also, the casting of Aberforth was spot on.
Ryan’s Recommended Viewing: Opening Weekend –
At The Theater – Rent It – Watch It On Cable – Stay Away! – 4/5
In conclusion, this movie was an excellent ending to the Harry Potter story for both fans of the films and the books. There is hardly a dull moment and I honestly can’t wait to see it again. There are things I might have changed or done differently (such as the Hogwarts wide Voldemort broadcasts or dragging out the scene with Neville and Nagini), but they are really just matters of opinion. I love the Harry Potter movies, and was happy to see that they have been brought to such a solid ending.