Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (2011)

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A stolen kiss during a short pause in the raging battle.

A child whose become an adult finding the hero within him to help save the day.

A small gesture to illustrate devotion and a main character summoning the courage within to do what has to be done.

These are the moments that make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 such a special movie.  While the effects and action scenes are wonderful, anyone with a bit of talent and a huge budget could make those scenes work. But to know when to slow down for a minute and enjoy those moments with the characters that we have known for a decade is what makes this film sing so beautifully.

It's hard to believe now, but there has been a whole generation that has grown up with Harry Potter.  Kids in grade school that read the series when it started would be in their early 20's by now.  I remember reviewing the first movie while I was in college and now I have long since graduated and started a family.  The books and movies weren’t just disposable entertainment that will go down as a fad; they were a crucial part of the decade for many people.

Harry Potter fans whether they were a kid or an adult got excited for each new book release (and scared of what might happen to some of the characters), and looked forward to each new movie.  Now we have come to the time where there are no more books and the last movie has just been released.  As silly as it might sound, this last movie needed to serve as a way for everyone to say goodbye to the characters and goodbye to the world.  The Deathly Hallows Part II needed to be a therapy session for fans of the world to receive closure.

The hero shot.

When I first heard that director David Yates was going to be the director of the final chapter, I was a little nervous.  I thought he did a great job turning Order of the Phoenix, the most tedious bogged down book into a rip-roaring wizarding action adventure.  He found a tone for the movie that was much more ominous than what had came before but not to the point where it became too dark.  Yates then stumbled with Half Blood Prince because he didn’t take the time to let the big moments of the movie play.  When fans are so passionate, the filmmaker tends to leave a lot in so not to make anyone mad.  With how much story is in Prince, Yates barreled through the story like a freight train and moved from point A to point Z with out ever pausing.

Unfortunately, this gave a lot of the character moments from the movie the shaft. Such monumental moments as Harry and Ginny’s first kiss, Snape being revealed as the Prince and why and most importantly the death of Dumbledore and the fallout from that event were not given time to effect the audience like they should.  The bit was revealed, it played out and then the movie moved on before the audience could process any of it.

A rule of film: everything is better with dragons.

This would not have worked for Deathly Hallows because the fans needed those moments with the characters.  People make fun of the end of Return of the King and its numerous endings, but they had their place. It allowed the audience to see their characters one last time and have a feeling where their life would go next, even if it weren’t filmed.

I felt better about Yates’ involvement after the first part of Hallows because he finally let the moments play out.   The best part of the first half was something not even in the book: the task looks bleak for Harry and friends, Hermione is upset and Ron has left.  Even though the world is bearing down on his shoulders, Harry takes the time to dance with Hermione and just give her a moment to be happy and not worry.  This scene was wordless but no words were needed.  It explained Harry, his character and his relationship with Hermione loudly with the actions.

One evil SOB.

Thankfully Yates continued this type of filmmaking into Deathly Hallows 2, and all of the main characters gets a moment to shine.  While the Battle of Hogwarts was an awesome spectacle and meeting the dragon was an exciting scene, this film will be remembered as a movie that finally was about characters first and foremost.  The look of longing and heartbreak that Alan Rickman (Snape) conveys during his flashback, the pep-talk and reassuring words Harry gets from his dead but not forgotten loved ones, the evil ways that Voldermort operates and the proof of love eternal not by words but the use of a Patronous Charm are some of the moments that gave me goose bumps in this film.

Many heart-wrenching moment in this film.

I never did mention or summarize the story in this review and I did that on purpose.  Anyone that is seeing this movie knows what is going on and where the plot was leading.  Very few people are going to start watching the second part of the final movie (the 8th one at that) so the audience is going to be fans. For the people that scoff at Harry Potter or find it “childish,” I simply feel bad that you haven’t experienced the wonderful story and world, but there will be no changing of minds by this time.

I don’t need to explain the how’s and whys of the plot, I just need to answer one simple question.  Was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 a worthy end to a wonderful story and franchise?  Harry grows from a boy to a man in the story and the movies have grown from "movies" to "films".   Because with how well the cast and crew did with this film, the end of the journey is rewarding. If it had to end, I can’t imagine a better way for it to go out.

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Posted by Ryan

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