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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (3D)

July 15, 2011

written by: Steve Kloves (based on the novel by J.K. Rowling)
produced by: David Heyman, David Barron & J. K. Rowling
directed by: David Yates
rated PG-13 (for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images)
130 min.
U.S. release date: July 15, 2011
If you’ve been following all along, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” may just be the most rewarding installment for you. I’m sure there’s a minority out there who will experience this as their first “Harry Potter” film (egads, why would you do that?), but this rewarding conclusion is really for the fans. The fans of the films, that is. I can’t speak for those who know the books inside out, since I haven’t read a one of them. Now, before you get all teary-eyed, know that this is an excellent way to cap off a mostly exhilarating series that has provided us with endearing characters, exciting action, whimsical humor, and most of all, pure escapism.

As “Part 2” opens, it’s like we never left the theater some eight months ago, as the story picks up immediately where “Part 1” left us hanging. Evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is waving the all-powerful Elder Wand, while our three heroes lick their wounds on the seashore. The bad man with the snake face is gathering every dark force available (Death Eaters, werewolves, giant trolls, and a swarm of rotten kids with wands) to take control of beloved Hogwarts. This isn’t just some property acquisition though, we know as much as Harry Potter knows, that You-Know-Who wants him dead.


But if Voldie was a smart evil villain he wouldn’t have left all those Horcuxes (containing little bits and pieces of him) lying around, so pesky wizard kids could destroy them. In “Part 1”, we witnessed as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson), started dispensing with these objects of immortality, exacting certain doom for the Dark Lord. This is a desperate villain, verging on powerlessness, despite having dark forces at his beck and call. He doesn’t realize that these wizards aren’t children anymore. They are plotting, methodical and proactive, having had their friendships tested time and time again in previous films (most intensely in “Part 1”), they have what their foe never had: love and friendship.

Still, it’s going to take Harry and his friends all the faith, trust, and courage they can muster to defend everyone at their beloved school and put on end to this madness. Ultimately (and obviously), it’s up to Harry, after all, it’s his destiny to face Voldemort and take him out. But, first things first, the trio must infiltrate Gringott’s Bank and scour Hogwart’s to procure and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.  As they scramble about, an epic assault has begun as the school becomes a battleground with fatal casualties escalating on both sides. This is it for Harry. It will require everything he has mentally, emotionally, and physically to confront and conquer his mortal enemy.

This is also it for the fans too. As the marketing proclaims, “It All Ends” and millions will embrace it with bittersweet anticipation. Sit back and enjoy the inevitable (somewhat predictable) end of one of the most well-received series in cinematic history.


Director David Yates gave us a meticulously paced story in “Part 1” with its examination of who Harry, Ron, and Hermione have become as they discover their enemy’s weakness. At first, I thought it was a money-grabbing move on Warner Bros. part to split the final book into two movies, but I found myself appreciating the time Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves gave to characterization. Seeing the heroic trio struggle with doubt, insecurities, and their friendships was well worth it. 

Now, with all that out-of-the-way, “Part 2”  (the shortest of the series) can get right to the end game. Thankfully though, Yates incorporates some of the same quite, contemplative moments from the previous film. In doing so, he offers respite while succinctly tying both parts together, creating one long engaging journey.

While the stakes are high, the Battle of Hogwart’s never really seems as intense as, say Helm’s Deep, but it is the most chaotic we’ve seen in this series. The good guys even have to contend with giant spiders! Good thing they have an army of stone soldiers to protect them. It should come as no surprise for followers of these movies that lives are lost in this war, since mortality and death have become more and more real with each film. This isn’t ending with the sweet, wide-eyed tone that started it all, and understandably so, since we’ve watched as these children face the cold and harsh adult world as they mature.


The first half of the film has some incredible action sequences that provide a good balance of laughs and suspense. Hermione is still the quick-thinking one as she leads an impressive escape out of the goblin bank by way of white dragon. There’s also a claustrophobic scene that reminded me of both “A New Hope” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (intentional or not, they were nice nods). Yet, what worked best for me was the dream-like visions, the pseudo-philosophical interactions with dead people, and the metaphysical confrontations, throughout the movie. It gave a curiously enthralling dimension to the story. There’s much more going on here than the “go here, get that” we’ve come to expect in these films. 

Yates has done an impressive job protecting the storytelling and characterization amid all the spectacular action beats, providing well-earned emotional bits that touches viewers in just the right soft spot. While these movies have always provided amazing art direction and special effects, it has always been the characters that we looked forward to the most. Audiences have eagerly awaited which UK luminary would inhabit beloved guest roles from the novels (since the cast is already so immense, there’s really only one new guest here, excellently played by Kelly MacDonald, in a brief role)  just as much as they anticipated revisiting Rowling’s three main heroes. 



On that note, these films would never be what they are without the talent of the stellar cast. Just look at how Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson have grown into their roles over the past decade.  All three have embodied their respective parts appropriately, never over-acting or grandstanding but instead providing an attractive genuineness. “Part 2” finds them once again completely comfortable in their roles as they work alongside such greats as Fiennes and Alan Rickman. Fiennes chews up his screen time as he has in the other films, but it is here that we reminded just how rich a character Severus Snape is. All along, Rickman has been rock solid in the mysterious and unpredictable role, but this is the movie where he really gets to shine. 

Equally admirable is Matthew Lewis, reprising his role as Neville Longbottom, the reluctant leader of the Hogwart rebellion, giving the character a courageous and gallant position in the story. He’s the kid who was often picked on and disregarded, but he nevertheless worked his way up to the role of hero, whereas Potter was always told it was his destiny. Yates gives Neville just enough screen time to develop an inspiring (and often humorous) character arc. 

Overall, “Part 2” has emotional weight and is beautiful to behold. It makes me want to revisit “Part 1” immediately, as well as the other films. Its use of 3D actually compliments the artistic richness of the world we’ve come to know, building on depths of field and utilizing it for dramatic perspective and creative camera angles. It concludes with a sweet coda, delivering a delightful circle of life that serves as a deserved and hopeful farewell. It never intentionally tugs on the heartstrings, but I will confess to getting a little tingly as it all ended. Well done, Harry Potter.


RATING: ***1/2        
9 Comments leave one →
  1. windi noel permalink
    July 15, 2011 8:45 pm

    Loved the movie, thought it ended very well! I cried, I’ll admit! 🙂 I will also admit that I did not go back and re-read the books, so I sort of forgot some of the characters, and plot. Which may be good, because I really don’t know how much of it was changed from the book! :)~

    I loved the back story of Snape. And was kind of intrigued by it. Was it really insinuating what I think it was? (I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I hope you know what I’m referring to) It’s something I’m SURE I would have remembered in the book…….

    I’ve quite enjoyed the ride, and look forward to re-watching the whole series eventually. I’m sure many fans would absolutely love it if Rawlings did a story about the children….. I know I’d read it! 🙂

  2. Diane permalink
    July 15, 2011 9:37 pm

    As always, a wonderfully written review! As if I wasn’t already looking forward to seeing this final chapter on Monday, your review has made me anticipate it that much more. And I’m glad to hear that the 3D didn’t do the film any disservice since we are seeing it in 3D at the Imax (go big or go home is my philosophy for Harry Potter theatre movie viewing! lol).

  3. Phyllis S. permalink
    July 18, 2011 3:33 pm

    My son and I enjoyed the movie! Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint did an excellent acting job in this final episode. I agree with you on Radcliff holding his own with Fiennes. The audience was into it cheering for Harry, Neville, Hermoine, and Ron. Did my bit of crying, too. The Gringotts episode was edge-of-your-seat suspense as well as humourous. I agree, The Battle at Hogwarts had its surprises!
    It is sad to see the end of the series, but it was a grand one. I don’t think you need to read the books to get into the series, really.

  4. Sarah W. permalink
    November 14, 2011 8:36 pm

    wow i saw it a week ago and it was amazing to bad it was the last BUT j. k. rowling MAY write another! caant wait to see! 😉


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