HT Schuyler: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

Posted: July 19, 2011 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated PG for intense action scenes and violence, and frightening images.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis and Matthew Lewis.

Directed by: David Yates.

Of all the movies I’ve been looking forward to this year, this was definitely at the top of the list. After a great Part 1, I had high expectations for the final installment. Plus, the trailers made this out to be the most epic film of all time, so walking in I was ready to see an amazing film. So, did Harry Potter go out with a bang, or a small whimper?

The entire film is a race against time, as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) hunt down the final Horcruxes containing Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul, in order to kill him once and for all. It is extremely fast paced and the entire film takes place within one or two days. Despite it being 2 hours and 10 minutes, you never feel it’s length, in fact, I thought it was very short, until I realized I’d been in the theatre for over two hours, and hadn’t even noticed it. So if your worried about the story being dragged out to fill up time, don’t be, as everything everything feels smooth and fluent, and there is never a dull moment.

The acting is outstanding. Everybody was perfect, and not a single person miscast. There are some big name actors who appear for only a few seconds on screen, but it’s perfect, because you get a sense that everyone has returned for one final battle to save Hogwarts, and it’s almost tear-jerking just to see all your favourite characters again. The three leads are as good as always, and Daniel Radcliffe really shows off his acting abilities, because a lot of scenes rely on his emotions and actions, and he nails it perfectly. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are also great, and they really get to show off the importance of their characters, and have some really heavy scenes together, but they pull it off fabulously. Matthew Lewis is finally given something to do, with his character of Neville Longbottom being crucial to the plot, and finally taking a stand and proving himself as a brave and noble character. Ralph Fiennes plays the character of Voldemort very well, and is perfect for the part, as he creates an intimidating and sometimes very frightening villain that is not easily forgotten.

But the one actor who just blew me away was Alan Rickman. He has a lot of really deep and emotional scenes, and he is excellent in them. I won’t spoil it, but there’s a scene about halfway through that gives a solid back-story to his character, and explains his motivations throughout the entire series, and it’s by far the most emotional scene in the whole movie, if not series. Rickman once again proves why he is an outstanding actor and gives a satisfying conclusion to one of my favourite characters from the series.  There are to many characters to go over and praise, but let’s just say they are all fantastic. Even if they’re just standing in the background, their always doing something, and you feel that every character, no matter how big or small, is crucial to the plot.

The Good:

This movie is constantly epic. Almost every scenes involves close ups of characters reactions and epic music playing in the background, but it works. You are literally on the edge of your seat watching the conclusion to the beloved franchise, and are eagerly awaiting what will happen next. The special effects are outstanding, they are so great that you barely even notice them anymore, they just work so well with what’s happening that you literally believe that fire is coming out of a stick, or that they’re riding a dragon. The movie was very well paced, and they mixed the action with the drama very well, and as I mentioned, the emotions are extremely high, and there are several tear-jerking scenes. For those of you wondering how it compared to the books, there are scenes missing and scenes that are rushed through, but overall it was a very faithful and close adaptation. Many scenes played out exactly as I imagined them, which I was happy to see.

After watching Part 1, I thought it was very good, but it felt like it was just building up one big, epic conclusion, and this film 100% delivers exactly that. The action scenes are thrilling, the story is excellent, and emotions are high. In a way, it’s the perfect big budget summer blockbuster, because it has amazing action, outstanding acting, brilliant special effects and most importantly of all, an incredible story. Not to mention it has a very high re-watch value, as I can see myself seeing this multiple times. It not only has everything you could want in a Harry Potter movie, but everything you could want in a movie in general.

The Bad:

Once the movie was finished, I had some problems with it, but after thinking it over, I realized the main problems I had with it were the things that they left out from the book, which really isn’t fair to the movie, because they are two separate properties, and if the movie had to sacrifice certain scenes in order to get somewhere faster or keep the pacing, so be it, because once they were gone, I didn’t really miss them. That being said, there were some scenes that really didn’t need to be there, for example, the roller coaster simulator at the bank only there for the IMAX, and things jumping out at the camera only there for the 3D. Oh yeah, and remember that scene in the trailer where Harry pulls Voldemort off a cliff? Yeah, it looked stupid in the trailer and it looked even worse in the actual movie. Also, as much as I enjoyed seeing certain characters return, that also means that a fair amount of people die in this, but unfortunately the characters are not given the respect they deserve, and are just shown dead on the ground instead of given a hero’s demise. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is epic and intense to begin with, but once everything was said and done I felt a little unsatisfied, and had hoped for a better conclusion. But despite all this, it’s really just nitpicking, and there is so much good to make up for the bad, that it eventually overrules it.

In Conclusion:

This is not a perfect film, but it’s pretty damn close. Despite there being more bad than there should be, there is just so much done right and so much to admire about this film. It really is an epic conclusion to one of the most beloved movie franchises of all time. Looking back on all the great films in this series, it really is sad to think that it is all over, but at the same time you feel good knowing that it ended with one of the best films in the series, and your thankful for the fond memories this series has brought you. There is not a single person who I can’t recommend this movie to, it’s a brilliant conclusion to a brilliant series. Everyone who worked on these films should be proud, they’ve created a truly unique movie series that won’t easily be forgotten. A must see.

9.5/10

Comments
  1. Tabatha says:

    A great review, I concur with most of your thoughts here. What did you think of the epilogue bit at the end? A lot of people said they didn’t like it, but I thought it wasn’t too bad. Considering I cringed all the way through that bit in the book, I think the film did a great job of making it a nice round-off and conclusion to the film.
    But I absolutely loved the roller coaster simulator bit, – I love scenes like that as you feel like you’re actually on it, whizzing about at high speeds. It would probably have been more awesome in 3D though.
    Agreed on Alan Rickman though – he blew me away with the emotional scenes, and you realise how fond you’ve become of him over the whole series.

    • HT Schuyler says:

      I actually like the epilouge. It seemed a little awkward at first, but after a while it seemed nice, because it shows how the story has come full circle, and is a satisying ending to the characters which we’ve grown to love.

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