Today: July 23, 2024

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – P2

In truth, it matters little how good Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 actually is. As the finale to an eight part film series, and the summation of the Harry Potter phenomena, it will fly off the shelves this Christmas, as those who have grown up with Harry Potter look for some final memento, some final reminder of what for many, has truly been the story of their childhood.

In truth, it matters
little how good Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 actually is. As the
finale to an eight part film series, and the summation of the Harry Potter
phenomena, it will fly off the shelves this Christmas, as those who have grown
up with Harry Potter look for some final memento, some final reminder of what
for many, has truly been the story of their childhood.

Luckily, however, the film is not only significant for its
place in history, but is also good in its own right: certainly much better than
Part 1, which was, in general, a tedious build-up to this finale. Part 2 is, at
heart, a good old-fashioned showdown, between Harry, driven by love and
morality, and Voldemort, propelled with a lust for power and destruction. But,
of course, the two are linked and while the outcome is never in doubt, we are
reminded that clear-cut lines between good and evil can sometimes blur.

The film, being by far the shortest of the Potter films, is
almost impossibly fast-paced. It gallops off from the start before you’ve even
settled in, and in truth, would be best watched almost immediately after Part 1
(no doubt the clever people at Warner Brothers will create a boxset), or else
confusion is sure to set in. After a number of battling set pieces (with the
crumbling of a great bank being by far the most enjoyable), the plot settles
down for the real business of the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. The
second half of the film is Harry Potter at its best: tense and action-packed,
but also touching and light-hearted in many ways.

Part 2 is a bit of a who’s who in British cinema: almost
every well-known actor to have graced the Harry Potter series at some point
makes an appearance, and you are reminded of the true depth of British acting
talent. Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman particularly stand out, but even the three (no-longer)
child stars have lost some of their woodenness.

As you might expect from a film of this magnitude, the
special features on the DVD are extensive. They include a ‘making of’
documentary, a feature on the making of the goblin characters, some thoughts on
the women characters in the series, and finally a series of ‘focus points’
which zoom in on various characters or scenes from the film.

One of the great problems the film series has had is in
determining who its audience is. Is it Harry Potter diehards? People who read
the books and saw the other films years ago and remember little? Or people who
are coming fresh to the films? The complexity of the books and the dedication
of its fans made creating films that were whole in their own right very
difficult. The final film is where director David Yates finally decided who he was aiming for: the fans that
know the ins and outs of the story and don’t need explanations or reminders
about horcruxes and giant spiders. Those unfamiliar with the background are
likely to be endlessly confused, but for the dedicated fans, Deathly Hallows
Part 2 finally brings everything altogether.

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