Ten years and eight films later, the Harry Potter franchise has come of age. For those feeling the strain of the series’ ever darkening tone
Ten years and eight films later, the Harry Potter franchise has come of age. For those feeling the strain of the series’ ever darkening tone, hope is in sight! ‘It all ends here’ declared the advertisements and, true to that, we have at last a Potter film with a proper climax, and what a climax it is. With the board set for Harry to make his final play against Lord Voldemort, good takes on evil in an epic battle which includes many of the characters introduced to us throughout the series.
No other saga has been nearly as popular as J.K. Rowling’s opus, and for non-fans who expected each film to be worth seeing in it’s own right that fact has been more than a bit confusing. How could the films be so successful when they exclude anyone without an exhaustive knowledge of the source material? Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows just about makes it worth having sat through the, frankly boring, last few films by having a clear direction towards a definite conclusion. For the first time in years a successful balance is achieved between the oppressively dark feel and the sense of fun that should never have been lost in the first place.
Almost immediately we are plunged into a breathtaking action sequence which feels like coming up for air after all the depressing exposition that has gone before. Having directed the final four Potter films David Yates’ standard of pristine cinematography, combined with faultless effects work remains a spectacle to behold. This is the first in the series to be released entirely in 3D and the illusion is nigh on perfect, delivering a new and unobtrusive sense of depth plus a boost of pure adrenaline to boot.
Overall the acting comes into its own here, with Ralph Fiennes giving a terrifying and nuanced performance as the villain to end all villains, Voldemort, which will surely do it’s job of giving younger children nightmares! Even Daniel Radcliffe as Harry is at his least wooden yet, unfortunately leaving Emma Watson in the dust, with her unimproved portrayal of Hermione remaining earnest but one dimensional.
The incorruptible values modeled by the lead characters have always rendered Rowling’s stories impervious to stronger criticisms and with so many young people obsessed with Harry Potter, desperate to be like him, his loyal and self-sacrificial character is genuinely inspiring. Without giving anything away, Harry’s story arc concludes by borrowing from the ultimate redemption tale of all time to truly moving effect.
With millions trying to guess where Rowling would lead Harry in the end, she amazingly still manages to surprise. Fans will be overcome with glee that the final film is by far the best of them all and that all the parts that had them wondering ‘will the filmmakers get that right?’ will leave them breathing sighs of relief. As gradual hints of colour and light finally make a comeback, along with melodies from John Williams’ scores for the first two films, smiles will be plastered on even the most cynical of faces.