Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows
Well, it’s taken 10 years to finally get here, but here it is, the eighth and final film in the Harry Potter series. Following on from where the first one left off, we find our heroes, having buried Dobby the house elf and staying in Shell Cottage, planning to make their next move, breaking into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts.

If The Deathly Hallows Part One spent too much time with the confused teenagers wandering from one end of Britain to the other, Part Two was filled with enormous action sequences. Maybe not enough to equal Transformers, but still plenty more to make up for the first half of the film which, many felt dragged too much.

So did the movie live up to the hype? Yes, and no. Overall, it was as decent an installment as any of the later Harry Potter movies. However, as with all of the Harry Potter movies, the movie is painted with broadstrokes, and lacks many of the nuances and detail that makes up the rich tapestry of the Harry Potter story. The thing is, this movie in particular is most guilty of it. It’s easily the shortest movie in the Harry Potter franchise, but instead of taking the time, to properly delve into the mythos one last time, it jumps from action piece to action piece, giving brief head nods to the major plot points of the movie.

Don’t get me wrong. There were plenty of nice headnods. There was actual cheering when Mrs. Weasely begins dueling with Bellatrix yelling “Not my daughter, you bitch!” I loved seeing the Hogwarts armour come to life to protect the castle which is under attack. Although much of the detail of Snape’s relationship with Harry’s mother is glossed over, I think they did a reasonable job of conveying what needed to be conveyed. It didn’t even bother me that the location of the scene had changed. The dragon sequence at Gringotts was fantastic- who doesn’t love seeing a dragon swoop over the London Eye? Two sequences that I was surprised to see still fairly intact, was the “19 years later” sequence and the sequence in the white room which may or may not have been Kings Cross Station. I also thought the casting for Aberforth was near perfect. The actor even sounded a lot like Michael Gambon.
Snape Deathly Hallows
The big question will be how fans react to changes to the ending. I can honestly say that the ending was definitely changed a little too much for my tastes. In the book, Voldemort does not understand the nature of the Elder wand and really it is his ignorance that is the cause of his destruction. Instead, we are treated to a rollercoaster-like tumble off of Hogwarts before more dueling. Flashy yes, less intelligent, definitely.

Two characters that were definitely given short shrift were Ginny Weasely and Neville Longbottom. I don’t think any of the movies have properly conveyed just what a fiery witch Ginny actually is and there is yet another missed opportunity in this movie, as all reference to the fact that Ginny is not of age yet but she wants to fight to protect Hogwarts is nixed. Neville Longbottom is still given the heroic deed of killing Nagini, but the scene is drastically changed leading to mixed results, which I think cheats the character more than anything. Of course, overall, Neville is a character that has suffered throughout the series since, I’m fairly certain, no reference in the movies is made to the fact that his parents were both aurors tortured into insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange. Nor that his birthday is the same day as Harry, and it was pure chance that led Voldemort to go after Harry instead of Neville.

Another big flaw in the movie is the 3D. As with most 3D movies nowadays, it was yet another job of post production rendering rather than being filmed in 3D, and as with most movies, there really is no actual reason for the public to pay the extra five dollars to see this in 3D versus 2D.

And now that both halves have come out, I can judge the movie as a whole, and this leads to one of my biggest complaints. The movie is called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but there is really little reference to them in the movies aside from the Elder wand. No reference at all is made to the invisibility cloak, nor the reason that Harry has the invisibility cloak is that he is descended from the original three brothers in the story. More importantly, the conflict that arises as Harry wants to seek out the deathly hallows to defeat Voldemort, before hunting for more horcruxes, has completely disappeared.
Ron Hermione Deathly Hallows
Watched back-to-back, I imagine the movies will seem extraordinarily uneven. With one slowly trudging along, and the other moving at a seeming breakneck pace. This actually could’ve been resolved fairly easily. Yes, there are many that believe the first half of the book also slowly trudged along. But much of the psychological strain and tension between the three main characters disappeared in the first movie making it, well, trudge. The second movie meanwhile would have benefitted with more time with other characters. Relationships are very much a centrepiece of the book, but too many characters are given only the barest of headnods, thus reducing the overall tension and realisation of what’s at stake. When Harry goes into the Great Hall and sees all these people that have died for him, it overwhelms the character. Unfortunately I’m not sure how well that’s conveyed in the movie.

This isn’t to say that the movies failed, at least no more than any of the movies in the series. But, as with the other movies, many will feel that the events of the new movie failed to live up to what they imagined in their head. And for those that haven’t read the Harry Potter series, and have only watched the movies, all I can do is urge you to read the books, which will help to explain a lot.