Emotional conclusion to Potter series
By Andrew Outwater
There are often times when it seems giving a review is trivial. No matter what somebody writes about certain movies, people are going to see it anyway. Such is true with the Harry Potter franchise. If you’ve been following the series, chances are you’ve either already seen “The Deathly Hallows Part 2,” or are going to whether or not I say it’s any good.
It’s been just under 10 years since “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” came to theatres in November 2001. This is a series where the audience has literally grown up beside the characters. When the first one came out I was 11 years old, just like the kids in the movie. I found it to be a fun movie, but I didn’t fall in love with the series until “The Prisoner of Azkaban” came out in 2004. That was the turning point in the series from a fun family franchise, to a dark, involving fantasy tale. Ever since then, I have been loving Harry Potter, despite not having read the books.
To quickly go over the series, I hold “The Prisoner of Azkaban” as my standard for Harry Potter. It’s my favorite film of the series, with “The Order of the Phoenix” closely behind it. “The Goblet of Fire” is what I hold as a mid-ranged Potter film. While it’s got great moments, it’s not as solid of a movie as Azkaban or Phoenix. The first two films were fun, but easily the least well crafted of the series. However, they do offer a great introduction into the universe. “The Half Blood Prince” wasn’t the most entertaining of the lot, but it’s essential to set everything up for the finale. I really liked “The Deathly Hallows Part 1”, but it’s only half a movie, so I didn’t want to really put it in a solid rank until I saw part 2. Now that I’ve seen it, it’s right up there with Azkaban and Phoenix.
“The Deathly Hallows Part 2” literally starts right where Part 1 leaves off. We get a very quick (not even a minute long) re-showing of the ending scene to Part 1, and then move right along with the story. So it is absolutely essential to see Part 1 to get what’s going on in Part 2 as they are basically one film.
I’ll just say that this is everything I wanted out of a finale to the franchise. Having not read the books and avoided (most) spoilers, the plot twists and character arcs were poignant and emotional. While I still think the emotional peak in the series was at the end of “The Order of the Phoenix” when a certain character is killed off, there are many moments in “DHp2” that got my eyes a little moist.
Having spent 10 years with these characters over the course of 8 films, when characters die, I felt it. When characters had their high points I got excited and smiled. When characters dropped to their low points, I sank with them. I heard several people crying and sniffling all around me at the sad parts and the whole theatre roared with cheers during triumphs.
My favorite part of the movie has got to be a memory sequence that completely changes how you feel about a couple characters. It comes right near the end and is a very powerful emotional point in the movie. While, those who have read the books know what I’m talking about, I won’t spoil it for those who were like me and have been experiencing it through the movies as the first time.
Having a movie release during the summer is sort of a big responsibility. Summer is blockbuster season and audiences expect great entertainment. While hardcore Potter fans will go just for Potter-sake, the average audience will find plenty of action to dig into. The set pieces in “DHp2” are absolutely incredible. Almost the entire second half of the film is a giant set piece. There’s a gigantic battle at Hogwartz Castle that utterly destroys the place. There are several points where the movie takes a break to allow the audience to catch their breathe, but it’s so well paced that it just seems to go on for the entire last hour.
Unlike “Transformers 3,” though, there actually feels like there’s something at stake. I actually cared about what was going to happen instead of just going “ooh, that was pretty.” There’s tension during the battle and that truly makes an incredible difference.
It’s really hard to properly criticize this movie. From a filmmaker’s standpoint, it’s not perfect. It’s really close in terms of craftsmanship and execution, but still can’t claim perfection. It is a final part of a series, so it’s absolutely necessary to see all previous installments to get the full impact of the film. Because of that, it can’t really stand up on it’s own feet, but it was never meant to.
I did not watch "The Deathly Hallows Part 2" in 3D and I refuse to pay for it in 3D. It wasn't the director's plan for the movie to be in 3D, it was the producers telling him that it's going to be in 3D whether he wanted it to or not. I'm personally against producers forcing decisions like this without the director having a choice and post-conversion 3D in general. When you don't plan for 3D, a lot of things can (and usually do) go wrong. It takes away light and color, and if you don't plan for that before actually filming, the 3D never comes out very good, a la "Clash of the Titans." The movie looks wonderful in its intended, 2D form and I can't really imagine it looking at all any better with that extra perception of depth. It's just a money grab, and an unnecessary one at that. As if a Harry Potter movie ever had trouble turning a profit.
As a Potter fan, “The Deathly Hallows Part 2” is everything I could have asked for. It’s entirely satisfying to see all the characters come to a full arc and the story come to a wonderful conclusion. Harry Potter has ingrained itself into the last decade of my life, and to have it finally be over is kind of sad. However, I am completely satisfied with what I got, and the franchise has come to a proper close. It was also nice to experience all eight movies in the theatre every day for a week leading up to the midnight premier on Thursday.
Image courtesy of Warner Bros.