Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Directed by David Yates) July 2011
If one hates sentimentalism, skip the first paragraph.
It’s a bit late, considering that I saw the film on opening day, but I have been saving this review for the actual end of my MLIS program. Why? Well, let’s just say that this film marks the end of my formal postsecondary education. The first film in the series was released in November of 2001, when I was but a teenager with a vague notion that I would go out east for university to study history. Since then, I have traversed across the country like a ping-pong ball several times (well, three times permanently), finished two degrees, and basically grew up. Like many people my age, I went to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a kid(not that my sixteen-year-old self would have agreed!) and went to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as an adult. While the young actors grew up onscreen, the audience went from being high-school students on to careers, degrees, diplomas, jobs, relationships, parenthood, etc. Harry Potter was described as going “from boy-wizard to action-hero.” Like Harry, we’ve become action-heroes in our lives.
The film? Right, the film.
I am grateful that they decided to split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two films. By doing so, the writers were able to include nearly all of the important parts of the novel. Many scenes were not exactly as I imagined them to be, but they were satisfying. Moreover, they were breathtaking. I will have to watch the film again once things have quieted down somewhat. The acting was superb (kudos especially to Alan Rickman as Snape!) and one could tell that all of the actors knew their characters well. Perhaps because of so many years and films, the characters were believable.
Despite it being a great finale, I do have some complaints:
– What happened to Teddy? I thought they cut him, but then Harry mentions Lupin having a son. If you haven’t read the book, that comes out of left field. Maybe there’s a deleted scene somewhere?
– James Potter has light hair. Yes, Daniel Radcliffe-as-Harry’s hair has grown lighter over the series, but non-readers could be forgiven for thinking that Snape is Harry’s father because of the hair.
– Hermione and Ron in the epilogue. Ron barely says anything and certainly doesn’t look like an Auror. Hermione looks like a teenager playing dress-up — would it have killed the costume/makeup budget to make her look a bit pudgier? She doesn’t look motherly.
– The Finale Battle! Overall, fabulously executed and I really ought to reserve judgement until I’ve seen the DVD, as there might be deleted scenes or explanations for why they portrayed it in a certain way. However, only Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville witness Voldemort’s demise, which seems less satisfactory than in the book. Won’t a lot of people be wondering if Voldemort is really gone? And what about Neville and Nagini? In the book, he slays her at once after Voldemort tries to bring him onside. The film version has him being laughed at and failing to kill Nagini until the final moments of the battle. Yes, more action, but the spiritual significance of Neville’s actions are greatly reduced. In the book, Harry was presumed dead, Voldemort seemed victorious, and Neville was literally on fire as he drew the sword of Gryffindor to slay Nagini, much to everyone’s surprise. Neville proved that it didn’t matter that Harry was dead — he believed in what was right and would die for it if necessary. That is a real hero!
That said, I still strongly recommend the film. I would advise that if one hasn’t read the books to do so, or at least watch the previous films again. There is no sense in wasting such a beautiful film in confusion.
So this is it for the Harry Potter series. However, it is not the end of my reviews! I think I will post another review when I see the film again. Perhaps my thoughts will be less muddled.
Like Harry Potter’s life after Voldemort and Hogwarts, I’m off on another great adventure!