The Harry Potter series is the one franchise in existence that has continually kept the quality of the films good for such a long period of time. With this latest and last installment in the Harry Potter phenomena, the franchise has finally surpassed the Star Wars franchise in financial earnings. Translation: Deathly Hollows: Part 2 made a whole bunch of money. Although I feel like I should note that due to inflation and the extra income from 3D, the Harry Potter movies actually had half the attendance of the Star Wars films. But of course none of this really matters.
One thing that the Harry Potter series didn’t have that the Star Wars franchise had was a great movie (for Star Wars it I would consider A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back as great) … that is until now, or at they made at least two thirds of a great film. Part 2 of the final chapter of Harry Potter is in many ways an outstanding way to cap off the series. However, this particular film felt somewhat incomplete. By that I mean that it did have a clear ending and a very good middle, but there seemed to be no real beginning to this film, unless you count Part 1 as that beginning.
Now before any Harry Potter fans get so upset that their heads start to explode, let me clarify that this is a great film. I’m just not sure it’s a complete film. This movie does very little to introduce anything to anyone who was possibly going into the movie without ever having read any of the books or seen any of the other movies (of course that person would probably either have to have been living under a rock or they would have to be my parents). I myself have seen all of the other films and had no problems following what was going on (except for when my head started hurting a little bit because of the 3D). I basically think the film would have been better served if it weren’t split into two parts and they just decided to make one epic 3 hour movie to cap it off like they did with the Lord of the Rings. Of course, there’s a big reason they didn’t do that (money in case you didn’t know). So the fact that this movie didn’t really have a beginning is really my biggest problem with the film, and I have to say it’s a relatively small problem to have when the rest of the movie was quite enjoyable.
The young actors do a pretty good job, although I must say that really the movie pretty much throws aside all of the characters that aren’t Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry and Ralph Fienne’s Voldemort. I mean the other characters are all there, but they don’t really seem all that integral to the film. They are good though (I want to make sure I shower this with enough complements so I don’t get reamed by any angry Potter fans if this is coming off as too negative). The Hermione character played by Emma Watson was one that I was especially disappointed in because I feel that I’ve heard a lot about how Hermione is a strong female character that girls can look up to and is really the most competent of the Harry Potter trio. In this installment that all seems to go away. It’s almost as if she becomes completely helpless in this movie as there is a moment when even Ron (Rupert Grint) appears to be more prepared for the situation. She turned from being a strong female, almost lead, in the first 7 films to pretty much a damsel in distress in this 8th film.
I guess I should mention what the situation I referred to is before I go any further. Basically, Harry and company are hunting down these Horcrux’s, which from my understanding are little treasures in which Voldemort pretty much put part of his soul (if you want to call it th… look I’m just trying to explain this as best I can to the lay people out there so…). The group needs to destroy all of these Horcrux’s before they can actually kill Voldemort. And Voldemort is not nice. Harry thinks the last Horcrux is in Hogwarts (That’s the school of wizardry. Why am I even bothering explaining that. Anyone reading this is probably familiar with the series). A majority of the film takes place at the school and it turns into a war movie of sorts as all the good wizards try to keep out the bad wizards to give Harry enough time to figure out what the heck he needs to do.
Each an every Harry Potter movie got darker as the series progressed, and this one is no different. A memorable scene from this film for me shows Voldemort walking across a room of dead people, with blood covering the floors. It has more death, more depression, more violence… more everything, with the exception of humor. They have a lot less humor in this installment than the others.
The love stories that are in the movie really don’t seem to pay off that well. I don’t think anyone really cares about Ron and Hermione and if you do it’s because you read the books and it’s more prevalent in the books (I’m completely guessing there because I’ve never read the books). The romance between those two, especially in this film, is kind of dropped in at very random moments, almost to tell the audience “oh yeah and by the way these two like each other.”
Holy cow! I just reread all of the above and it really seems like I’m laying into this movie. Seriously I really did like this movie. I promise. I’ll just say a bunch of positive things about it in this last paragraph that I’m about to write.
This film is filled with great action, great emotional moments, and strong storytelling. The director even figured out how to make war with wands look pretty cool (okay so that may have been a backhanded compliment). It’s a much faster paced film than it’s predecessors and is very well put together and looks really good (of course the 3D didn’t help at all and made it too dark at certain moments. NO! That doesn’t count as a negative comment on the film. I just hate 3D!). This film definitely gets my seal of approval and I believe that it’s a film that both non-Potter fans and fans of the series will enjoy immensely, as long as you watch Part 1 first.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
* Just to clarify on the Star Wars comparison, I think that there are still no Harry Potter movies that are better than A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back, but every single Harry Potter movie (even the first one) is better than all of the other Star Wars movies that are not called A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back.
** I hate that snake that Voldemort carries around with him. That thing is terrifying!
** This series really did get lucky with how well those young actors grew up.
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