Saturday, July 16, 2011

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO

Written by Steve Kloves
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman
and Ralph Fiennes

Harry Potter: Is this all real or is it just happening in my head?

Professor Albus Dumbledore: Of course it's all in your head, Harry, but that doesn't mean it isn't real.

As you may or may not already know, I have only ever followed the literary icon, Harry Potter, on film. When the character made his first movie appearance, I watched simply because I was curious to see what everyone else was obsessing about. I even saw the next few films that followed for no other reason other than pure fascination with the incredible spell they cast over their fans. Fantasy has never been my favorite genre but I have always appreciated its grandness and imaginative nature. Despite this though, my interest in Harry Potter changed somewhere along the way (most likely when David Yates took over as director) and I went from mere observer to eager participant. And now that it’s over, I simply wish it weren’t.

As a stand-alone film, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO is not the strongest of the series. In succession with the first part though, it is extremely satisfying. Honestly, how could it not be though? When Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) face off for the last stand to end all subsequent stands of any kind, it is inevitably transfixing. This moment has been coming for years now and even though we all know how its going to play out, whether you’ve read the books or not, there is still a desperate need to see Harry rise to the ultimate occasion of his life. Structurally though, the final installment is somewhat shaky at the start, feeling more like an afterthought instead of the greatest conclusion of all time. It also lacks the whimsy that has always been present in past Potter pictures, no matter how bleak the scenario seems. There is arguably no room for it here but the heaviness can be sometimes too much to bear.

Once HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO lays everything on the table though, it is relentless. In fact, Yates has no interest in holding any casual viewers’ hands for this last outing. It is an emotional journey that must sink deeper and deeper into despair before any hope of success can be found. The battles are epic and characters from the many years at Hogwart’s return to either perish or flourish within those battles. And then there is Harry himself, alongside his two closest allies, Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson). Their growth as both actors and characters has perhaps been the most consistent and compelling aspect of the entire series. Watching them come into their own and develop new understandings of their characters and of themselves has been the series’ secret weapon all along. As they leave the nest, they leave us with one of the most bittersweet farewells at the movies in as long as I can remember.

2 comments:

Clapperboard said...

Good review! I definitely agree that one of the most pleasurable aspects has been watching Daniel and co growing as actors - it certainly makes it seem as though the actors have grown with the characters and the characters with the actors!

Black Sheep said...

Very well said! The fact that all of the principal actors came of age making these movies and did not let the worldwide fame they had amassed ruin them or their performances is pretty remarkable all by itself.