Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2- In cinemas July 15th
(12A) Running Time: 130 mins
Director: David Yates
Writers: Steve Kloves (screenplay), JK Rowling (novel)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
The poster states “it all ends here”, but does it? The story most certainly does end here, but the story of the ‘Boy Wizard’ will live on in the hearts and minds of generations of movie lovers and book readers for years, decades to come. The Harry Potter story will be looked upon in 10, 20, 30 years to come as a milestone in British culture, an worldwide phenomenon and you cannot blame this reviewer for getting a little emotional at witnessing the end of a good ten years of Potter brilliance. So, does the final film do the saga justice? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out!
David Yates has helmed the last three Potter movies, this being his fourth and some have said he brought the series down after the genius of The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. I don’t believe that, I personally found The Order of the Phoenix to be one of my favourites, and Yates has been brilliant ever since. Let’s face it, he has had the more serious, dark stuff to tackle and he has done it well. The fun has gone, the happiness is all but disappeared, this is now serious stuff and after the sudden end of The Deathly Hallows part 1, it was obvious this film would not start in traditional film fashion. It is intended as a whole film, so the Deathly Hallows part 2 goes straight into the story with ten minutes of talk directly from the book which, granted, does become slightly boring. We want a big finish, we know we have to wait for it, but the opening ten minutes, necessary as they are, are a bit painful. However, I am not complaining because what follows is the further two hours of blistering special effects, classic Potter scenes, friendships tested, action, suspense, romance, horror and most importantly magic (this is a film about wizards after all!) The Deathly Hallows part 2 delivers everything that is great about Potter; it’s like a best of the series all rolled into one massive film but all pumped up and on such a huge scale. Make no mistake, this film HAS to be seen on the biggest, loudest screen you can find, and I will go against my usual complaints here and tell you that the 3D actually works and if you have the patience for it, see it in 3D!
A few films ago we were warned that ‘dark times are ahead’; however I never expected it to become so dark. Not so much in tone, but the actually colouring of the film. The big bright lights of The Philosopher’s Stone are all gone, half of this film is so incredibly dark it is a little hard to make out what is happening, but that was expected. Harry, Hermione and Ron are on a mission to find the final Horcruxes which should hopefully put an end to Lord Voldemorts reign of terror and as they seek out the remaining few they are lead into more and more danger until Potter himself has to make a choice. In a blistering action sequence at the beginning, Hermione finally puts on a sexy outfit to please to grown men watching as she transforms into Bellatrix Lestrange (hurrah!) and our three heroes sneak into Gringott’s Bank to find a horcrux. Suspenseful does not even come close to doing this scene justice as they brilliantly sneak in and then pull off an Indiana Jones type scene on a cart riding on a falling down train track. With the added bonus of a Dragon, this is one of those special scenes that only Harry Potter films can pull off (this is how it SHOULD be done, Chronicles of Narnia directors!) It’s fast paced, action packed and utter utter brilliance! The film is littered with great action moments like this and after another quick bit of talking we head back to Hogwarts where Snape has taken over Headmaster duties.
With Potter back in Hogwarts, it feels like old times after the coldness of Deathly Hallows part 1. All the familiar faces are there, Neville, The Weasley Twins, Luna and Ginny and a certain teacher makes one Hell of a stand and things, for a moment, feel safe again. It doesn’t last, Potter needs to find another Horcrux, Draco Malfoy is causing problems and a certain Lord Voldemort is on his way to Hogwarts to lead his army into an epic attack which rivals anything in the Lord of the Rings. Ralph Fiennes absolutely nails it as the Dark Lord, he is evil personified and some scenes just may be too strong for very young kids. An attack by his slithering giant snake is particularly horrible and actually had me a little disturbed! Hogwarts puts up its defences and all of a sudden the film shifts gear and you really get a sense of everything coming to a head and a feeling of both excitement and fear overwhelms. You care about Potter see, and you have grown to love the characters so much that this big, massive battle is actually very very emotional to watch. Thoughts of years gone by where the kids were having fun, learning about how to face the dark arts, playing with spells, playing Quidditch, all that is gone as the school comes under a savage attack. It is edge of your seat stuff and I can’t see many other big spectacles topping this for the rest of the year! But that’s not all, we have the showdown with Harry and Voldemort, we have characters returning and there a scenes upon scenes of emotional moments which will have you all over the place. One minute you are gasping at how utterly brilliant everything loos on screen, the next you are close to tears as a moment involving your ‘friends’ brings emotions out you never knew existed.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 is a superb end to the movie franchise, and David Yates could not have done the story anymore justice even if he tried. This is a film of inch perfect special effects, the pacing is absolutely spot on, there is just the right amount of emotion and comedy to balance your feelings, there is still room for an ultra special moment of romance, every single one of the cast give it their all and nothing about this film will make you feel cheated in any way. I cannot praise this film enough, it is perfect, absolutely perfect and I honestly cannot wait to see it again just to take in what I missed due to it being so utterly brilliant. I found myself on the edge of my seat many many times, I found myself squeezing the wife’s hand to almost breaking point without even noticing, she bawled her eyes out and we both left the cinema on an absolute high at how great a finish this was. Clearly we were gutted at it all finishing, but it finished in glorious style. This truly is THE film to beat this Summer, a superb job by everyone involved and one of the finest films you will see all year!