Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

23 Feb

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

At age 11 (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”), the young wizard Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione spent their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as they encountered a giant three-headed dog, fought a troll, and played a life-size game of chess. At age 12 (“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”), they solved a deadly mystery that included mutant spiders, a dark underground chamber, and a giant snake. At age 13 (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”), they were pursued by a mysterious prisoner of Azkaban (the wizard prison) who turned out to be something more. At age 14 (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”), Harry was faced by deadly challenges (including a dragon, vicious merpeople, and a treacherous hedge maze) before he witnessed the return of the evil Lord Voldemort, the former Hogwarts student who became evil and tried to overrun the wizarding world before he disappeared (but not before killing Harry’s parents). Now Voldemort is back and is slowly but surely gathering other wizards and witches to create an army to finish what he started. So at age 15 (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”), Harry taught other students how to defend themselves, should they have to fight against Voldemort and his followers. Then at age 16 (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”), Harry and school headmaster Dumbledore discover a way to defeat Voldemort. But Dumbledore is killed, leaving Harry, Ron, and Hermione to eventually, at age 17 (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”), find hidden objects that contain remnants of Voldemort’s soul. Once they destroy them, Voldemort is vulnerable.

Whew! I tell you, these kids have been on more adventures than Indiana Jones.

Anyway, they’ve destroyed three of these “Horcruxes” so far, now with two more to go as Voldemort and his army grows stronger. Thus, we have the long-awaited cinematic conclusion to the beloved and successful “Harry Potter” film series, adapted from the most-beloved book series by J.K. Rowling. This is Part 2 of the seventh and final book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” leaving this to be the eighth and final film. The result is a most satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series of films.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” picks up where “Part 1” left off. Voldemort has found the wand that is said to be the most powerful of them all as he seeks out Harry and sends out his army of Death Eaters to overtake Hogwarts. In the meantime, Harry, Ron, and Hermione still have to find the last two horcruxes. They locate one in a scene that’s in the spirit of the previous films’ harrowing adventure scenes (this one involving a dragon) before racing off to find themselves back at Hogwarts.

The only thing I can say about the rest of the plot is this: For those who were upset that “Part 1” may have ended abruptly (by the way, what’d you expect from a “part 1” anyway?), it’s time to watch “Part 2” and witness what we’ve all been waiting for—the final confrontation between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. The previous films have been building up to it and now it’s finally here. I can say that it doesn’t disappoint. It’s dark and epic, just as we wanted it to be.

Every past setup has its payoff and every character has his/her moment (I especially like how Professor McGonagall, played by Dame Maggie Smith, rolls up her sleeves) as Hogwarts becomes a battleground for the students and teachers of Hogwarts versus Voldemort and his large army Death Eaters.

Now, I can’t say exactly what the bolts shot out of each character’s wands do to whoever is hit by them. But I don’t care—they’re lethal. Isn’t that enough? I suppose so.

We get an introduction to Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth Dumbledore (Ciaran Hinds) who helps the central trio back to Hogwarts. Then, we get other sides of characters we already knew, particularly Snape (delightful deadpan Alan Rickman) who has become Voldemort’s assistant. We had our suspicions about him before we found out he was just unpleasant. Now, he’s turned over to the dark side and even killed Prof. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) in the sixth film. Not giving anything away, we discover why Snape wasn’t so fond of Harry from the start and why…he is what he is. As for Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), Harry’s slimy bully at Hogwarts who also became a Death Eater along with his father (Jason Isaacs) and mother, we get hints at where he’s going but we get the point nonetheless. We get a more heroic side of the once-nervous Hogwarts student Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) and—I swear, I am not kidding here—an actual emotion—though brief, mind you—from Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch). And then there’s Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). We know what we already knew from the previous films and that’s all the character needs in the end. Who have I left out? Well, two characters briefly seen in the first film make appearances here (but they’re very crucial)—they’re played by Warwick Davis and John Hurt. Oh, and of course, there’s Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Harry’s love interest. Well, let’s just leave it at that.

The actors—young and old—have become their roles, as is expected after seven previous films. In fact, you wonder what feature film roles the young actors Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson (Hermione) will take on next. To me, they will always be Harry, Ron, and Hermione. They have become their characters in these movies, physically and emotionally. It will be interesting to see what they do next.

So what else is there to say about “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2?” The pacing is brilliant (there isn’t a dull moment here), the dialogue isn’t hurried, and there are pleasant surprises for those who haven’t read the books and are fans of the films (don’t worry—those who read the books may be delighted as well). Even though the epilogue leaves an open door for a continuation, J.K. Rowling informs the public that it won’t happen. So I suppose what is left to say is…goodbye.

One Response to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)”

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  1. Prepping for My Top 20 Films of the 2010s | Smith's Verdict - November 26, 2019

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