Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Directed by: David Yates Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter Running Time: 2 hr 10 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: July 15, 2011
This is a "Seen It" review. You've seen it. I've seen it. That means all plot points and spoilers are fair game and will be discussed. The only reason to read this review is if you have already watched the film, or never plan on seeing it, but for some reason, you'd like to know what TSR thought about it. We walk you through the key moments in the film, adding in our thoughts along the way. You've been warned.
PLOT: Harry Potter (Radcliffe) must destroy the remaining horcruxes, while Voldermort (Fiennes) vows to kill everyone who stands in his way of defeating the boy who lived.
Movie: After the end of Part 1 is shown again, the movie slows things down in a few quiet exchanges of dialogue in a goblin's hut. Thoughts by TSR: This finale might hype up fans at the start with its re-showing of Voldemort getting the wand from dead grand wizard Dumbledore's grave, but after that moment this movie gets really quiet. Even in the speed in which the "camera" flies through the WB logo in the beginning, indicates how calm things are in this moment compared to the emotional storm of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Movie: Harry and friends + goblin sneak into the Gringotts Bank, ride the roller coaster transportation system, and obtain the cup horcrux. Thoughts by TSR: Helena Bonham Carter does a funny impersonation of Hermione, and shows that the film wouldn't suffer if it had more Bellatrix. And when they're in the immaculately calm Gringotts, I began to wonder, "What's with goblins and quietness?" The route to the chamber within the mountains of Gringotts allows for a roller coaster moment, which is impressive to look at in either 2D or 3D. Are chamber visitors required to know that levitation spell, because they always get dropped? The alarm on the cart throws me off. Regardless, this is when the action picks up a bit, with the help of a loud fire-breathing dragon and a multitude of multiplying things. Some very good art design in this moment, though I was disappointed to see the reappearance of something I don't like about the Harry Potter films - wand shootouts. There are definitely moments when this scene is reminiscent of Star Wars. I expected the three wizards to be stuck in a cramming situation, or for a snake thing to pull them underneath and try to drown them.
Movie: Dumbledore's brother helps Harry and friends break into Hogwarts, where Snape and McGonagle have a brief fight before Snape escapes. Thoughts by TSR: Whoa, is that Ciaran Hinds? That's some really good makeup right there. This is another quiet exchange in the movie, possibly the last one before the pace really picks up in one way or the other once everyone gets to Hogwarts.
Movie: After surviving a tidal wave of Voldemort's face, Ron and Hermione finally make out. Harry grabs his tiara thing, and Professor McGonagle gets a couple of good lines. Thoughts by TSR: Next to Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith is the other actress who has little appearance in these last two films, but makes her screentime worth it. Finally, Ron and Hermione make out, and suddenly so. A bit too random, I think - it's just getting splashed for a second, but I'll allow it. In Harry's situation, I was most enamored with the art direction in this scene than anything else. I didn't know that one of Malfoy's goons had started the fire until my Potter-ite girlfriend explained to me. But why is the fire so big? The broom-riding looked corny. Like, Dean Cain flying in "The Adventures of Lois and Clark" corny.
Movie: Neville Longbottom destroys the bridge but not before being chased by a bunch of ticked-off evil wizards. Thoughts by TSR: Neville is the underdog of the series, with his silly name and clumsy wizardry. When he defends the bridge he is given his own goofy moments, which is a small victory for awkward anti-heroes in both fiction and non-fiction. But who are these people that Voldemort has in his gang, who are sent to attack the bridge? Are these ex-Slytherin members, or paid hench-wizards? This doesn't feel like an army, but a large group of ragtag stick-wavers. I think one of them is even wearing a beanie. So they can't be "Death Eaters," right, because those are ghost-like hover things? Are those what "Death Eaters" are? Just one example of this movie, which is not playing in theaters that require Harry Potter membership fan cards, not helping out its non-fans.
Movie: Harry and his two friends dash through the courtyard of Hogwarts as gloomy music plays over this montage. Spiders show up. Thoughts by TSR: Presenting an "epic" battle sequence in slow motion with sad music playing is a cliche, but it's actually a good fit here. If this scene were to push the action into overdrive and have Harry and his two friends dashing around to pulsating strings, it would have been too much. You know what was too much? The spiders. Okay, I can accept the troll-like creatures bounding into Hogwarts; it's good they've finally gotten a job since The Return of the King. But spiders? Without saying where they came from? The courtyard craziness is nonsensical enough.
Movie: Snape is killed by Voldemort, but not before Harry can collect his tears to use them for a flashback that takes us to Snape's younger life with Harry's mother. Thoughts by TSR: The elder wand is a neat concept, but it's frustrating that no one, not even master wiz's like Snape and Voldemort seem to get it. It's a nice twist for the movie to say someone has to die for the control, but you'd think someone of Snape's experience would know that rule already. Regardless, Snape's death might be one of the more compelling moments in the movie - it has a the proper amount of innuendo to be haunting, if not a little disturbing. The flashback Harry witnesses in that hovering water dish is the movie's best scene.
Movie: Harry talks to dead people, and then sacrifices himself to Voldemort. Thoughts by TSR: This movie is morbid, but its recurring tidbits about dying make the topic sound a bit too romantic. Sirius Black says death is "quicker than falling asleep," and then in train station limbo Dumbledore says "pity the living." Anywho, Harry completes his messianic journey by dying for his friends and then coming back to life to save everyone else. I suppose I should have expected that. Oh and before I forget ... WHAT THE F**K IS WITH THE BLOODY VOLDEMORT FETUS? Was that extremely unnecessary or just very unnecessary?
Movie: Neville makes a speech that allows the not-dead Harry to escape Voldemort, causing the battle to reignite. Thoughts by TSR: Neville's speech about Harry living in our hearts is either a lazy connection to what Potter's ghost dad told him either, or just a cheesy copy. The wand shootouts continue to make little sense, unless we get an actual exchange between two people. There's a shot inside the tower of Hogwarts that looks pretty decent, and even uses a freezing of action to good effect. The underwhelming delivery of "Not my daughter, you b*tch" moment is random, and Bellatrix's death isn't as cool as it may look.
Movie: Harry and Voldemort have their final life-deciding wand battle, which ends with Voldemort dying after Neville sneaks up and slays Nagini. Thoughts by TSR: Yates may not know how to capture a shootout, but he knows how to soak up his "epic" imagery. Just like those stunning wide shots of Hogwarts covering itself with a shield, the imagery of Voldemort's and Harry Potter's wand beams colliding into each other like two nuclear forces is a cool image. The heroic killing of snake Nagini by Neville is a nice surprise. I can only imagine how readers might have been when they read that part in the book. And after years of wreaking havoc, the weakened Voldemort dies, but blows away in the wind ... like ash from a cigarette.
Movie: After the battle is over, the truth about the elder wand is revealed, causing Harry to snap it in half and toss it into oblivion. Thoughts by TSR: There are more deaths being shown in this scene, but to non-fans the faces will be unrecognizable. It's relieving that Harry breaks the wand. For some reason, I thought he was going to give it to Ron, or keep it for himself. After all, wouldn't that allow at least a few cracks in the story that could give leeway for a sequel?
Movie: It's 19 years later, and Harry and Draco have facial hair. Some of the friends, including Hermione especially, hardly look a day older than they did at 17. Thoughts by TSR: I heard laughter during this scene, and I've heard general distaste for this epilogue. But I like it how it both continues the magic, and also ages its characters to a point in which we understand whatever the rest of their lives will be. Although it opens the books for a "Harry Potter Jr."-like series, it provides closure about its three most important characters.
There are parts to this finale that are truly beautiful, and there are also moments that are equally clunky. Such sloppiness can range from goofy plot holes to lackluster editing that turn action sequences into mush. Perhaps fans of Potter are more accepting of the film's tendency to look generic - the battle of Hogwarts, which has been built up in an entire previous film, is nothing special, especially when it is composed in the same incoherent way of any battle in George Lucas' last three Star Wars films.
While it might be able to excite all moviegoers with some exciting yet familiar messianic plot lines and its incredibly labored special effects, this finale still relies on the forgiveness of its millions of fans to accept its dulling imperfections so that it may feel like the sparkling goodbye it should've been.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10