Jul 25, 2011

[Movies] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II (2011)Well, it's the end of another era. In the same way that the initial end of the Lord of the Rings movie franchise (before The Hobbit truly found its feet), a lot of geek fans felt pretty good that things wrapped up as well as they did while also feeling a little sad that the movies are over. And one can only imagine how the studio executives felt once they realized their cash cow of a vessel was sailing off into the horizon.

Now here's a franchise that pretty much raised an entire generation of kids. Spanning 7 core books and 8 movies, the Harry Potter franchise is one that has raised a generation of kids to be lovers of fantasy even if only to a limited degree. It triggered a new wave of books targeted at younger audiences and help spur other franchises to multimedia success. Yes, even Twilight owes a bit of gratitude to the ground that was broken when Harry Potter first hit the big screen.

And with hordes of fans and casual movie-goers alike having watching the child actors of the movie franchise grow up right before our very eyes, it does present a unique experience that is hard for anyone else to replicate. And thus for good or for ill, this movie marks a pretty momentous event in our shared cultural history.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II is the 2011 second half of the movie adaptation of the final book in the Harry Potter series. The movie was directed by David Yates, who took over the helm of handling the Harry Potter movies starting with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The screenplay was written by Steve Kloves.

The movie resumes shortly after the death of Dobby at the end of the last movie. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) try to convince Griphook (Warwick Davis) to help them break into the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) at Gringotts Bank, where they suspect one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes is being kept safe. He reluctantly agrees to do this for a rather hefty price and thus the trio are set to continue on their mission. But before they go, they ask for the help of the rescued Ollivander (John Hurt) to identify two ones - one belonging to Bellatrix and the other having belonged to Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). he certifies them as authentic and thus they continue on in their plan.

Daniel Radcliffe filming for Harry Potter and ...Image via WikipediaThe race is on for them to secure the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them in order to defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). But Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken control of most of Wizard society including Hogwarts. Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) is now headmaster of the wizarding school, which is now under Death Eater control and guarded by hordes of dementors. The quest to destroy the Horcruxes eventually brings all the players back to Hogwarts for the final epic battle.

Now the movie did a pretty good job of following the original story of the book with a few visual embellishments here and there. And that's unavoidable since some things just won't translate into the medium very well plus the director does have his right to add certain stresses and accents in terms of the final product. But that also means a lot of the things that I felt were wrong with the original book were carried over to the movie in the efforts of being faithful to the source material. And since they decided to cut the last book's story into two in order to save all the great action-y bits for this movie, expectations were a tad high.

But the fighting wasn't quite as epic as I wanted it to be, and it seems a lot of people felt this way too. The initial build-up was good with the various pieces getting assembled on the board (metaphorically speaking) but then the actual fighting sort of degenerated into a lot of random visual noise that didn't serve much purpose. None of the three main cast had their moment in the spotlight to have strong heroic scenes of anything of that nature and some of the key death scenes went by with a whimper instead of a bang - I'm looking at YOU Molly Weasley (Julie Walters).

But still, they did the best they could with the source material and as much as I would have love to have seen how many of the "off-screen" deaths had happened, we know that even in the book they just sort of did without much fanfare. Heck, the movie even carried over the annoying 4th act to the story that Rowling had introduced - that weird and pretty much unnecessary epilogue at the end of the movie.

The movie was a fitting end I suppose. It had a job to fulfill and a pretty established story to follow and it did that well. But if we take the context of the books away, I suppose it'll still hold water. It just wasn't quite as great as it could have been.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II really has more of an emotional impact on audiences not because it's a great movie but more because of the strong fan base the franchise has built up over the years. With the end comes the final release of all those pent up emotions and the acceptance that there are no more movies to follow - at least for now. But focusing on the movie, it still gets 3.5 moments of Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) being surprisingly HOT out of a possible 5.

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  1. In the novel, there were actually Reinforcements: Oliver Wood, Charlie Weasley, Norberta, and other Hogwarts students that already graduated. Also, in the novel, Voldemort has his Giants while Hogwarts has it's Centaurs. Those were not shown on the movie.

    You're right Rocky about the actual fight scene though. It wasn't grand. I was expecting that it would exceed the Defense of Helm's Deep (LOTR) scene. But at least, Molly Weasley's moment was shown as I expected. Overall, the movie's good :)

  2. Yeah, I was looking for all that as well. Centaurs!

    But I felt Molly's scene could have had more emotional impact. She said the line, but I didn't feel it.