Mark Metcalf
Moving Pictures

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

By - Jul 15th, 2011 04:00 am
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The end of it all. The books. The movies. The special effects. The plot twists. The great English actors finding moments everywhere. The intricate world of the wizards.

The end.

The first novel was published 14 years ago, and since then Harry and his friends have gone through a rather difficult (but thoroughly exciting) puberty. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have grown into young men and women, and are now beginning to find careers beyond the walls of Hogwarts.  Even if we tried to ignore what at first seemed to be just a fad, many unlikely fans have emerged over the course of the series, nurturing a fondness for Harry, Hermione and Ron, Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape, Sirius and Hagrid. We even have our favorites.

If you don’t know (and love) the books and the movies pretty well, The Deathly Hallows Part 2 may drag in places. The film lingers lovingly over plot points and characters that haven’t earned the time in this two-hour-and-ten-minute finale.  At times, it’s a little like a crowded wake after the funeral, when you knew the deceased, but not as well as others, so you listen to story after story until the feeling of loss turns into a desire to go somewhere and get better food and a real drink with a couple of close friends or enemies.


Images courtesy of Warner Brothers Entertainment.

Emma Watson as Hermione looks stricken a little too often. Interesting and possibly eccentric young actors like Rupert Grint as Ron are not given much to do other than stand around waiting for the next move from Harry, and that is frustrating. The only truly spontaneous laugh comes from Maggie Smith, who has given us moments of laughter and tears for five decades. Michael Gambon as Professor Albus Dumbledore imbues the role with all his own greatness and grandeur. (Ever since J.K. Rowling announced that Dumbledore was homosexual, I think Gambon has had more of a twinkle in his eye and sensuality in his gate. That is a secret that an actor can have fun with.)

It is difficult to create the final film in a series — there is a tendency to want to tie up all the loose ends and give everyone their due. There may never be a final film in the James Bond series, just a continued rebirth as a new actors who can wear a tuxedo exit the gym. Batman continues to be re-imagined, darker and darker each time. Indiana Jones couldn’t let it be, even after almost twenty years.

But this Harry Potter movie has to be the last.

Generally the effects are good, if unsurprising. The direction is sound, if also unsurprising. And the script, which has to work too hard to tie up all those loose ends, is satisfactory.

However, the absolute end of the film is very moving in surprising ways. At that point, nineteen years have past and we see a slightly portly Ron and a fussy Hermione, along with a deeply sincere Harry and his cipher wife, Ginny, as each couple loads their eldest children onto the train for their first year at Hogwarts. I didn’t think I would miss Harry Potter until I saw him older and settled and loving the next generation, when the storytellers let life go on.

That’s when I knew he was grown and gone, and at that moment, for the first time, I was sorry to see him go.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, opens nationwide Friday July 15. In Milwaukee, it will screen at Marcus Cinemas, AMC, iPic and the Oriental Theatre. For more information, click here.

Categories: Movies

0 thoughts on “Moving Pictures: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This “last” Harry Potter movie will leave anyone who has not seen the first six (who would that be??) baffled.

    Nothing is explained in the first scenes and the whole film is very dark and forbidding. But for those of us who have seen the entire series, the conclusion will be satisfying… even if it does take several hours (it seemed) to get there.

    It also seems that J.K Rowling was not quite sure how to end the series, but that’s OK because Harry Potter will now live on, on-line.

    The 3-D version has it’s moments, but you won’t miss much seeing it in 2-D. My family enjoyed it and it is kind of bittersweet that H.P. won’t be on our UltraScreens every other summer, anymore.

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