Review | Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits the ground sprinting, maintaining its relentless pace through almost the entire two-hour running time. It’s really half a movie when you get right down to it: Part 1 saw all the players being maneuvered into position; Part Two, on the other hand, is all about execution, as fans of the J.K. Rowling-penned book series know very well.

The movie commendably keeps the needs of those fans in focus throughout. Never once does the story submit to the temptation to recap previous events. This is the adapted second half of the final story in a seven-book series — if you’re not clear on what’s going on, then you shouldn’t be in the theater to begin with.

If you are a fan who’s been keeping up, your ticket is probably already purchased. All you really need to know is this: Deathly Hallows: Part 2 isn’t the best movie in the Harry Potter series, but it is an excellent and completely fitting conclusion. It may well be the one that takes the most creative departures from the book, but it’s all in the service of delivering a better cinematic experience. Since this is a review, though, I guess I’ll go into a little more detail.

In the last movie, all of the assembled major and minor Harry Potter players got to step up, say a few lines and take a bow. There’s much less time for talking here. Everyone still gets a chance to step up, but here it’s so they can all have a badass moment. Even if it results in their death. You may be worried seeing mention of “creative departures,” but make no mistake: Deathly Hallows pulls no punches. The right characters die for the right reasons; any changes from the book exist mostly to help move things along, and they work well.

Our three stars are, of course, at the center of it all. We’ve watched Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson transition from child actors into adult ones over the years, and this is their coming-of-age moment. The trio’s stellar performance carries us through, giving the nonstop barrage of action scenes some much-needed purpose. Their chemistry plays a big part of that; these three actors have literally grown up together, and their bonds of friendship that extend beyond the movie set are writ large across the screen.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is an action movie at its core, much more so than any of the previous Harry Potter films. The set pieces look stunning, the culmination of more than a decade of evolving special effects work. The Gringotts heist is an unqualified highlight, but it’s the Battle of Hogwarts, which spans most of the movie’s final hour, where all of the pieces fall together. There are giants and oversized spiders, soldiers made of stone and scores of wizards flinging spells at one another. It’s beautiful chaos; just when you think we’ve hit a peak, the level of intensity steps up a notch.

The more story-focused moments look back to Rowling’s novel in all of the right ways. Harry’s final encounter with Dumbledore is a standout moment, serving as a breather between the non-stop action of the Hogwarts throwdown and the final showdown with Lord Voldemort, which is also handled perfectly.

The only misstep is the much-talked-about epilogue, a 19-years-later look at our key players in which our three stars (plus Tom Felton) stroll around in older-person makeup as they send their own kids off to Hogwarts at the start of the school year. It’s a scene that plays much better on the page than it does on the screen. Maybe Warner Bros. should have hired Daniel Stern to do a voiceover here? The epilogue doesn’t take anything away from the movie, but it does feel tacked on and unnecessary.

Overall, though, Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a big win for both the series and for director David Yates, who also did fantastic work on Part 1, Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince. He’s overseen the big-screen telling of the darkest stories in the series, no small challenge for such a family-oriented set of releases. Like those that came before it, Part Two strikes the perfect balance between scary, unsettling imagery and the lighthearted adventures at the core of each story.

That’s really the long and short of it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the movie you’ve waited 10 years to see. There’s no last-minute disaster for the franchise, no bungled conclusion that undoes everything leading up to it. Harry and his friends take one last ride and, as you’d expect, it’s non-stop thrills all the way through.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opens Friday nationwide.

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Comments

  • http://twitter.com/Dawnell_do Dawnell_do

    Awesome movie!

  • AndyB

    Personally I found the film as pedestrian as all the rest of the Yates directed films in the series. I found it short, less than epic and left me shaking my head as events from the book were changed not for time (in a movie that ran little more than 2 hours) or narrative reasons. I found myself wishing they could remake the last 4 films while the principle cast is young enough. Still TDHp2 will have a special place in my heart because Roger Ebert sat 5 feet in front of me. 

  • Krayz

    5 hours, 53 mintues for me…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    “Never once does the story submit to the temptation to recap previous events.”

    Why would it? It was one script.

    “It’s a scene that plays much better on the page than it does on the screen.”

    Then I’m really going to hate that scene. I thought it was terrible in the book.

    ” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the movie you’ve waited 10 years to see.”

    14 years. I remember reading the first book in 1997 and wanting a movie. :p

  • Chenevertjeremy

    I love it thank you

  • Space Cowboy

    Sorry Potter fanatics, but all I can say is thank god this is finally over.  I’ve never understood the acclaim this series gets and I’m so sick of hearing about it.  I’ve given it a try to appease some of my friends but I still think it’s one of the most overrated franchises ever. 

    Glad to hear its ending well for the fans.  Maybe someday I’ll manage to get through the fourth movie and figure out what all the fuss is about.

  • Cjorg2

    So sick of hearing about it, but still taking the time to read and comment online about it?  Interesting…

  • Cjorg2

    What leaves me shaking my head is how you found all the rest of the Yates directed films “pedestrian” yet kept watching them, and even paid to see the latest one.  WTF?

  • Cjorg2

    Absolutely loved the last film.  Spent the last week watching the previous films back-to-back and was quite chuffed to see how everything came together.

    Personally I found the epilogue to be an excellent end to the series.

  • Bazell

    There was plenty to like, but plenty changes that annoyed me.  Things needn’t be exactly as they are on the page at all times, but the purpose of adaptions is the realization of the story – the FULL story.  Many changes didn’t bother me, such as showing Ron and Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets or feeling the break-in of Gringotts was more abbreviated than I’d have liked, but other departures felt lame and unnecessary.  Harry’s conversation with the Grey Lady, Fred’s death and the final confrontation between Harry and Tom all were irksome.  I get that the movies need to be made for the general population first, but I question the necessity of neutering Dumbledore’s character from the book by not explaining his history.  As a fan of the books, those sorts of changes and moments where it feels like an entire scene just got cut out, it really takes me out of the moment.
    The epilogue was weird, too.  I guess Harry looked ok in the make up and prosthetics (but not really), but the rest of them looked like 20 year olds trying to look older.

    That said, my complaints aside, I was entertained and remained interested throughout the movie.  Leaving the theater, I didn’t feel like it was a wasted trip.

  • geo

    someones on her period.

  • AndyB

    1. I didn’t pay to see it 
    2. I kept wanting Yates’ films to be better. I loved the books and liked the rest of the movies in the series even with some flaws, but Yates’ films were like Potter with the “magic” removed from them. They just never lived up to the world in the books or even that of the 1st 4 films. That said I never said his film was horrible, they’re just sort of there. I have no desire to see them again even though I will have to pay to see this last one on Saturday with my niece.

  • http://khiaao.blogspot.com Khiaao

    cool….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Yea, only it never fucking stops.

  • 0bsessions

    “The only misstep is the much-talked-about epilogue, a 19-years-later look at our key players in which our three stars (plus Tom Felton) stroll around in older-person makeup as they send their own kids off to Hogwarts at the start of the school year. It’s a scene that plays much better on the page than it does on the screen.”

    The grass is always greener. I remember when the book came out a few years ago and the biggest complaint I heard was disdain for the epilogue (In all honesty, I’d have loved it if they brought back Columbus and John Williams to do the epilogue for that full circle effect). I actually kind of enjoyed it, as it really seemed to hearken back to the writing style of the first couple of books in a way that seemed appropriate. That said, it was pretty universally reviled, so why should the movie be any different?

  • 0bsessions

    Your credibility dips a bit when you compare it unfavorably to the fourth one. That one was a complete disaster outside of Mad Eye.

  • http://twitter.com/geminibros Adam Rosenberg

    Fred dies in the book too, FYI.

  • HPFan1

    Its a shame the epilogue was a weak point, because it was equally weak in the book in my opinion. I wish they could have done something to make it better, oh well.

  • sb66

    I was overall happy with the film. I thought the Gringotts break in and the scene in the room of requirement were perfect. I wish they had done the final battle with voldemort a little more similar to the books though. I thought it was much more epic with all of hogwarts watching the battle in the book. One other small thing is that he just split the elder wand in half without repairing his old wand like he did in the book, it just doesn’t make sense. Who’s wand will he use now, Bellatrixes?
    But these are all just minor complaints. I thought out of the Yates films part 1 was the best and the sixth movie was the worst, but none were nearly as bad as the 4th movie was.

  • Space Cowboy

    I like reading movie reviews, so sue me.  I read the Green Lantern review without having any interest in seeing it and did the same with this article.  No need to get your wand in a knot.

  • Perry Hotter

    This crap was almost as bad as Twilight.  Last time my girlfriend gets to pick the movie.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    That’s what you get for letting her make decisions in the first place.

  • Perry Hotter

    Good point!  Duly noted. :)

  • Joey

     

    I thought the final battle was epic, and the best part of the
    whole film. My kids and I can’t wait until this movie comes out on DVD. Until
    it does, we can always enjoy the other movies whenever we want. As a customer and employee
    of DISH, I know that right now, there is a promotion where you can get 3 free
    months of Blockbuster when you sign up for DISH Network!  Here is all the
    information. I can’t wait to see this movie again!

  • Anonymous

    Daniel Radcliffe was the perfect actor to play the
    role of Harry Potter, it’s indeed a great story and worked well as a motion
    picture. I would recommend seeing it at least once by using the new Blockbuster Movie Pass,
    because right now if you switch to DISH Network you can get the Blockbuster
    Movie Pass FREE for 3 months. There are over 100,000 movie titles to choose
    from there. As a DISH Network customer and employee I can tell you that if
    you’re in the mood for a movie not in your queue, that’s no problem! You can
    get a different title right now with instant in-store exchanges, that way you
    won’t have to wait for your title in the mail. (You can’t do that with Netflix)