Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Deathly Hallows - Part 2" a Dark, Epic Harry Potter Finale

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 61 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Running time: 130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
DIRECTOR: David Yates
WRITER: Steve Kloves (based upon the novel by J.K. Rowling)
PRODUCERS: David Barron and David Heyman and J.K. Rowling
EDITOR: Mark Day
COMPOSER: Alexandre Desplat


Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, George Harris, and Bonnie Wright

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the seventh (and final) novel in the Harry Potter book series. Warner Bros. Pictures is releasing the film adaptation of the book as two films. The first film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, arrived in theatres in November 2010. Now, the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, has hit theatres with a bang. It’s an excellent film, fun as usual, but sad because this is an ending.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his closest friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), embarked on a quest to find and destroy the Horcruxes, which hold the secret of the immortality of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). They’re down to the last few Horcruxes, and one of them is hidden at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The trio must return to Hogwarts, where they are no longer welcomed and will need the help of friends to enter. Meanwhile, Voldemort and his army of followers march on the school, and a pitched battle between the defenders of the school and Voldemort’s forces ensues. Now, the Dark Lord and boy wizard prepare for their final showdown.

By turning Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the novel into two movies, Warner Bros. Pictures is able to make a more faithful adaptation of the book or, at least, an adaptation that has more of the book in it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2 can be viewed as one larger movie, but with each movie having its own distinctive tone and style. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is contemplative, tense, and suspenseful like an espionage or psychological thriller. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is darker in tone, but has the look and scope of a grand epic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is an action movie, one filled with gritty conflict, soaring flights, hair-raising missions, and desperate bids for escape. Occasionally, the film does stumble; the pace becomes awkward, it’s rhythm out of step. At those times, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 seems more about tying up loose ends than about being the grand finale it should be, but those moments don’t dominate the film.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is as thrilling and as visually dazzling as the previous films, but this one has a dragon flight that, for me at least, surpasses any other scene of magically-powered flight in this film franchise. This scene looks natural, more plausible, seeming to capture how a dragon, if such a thing existed, would move. It’s a sequence that should earn Deathly Hallows: Part 2 a best visual effects Oscar nomination, at least.

The final Harry Potter film may also surpass the others in the actors’ performances because Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is powerfully acted. As the series went along, the characters’ became more complex, moving from familiar archetypes to complicated people with shifting motivations and personalities and also becoming darker. In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the characters, from Harry and Voldemort on down, are either made vulnerable or become more vulnerable than they ever were. Ralph Fiennes’s turn as Voldemort is layered and textured; suddenly, the Dark Lord is made tragic… even sympathetic. Fiennes will make you love as well as love-to-hate this great villain.

In the end, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, our beloved star trio, don’t disappoint. Their ability to perform together and their screen chemistry affirm that this story was never just about Harry Potter alone. I don’t need to spend too many more words on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. That last scene of Harry, Ron, and Hermione together embodies the magic that this series offered and why we are sad that the story is ending, for now…

8 of 10

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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