A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

November 12, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Back when Amanda and I reviewed all the Harry Potter films back to back in a single week I said that the movie before this one was not much of a movie in its own right. The first movie feels incomplete, ending on a cliffhanger with almost nothing resolved. Ultimately I have to say that I think this was the correct choice, because by getting all that groundwork laid and out of the way the film makers allow this last film to be a rousing, powerful conclusion to the series. There’s so much last minute plot exposition that takes place in the last Potter book that it would have left this movie feeling unwieldy and bogged down if an attempt had been made to fit it all into a single film. As it is the movie suffers somewhat because there are so many tangled plot threads to unravel and resolve.

In book six Jo introduced the Horcruxes which contain pieces of Voldemort’s soul and keep him immortal as long as they continue to exist. Before he died Dumbledore only managed to destroy one (the ring) and Harry had destroyed one (the diary) but they failed to destroy the amulet, so there’s four or five Horcruxes left to be found and destroyed all in the last book. Then there’s the Deathly Hallows – the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak and the Elder Wand – introduced in book seven. Not to mention the resolution of Snape’s story arc, the final reveal of Dumbledore’s plans, and the various character romances. The story of the Elder Wand alone was convoluted and confusing to me when I first read this book and I had grave doubts about the ability of the film makers to present it in a way that made sense, much less all the other stuff involved in this movie.

With all this in mind I think that director David Yates and his team did an admirable job creating a satisfying and appropriate conclusion to the Harry Potter series. Given the source material they had to work with the movie they have crafted is better than I had let myself think it would end up being.

By necessity much of the plot is elided, truncated and abridged. We find out nothing about the origins of the Elder Wand for example, and many of the side plots from the books have disappeared (such as the evil werewolf Fenrir Greyback who made Remus Lupin a werewolf and attacked Bill Weasley.) The result is a sort of intense and distilled rendition of the seventh book, which makes for great viewing and packs a pretty good punch.

Much of the power of this movie, I would argue, is derived from an inescapable sense of finality. There really has never been a franchise like Harry Potter. This movie represents the culmination of a meandering story involving a core set of characters that have become familiar over the course of more than a whole decade. I think that it is inevitable that after such a build up this movie would have a lot of power to it. Which it does. Watching this movie is like saying goodbye to old friends. Somewhat like the bittersweet farewells at a high school or college graduation.

So goodbye Harry, Ron and Hermione. Goodbye Snape, Dumbledore and Hagrid. Goodbye Flitwick, Slughorn and Trelawney. Goodbye Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. For all the issues I might have with you I have loved getting to know you over the years, and I’m going to miss you.

Advertisements

November 12, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: