The moment has come for every budding witch and wizard to say goodbye to the cash cow that has been the Harry Potter franchise and what a send-off he’s been given.
David Yates has once again returned to helm the final instalment in the most profitable movie franchise in history and whilst he has created a near perfect film technically, it falls down on a few points like a lack of character development and overly rushed script.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 picks up immediately from the 1st chapter with a quick reminder of what preceded it. This is a welcome start as the film feels a little disjointed in parts and if you’re not a loyal Harry Potter fan; chances are you won’t understand what’s going on.
Voldermort is gaining power as Harry, Ron and Hermione search for the missing horcruxes in order to destroy them and cripple the fearsome villain. Their travels bring them back to where it all started; Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardy; which has changed since we saw it last. Hogwarts has been rendered fabulously and is perhaps the best use of the 3D technology in the entire film. The sweeping shots of the lush, yet foreboding landscape surrounding the iconic castle are given new depth as we literally fly through the sky and smash through castle windows.
The decision to convert the film into 3D was met with mixed reviews from critics who said it would spoil a film which didn’t need it. To some extent this is true, there is a definite lack of focus throughout the film as the eye tries to focus on too many things at once, but it is far from the worst 3D conversion I’ve seen.
Performance wise, everyone has upped their game. The main trio have developed strong bonds with each other in real life and this really shows in the film as they battle against near certain death to protect one another. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) is perhaps the weakest of the three in this film with Emma Watson (Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron) tied in first place. Their quiet demeanour is excitingly suffocating and brings a sense of claustrophobia to the film.
Of our veteran stars, Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman who play Professor McGonnagall and new headmaster Severus Snape are by far the standouts in a cast which are given a much greater chance to shine in this film. For a woman of Smiths age (76), she is exceptional and her performance really shows why Chris Columbus thought she would be perfect for the role all those years ago. Alan Rickman has been a favourite throughout the series and hasn’t let Potter fans down here, his final scenes are heart-breaking and worthy of a few tears.
Most of the other favourites make a welcome return, though all of them feel like cardboard cutouts, because their speech is limited to a couple of lines. Jim Broadbent (Horace Slughorn), Emma Thompson (Sybil Trelawny), Miriam Margolyes (Pomona Sprout) all make cameos in the film which is both a lovely and disappointing sight to see.
Ralph Fiennes does a lot of shouting throughout the film as vicious enemy Lord Voldermort but he performs well and does the role justice.
The only real flaw in the characters is that many of them aren’t given enough screen time. Helena Bonham Carter’s fabulous Bellatrix Lestrange is unfortunately lost as the army of Death Eaters grows and many other brilliant characters are only seen, not heard. (David Thewlis – Remus Lupin is the most prominent example of this.)
Being just over two hours in length means that this film is by far the shortest of the bunch and this shows in its pacing. Unfortunately, cutting the running time to this length has meant that certain scenes feel a little disjointed and certain parts, which were gut-wrenching in the book aren’t given enough time to digest in the film, which is disappointing seeing as an extra 10 or 20 minutes would’ve improved things greatly.
The climatic battle of Hogwarts as it’s been titled is fabulous and the special effects come into their own here as giants, acromantulas, death eaters and students pit themselves against one another with terrifying results. It’s a real treat to behold.
Yates’ cinematography is superb and every single shot he uses is beautiful in its own way. In one particular scene, located in the never before seen boathouse at Hogwarts, Yates manages to get around the 12A certificate which has blighted the last 4 films by shooting through frosted glass. I won’t spoil the scene for you, but it’s an emotional part of the film.
Moreover, the limbo scenes between Harry and Dumbledore, which were a low point in the novel, have been pleasingly shortened so that enough time is given to the main storylines. Unfortunately, the much talked about epilogue is too short and is a slightly anti-climatic send off for a film franchise that has been around for 10 years.
Overall, Harry Potter gets the send-off he deserved in a film which returns the magic and sparkle lost as the movies got darker. Yates has crafted a beautifully shot movie which doesn’t forget the action packed nature of its source material. Coupled with brilliant special effects and excellent performances by everyone involved, it’s a winning formula all round. The Harry Potter film franchise may have had a few lapses and a couple of disappointing outings, but thankfully the Deathly Hallows has made sure it ends on a high note. It may finish here, but when it ends this well, it most certainly won’t be forgotten.