The tale’s been told and the story’s come to an end. And what a story it has been!
Part Two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows completes the series of films as it concludes the last of J. K. Rowling’s impossibly popular fantasy novels. For over a decade, we’ve watched the characters Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger grow up as have the actors who portrayed them: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. We’ve followed their growth from students at Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry to its defenders against the onslaught of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters. Voldemort’s desire to cheat death and take over the wizarding world has been the unifying story arc throughout the series, and always standing in his way is Harry Potter, the boy who lived. Part Two deals with Harry and his friends trying to find and destroy the last of the horcruxes (fragments of the soul imbedded within objects to allow regeneration in case of death) created by Voldemort to insure his immortality.
I’m not going to go into the details here out of respect for the few who may be reading this review and have never picked up a Harry Potter book. I will say that if you have not, the film’s events are going to be a bit confusing.
However, I’m assuming that the majority of the audience for this film will have read the book, including the epilogue which reveals what’s happening in the “World of Harry Potter” years after the film and book’s climax. How the film makers interpret the story visually that holds all the surprises.
Visually, the film is quite satisfying. Standing out is a scene involving several fire beasts. Of course, “The Battle of Hogwarts” is the quintessential example of special effects.
Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, and Maggie Smith are such fine actors and deliver their usual consistent performances. Daniel Radcliffe rises to the occasion and matches Fiennes in intensity during their scenes together. However, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson seemed to lack the energy they’ve displayed in the preceding films. It’s true that they didn’t have as much to do in this film, but since Deathly Hallows One and Two were filmed back-to-back, I can’t account for the difference in their portrayals.
Judging from the applause that broke out throughout the film when characters, both good and bad, got what they deserved, and from the applause and tears at the end of this era in filmdom, fans the world over will be pleased. Harry Potter, the boy who lived, will continue to enchant readers and film-goers alike.
I foresee very profitable boxed sets of DVD’s -- and novels -- in the future.