Home > Movies, Reviews > (Spoiler Free) Review: Eight films in, ‘Deathly Hallows Part 2’ is the truly perfect ending

(Spoiler Free) Review: Eight films in, ‘Deathly Hallows Part 2’ is the truly perfect ending

For all the 20-somethings out there like myself, the end of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ franchise is bittersweet.

Already having gone through this once with the novels — a month or so after graduating from high school in 2007 — it was my thought that the final film, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,’ wouldn’t be able to conjure up the emotions I felt four years previously.

But just as us 20-somethings grew up with the characters of the seven books as they grew up, the same goes for the actors of the film series. We grew from adolescents to young adults. And in the eighth and final installment of the $6 billion film franchise, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) are brilliant. They are young adults who have moved beyond a script, instead taking the source material to a level not seen in the first seven films. It’s evident in Watson’s polyjuice-Bellatrix scene. It’s evident in Grint’s comic relief that, for the first time, feels completely unforced.

Most of all, it’s evident in Radcliffe’s sensational performance as ‘The Boy Who Lived.’ From the interrogations of the opening scene, Radcliffe has finally taken the step I long doubted any young actor would be able to do — with a cast of British acting royalty, Radcliffe puts the final film on his shoulders. To put it bluntly, an Oscar nod to Radcliffe should not be out of the question. Every single step of the way, you never question his mission to save the wizarding world as anything other than righteous. Over eight films, millions have seen Radcliffe go from comically catching the golden snitch in his mouth during a game of quidditch to finally facing down with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) to decide the fate of every wizard and witch. It’s to every director’s credit that each of these scenes (and throughout the franchise, so many in between) made the viewer feel as if — at that point in time — nothing else was as important.

So this brings us to the ultimate ‘Harry Potter’ experience. I’m not going to spoil ‘Deathly Hallows Part 2’ for those fans who haven’t read the books, or even those fans who just want to take the experience in and not be spoiled by parts that have been left out of the final film.

However, in looking back and after seeing the ‘Harry Potter’ finale, I must say that it’s as if Rowling wrote the ending to perfectly fit the big-screen. From the redemption of the franchise’s most complex character (also my favorite) to the tidying up of loose ends and secondary characters (that somehow never feel secondary), ‘Death Hallows Part 2’ is a monumental achievement. Its plot continues from ‘Part 1’: Harry needs to destroy what Horcruxes remain, leading to a final showdown with Voldemort. A words-on-a-page world was brought to life by director Christopher Columbus in ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ and ‘Chamber of Secrets’ and turned darker in the film’s now-second-best-film, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban.’ Now that world is perfected at last by David Yates.

In his fourth ‘Harry Potter’ outing (‘Order of the Phoenix,’ ‘Half-Blood Prince,’ ‘Death Hallows Part 1,’ ‘Part 2’), Yates delivers on a grand scale not unlike Peter Jackson’s ‘The Return of the King.’ At the conclusion of a sprawling epic that so easily could have been mishandled, Yates and producer David Heyman stay as close to the source material as any film since the first two. For the final hour, the viewer becomes completely immersed in the equivalent scenes of the book chapters “The Prince’s Tale” (maybe the best scene in the entire franchise — it’s time for Alan Rickman to take an Oscar home for his role as Severus Snape), “The Forest Again,” “King’s Cross,” “The Flaw in the Plan,” and the epilogue.

The themes here are as big as the special effects and character devolopment: good versus evil, death, loss, love, and redemption. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll applaud. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ is more than all the ‘magical’ puns you’ll read in the multiple reviews of the final film. It’s the rare cinematic experience when, for two hours, you’ll forget everything else and enjoy an amazing story.

Indeed, at long last, a ‘Harry Potter’ film has cast the perfect spell.

10/10

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  1. SpinnersLibrarian
    July 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    ‘The Prince’s Tale” (maybe the best scene in the entire franchise — it’s time for Alan Rickman to take an Oscar home for his role as Severus Snape)’

    You, me and Daniel Radcliffe (and a few million Snape fans) apparently agree!

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