Thursday, July 14, 2011
Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part II"
When the final frame of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2 flickered across the screen, it finally hit me, there are no more adventures with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, this finale is it, and what a finale it is. This is a movie! In the best sense of the word. There just seems to be no time anymore to complain about what was cut, what was changed, and what wasn't included from the book. This adaptation succeeds in streamlining the story and turning it into a story that meditates life-and-death, awash with operatic tones and emotional heart tugging.
What more does anyone need to know, this is the final battle between Harry Potter and the evil Lord Voldemort, as the armies of Good and Evil collide! Their battlefield...? Hogwarts, of all places. Every actor and character gets their due, but with the movie being called Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe has the most emotional scenes to pull off, as it has been in nearly all of these movies. Radcliffe carries this movie's emotional nexus on his back and does so brilliantly. Though let's not forget Alan Rickman, as the good guy pretending to be a bad guy, Severus Snape. People have always loved Snape's drawling voice and utter lack of emotion, and seeing the flashbacks of Snape actually showing emotion and how he came to be who he is, was eye opening, and allowed Alan Rickman to deliver one of his finest performances to date. But this is not a movie about the actors, but about the story.
We literally see the grand castle of Hogwarts ripped to shreds, as spells, giants, and animated statues, tear through the rubble. With so much propulsive action, the movie is moving forward from the first frame, never looking back, moving with the assumption that if you didn't see the last few, then why are you here. We are always in the present, never having to be told what is going to happen or be explained what has happened, we just get to see what is happening in the present of these characters and allow the natural surprises that come with the territory, making the heavy emotional beats in the latter half of the movie really hit the viewer hard, and be presented with so much drama and importance. Though action is not what makes this movie important, it is the deeper ponderings of life-and-death.
Death comes for us all, and that being the true master of death is understanding how to greet it when it comes. Harry has to deal with death, as he literally marches to his own funeral with the spectral forms of his parents beside him, or when he reunites with Dumbledore in the after life. These moments are touching, thought provoking, and filled with so much raw emotion through the actor's performances that you will go through an entire box of Kleenex before you're through. The lessons of death change how we live if only we can accept it when it comes, like Harry does.
Simply put, when a movie is this beautiful and heavy with emotion, no amount of evil can keep our hero down. Looking back over it all, it's rare for me to feel so emotional over an ending, but these were my friends too. And they were the friends for countless millions of people around the world. Thanks Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II an A+!