Tuesday, July 26

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two


Man, how long has it been? The first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out in 2001. TEN YEARS. That's a long time to spend with a cast and crew, and as far as I know, it's unheard of anywhere else in cinema that a worldwide franchise was able to keep it together for that long. Heck, I remember back then, people were bewildered at how the producers basically threw all their eggs into one basket- basically actor Daniel Radcliffe and his mates, to be their nest egg for seven movies (eight, eventually). But well, time has proven the investment as good as gold, as with Deathly Hallows Part 2, it's done. I have to say that even with some flaws, I consider the Harry Potter films as one of my favorite movie series of all time, alongside the LOTR, the Indiana Jones TRILOGY and Star Wars. And in many ways the Potter films have achieved more and better than these other, more high profile adventure epics.

Well, what can I say about the finale, this much-anticipated capper to this long-running saga of sorcerers in school? Really, I can't say much but gush. I loved Part 1, and Part 2 is basically still part of that sensibility, that visual style and mindset. Part 1 was the setup, the suspenseful calm before the storm, the silence before the bomb blows. Part 2 is the big shebang. And does it deliver?

I've read many reviews saying that it didn't. That it went out with a pang instead of a bang. That the Battle of Hogwarts could have been more exciting, that more could have, and should have been shown.

In some ways I am inclined to agree. Really, who wouldn't want more spells thrown, more scenes of wizard duels, more scenes of our Hogwarts comrades kicking arse? While I haven't read the actual book, I have more or less an idea of how the Battle went on the page, and yes, there were things that would have been awesome to see. But ultimately, the most important parts were, I think, shown to satisfaction onscreen- the grievous losses suffered by the good guys, and the two important baddies to bite the dust.

Still, I do indeed wish there was more shown.

For starters, I really wish that they showed more of Fred. Among the various deaths in the Hogwart ranks, the other half of the Weasley twins was the most saddening (who cares about Lavender Brown of Colin Creevey... heh). They didn't even show his face (someone joked that you could see the other twin's face anyway, so why bother...).

Another thing was, during the night, the enemy army seemed HUGE. You had the Death Eaters with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) on one side, while there was a mob of their allies attacking the bridge- yes, we do see their leader and a good amount falling to their much-deserved deaths, but I'm sure not all of them went. So, when the morning arrived, why were there so few enemies left that the Hogwarts forces could take them on and win, without any backup (in the book, the day was saved by a proverbial cavalry of other good wizards from Hogsmeade, Hogwarts' students' families, the Centaurs and the House Elves).
One big moment, the death of bad girl Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) should have been more cheer-worthy, but it appeared rushed; perhaps it should have had better setup (like Bellatrix giving the younger witches a hard time before Mrs. Weasley finally came to kick Le Strange's butt).

That all said, the film is still riotously rewarding.

It was great to see Hermione and Ron (Emily Watson and Rupert Grint) doing their part to win the day on their own, and their relationship finally showing legs.

It was great to see Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) finally cut loose and just be awesome.

Albus may have shuffled off (but Peter Gambon's still around, thankfully), but the presence of his lookalike brother Aberforth (an unrecognizable Ciaran Hinds) made it seem like the former headmaster was still at the school and looking after the young 'uns.

And yes, it was freakin' great to have Harry himself finally taking on Voldemort and battling tooth and nail for the final win. In the end, the victory was hard fought and paid for dearly, but won nevertheless, and you know that Harry and company earned it.

The saga of the The Boy, now Man, Who Lived is over. But it's certainly a cinematic saga that I will cherish and continue to enjoy as a contemporary classic from here on in. Darn, J.K. Rowling spun magic when she thought up this world, and it took the wizardry of film to bring it to us. From here on in, we create our own tales and spells, to visit the world of Hogwarts when we wish to. That is, unless Miss Rowlings has something else in store for the next decade...