Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Two-Cents on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2

It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since the Harry Potter film series started, and that it has come to an end. Thankfully, it went off into the sunset on a high note with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Admittedly, there were a few things missing from the last film, but overall I was extremely happy with how the final installment ended up.

DH 2 picked right where Part 1 ended, and the biggest difference was how much was going on this time around which was to be expected, but it was also able to successfully combine all of the action with some really well-told story moments. I appreciated the fact that it was probably the most loyal adaptation of the bunch, and most of the elements that I wanted were included and executed very well ("The Prince's Tale" sequence was impressive, Molly vs. Bellatrix, Neville). I also loved all of the call backs like the Cornish pixies and the background characters we've seen over the previous seven films. What also impressed me was how funny some moments were, McGonagall and Luna got the lion's share of one-liners along with Ron, and how emotional others were. I have to say Part 2 was the first HP movie to make me tear up.

As always, this movie was not without its flaws. For instance, I thought that the Battle of Hogwarts was an odd combination of chaos and nothing really happening. Maybe it's because the scenes were so vivid in my mind while I was reading the book, but I just did not feel emotionally invested while watching the battle play out because there was so much going on yet we did not focus on most of it. This is obviously due to the fact that the story is from Harry's point-of-view, so I can't blame the filmmakers too much, but I was just expecting so much more from those sequences. That's not to say that they were a letdown visually because they were fascinating to look at...I just wish I cared more while looking at them.

Part 2 also made some missteps from a structure and narrative standpoint. While watching the film, I felt that it was too reliant on exposition because we got so many scenes where characters were explaining what was going on instead of letting the audience piece things together. Now, I understand with a story so layered as Harry Potter filling in some of the blanks is required when adapting them for film, especially for those who did not read the books, but I couldn't shake all of the hand holding. There were also some minor moments, like seeing the former students return to fight, that didn't make the cut that I felt hurt the film slightly. Heck, Percy just showed up in the background with no explanation at all. The thing is, these were all minor flaws, and overall Deathly Hallows 2 was a major success.

I did not become a fan of Harry Potter until the Prisoner of Azkaban movie (wow, that was seven years ago), but it's hard remembering the time that existed before it became a part of my life. These stories, characters, and the wizarding world that J.K. Rowling created has become a permanent part of our collective pop culture consciousness, and it's not easy seeing it come to a close. Of course we have the books, movies, and websites to keep the magic alive for ages, but taking part in the book release parties and midnight screenings made this series even more special. I'm going to miss those times, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

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