Saturday, July 30, 2011

Harry Potter 7 pt 2 Review

Well, here it is. The moment “Harry Potter” fans have been waiting for ever since they first fell in love with JK Rowling’s book series. The thrilling film conclusion, where our hero Harry (Daniel Radcliff) and his friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) face their arch nemesis Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) for the last time.

Even though they’ve read the final Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the fans want to see the conclusion play out on the big screen, and I don’t blame them: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is a remarkable piece of filmmaking, by far the best in the entire series and one of the best films of the summer. You know the saying “go big or go home”? Well director David Yates went enormous. From start to finish there is never a dull moment and it’s the only “Harry Potter” film that’s kept me involved and tense the whole way through.

From a pure filmmaking standpoint, all of the “Harry Potter” films are well made. The acting by Radcliff, Fiennes, Grint, and the rest of the cast is excellent. (In particular Fiennes, who puts so much life into the lifeless Voldemort.)

In “Deathly Hallows Part 2” everything outdoes the previous films, especially “Deathly Hallows Part 1,” (which is technically only half a film.) The direction by Yates, combined with the cinematography by Eduardo Derra is outstanding, giving us a very dark and deathly feeling throughout the picture. The actors put forth a lot of effort, making their characters convincing enough to make us care about them.

The screenplay by Steve Kloves, while staying faithful to the book, has the right balance of drama, heart, action and humor. It’s not very common these days to see a big budget film with all the key components working in unison.

Though, where the movie was the strongest is visually. There are numerous wizard battles throughout the film. Some are small scale, like when Harry first goes back to Hogwarts and helps take it back from the control of professor Snape, played by a very creepy Alan Rickman. And some are epic scale, as when Voldemort sends a grand army of evil wizards to destroy the school and kill Potter.

Normally I would be yawning left and right at one fight scene after another, but in “Deathly Hallows Part 2” the visual effects partnered with the choreography made them absolutely exhilarating. Overall, the film has a nice, crisp pace to it.

Also, considering the fact that the film is being shown in 2D and 3D, the 3D adds to action significantly. It’s one of the few 3D films where I’ve felt like I was right there and that converting it to 3D was justified.

In the end, what all the “Potter” films boil down to is personal preference. You either don’t like the concept or you’re obsessed with it, much like “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings.” Die-hard fans of the series will love the film regardless. Yet even those who are non-fans or haven’t read the books might very likely find themselves enthralled by the fast-paced storyline, the clever plot twists, and the somewhat corny but touching ending.

There’s no doubt that the Harry Potter series has been a giant moneymaking mega-franchise. But to the producers’ credit, they’ve managed to transcend the mere profit motive and have put out quality movies for eight years. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is the crowning achievement.

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