Sniff, sniff, this is the final adventure of the boy with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead named Harry Potter. We have been through seven films filled with magic, humour, odd creatures, suspense, adventure, quidditch matches, and this the eighth film will be the last (resume the sniffing). The epic story about good versus evil will come to a close. Sad. Sad because for the most part the film series was strong all the way through. Now that I have watched the last one I’m even sadder it’s all over as this was a fantastic film. Director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1) and his huge cast featuring a wealth of British acting talent have gone out with a bang.
After burying the elf Hobby, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe – December Boys, The Tailor of Panama), Hermione (Emma Watson – The Tale of Despereaux) and Ron (Rupert Grint – Driving Lessons, Wild Target) continue on their quest to find and destroy the last three Horcruxes. These are the magical artifacts responsible for the immortality of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes – Schindler’s List, The Reader).
As the young adults begin finding and destroying said Horcruxes, Voldemort begins to realize what they are up to and gathers his army to counterattack. The Evil Lord and his dark soldiers are outside Hogwarts. He is threatening all the staff and students with death if they don’t turn over Harry. Of course, they, led by Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith – Sister Act, Gosford Park) after the death of Professor Snape (Alan Rickman – Die Hard, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), refuse and brace themselves for the epic battle they know is coming.
This leaves Harry free to confront what he believes is his destiny and die in a one-on-one battle with Voldemort. Like most things in this book/film series everything is not as it appears and nothing happens as you would expect it to.
In most instances book to film translations are disappointed and while the books are still better in this case the Harry Potter films have been pretty good all the way through. I would even argue that from front to back this has been the best film series in cinema history. So there!!
It ties everything up very nicely, but is not really a standalone film like several of the others. You really need to know and understand the ins and outs of the series before going in or you will be a little lost. It starts off rather slowly and then like a roller coaster picks up speed while taking you on an at times breathtaking up and down journey. For those who did read the books, Part 2 veers often from the book in that parts are cut out completely or just skimmed over. In defense of the film, they had to do that or we would be looking at a 10 hour long movie.
Part 2 is filled with battles, emotions and meaning. What the film does really well is show that the world is filled with grey. The heroes are not always good and the baddies are not always evil. The classic battle between good and evil happened within each character…ok, maybe except for Hermione. Speaking of good versus evil we at long last get the final battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort that we have all been waiting for.
Watching it you cannot help but get a little nostalgic about the three young actors and how they have grown over the ten year run of the series. When it began they were all 10 or 11 years old and now they are all in their early twenties. Much maturing and growing (except maybe on the part of the diminutive Daniel Radcliffe, tee hee!) has gone on over the decade they have been onscreen. Over this time the characters friendships have been tested and then solidified and even love has been found. Over all of this time we have cringed, laughed, cried, and been filled with awe while watching magic come to life before our own eyes.
While the focus has been on the three young actors the ensemble cast has also been amazing. When you can boast Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Ciaran Hinds, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane, and Helena Bonham Carter you have some of the most talented actors in Britain. A veritable who’s who and they all bring their own unique flavours and talents to their roles.
-Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 8: Growing Up