One half of the final book…was it a good decision to chop the final book in two? It turns out it was because this was my favourite of the film series since the very first one. Director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) has slowed down the pace and made it darker, which I believe to be true to the part of the novel he is depicting. He has understood that the last book cinematically translates into a lot of build up before the final showdown.
After a confrontation with Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes – Spider, Maid in Manhattan) Death Eaters, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe – December Boys, The Tailor of Panama), Hermione (Emma Watson – The Tale of Despereaux) and Ron (Rupert Grint – Driving Lessons, Wild Target) embark on a dangerous quest to locate the Horcruxes. They have learned that the Horcruxes are Voldemort’s security blanket and the reasons behind his immortality. Basically, destroy them and he will be destroyed.
While on this quest the three friends need to trust and rely on each other like never before. What they don’t realize that Dark Forces have entered the picture and will shortly jeopardize that trust.
While they are off the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts have been taken over by Voldemort and the long feared war has broken out.
Most of the weight of the film falls on the young shoulders of the three leads as they pretty much embark on a road trip film that has some elements of heist thrown in for good measure. Radcliffe and Grint are their usual solid selves, but who surprised me in the film was Emma Watson. She really shows that she has matured as an actress. Asked to use a number of different emotions in the film she is certainly up to the task.
Besides getting the tempo and tone right, Yates has also included some touching emotional moments like Harry dancing with Hermione and Hermione casting a spell on her Muggle parents so they don’t remember her in case she doesn’t return. Inserting these emotional scenes Yates succeeds in making the film more than just simply a magical one and makes it “real” for the viewer.
Though the tempo is slow Yates does not waste any time explaining characters or terminology. He has assumed that if you are watching the film you have also read the books. It will be the most confusing film for those who have not read the books.
Touches like the great scenery, top notch special effects and the wonderful soundtrack provided by the London Symphony Orchestra together with the aforementioned pluses make for a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
Parents be warned that several of the scenes in the film are too scary for young ones.
-Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 7: Story