Back in 2001, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released, I doubt many people could have imagined just how successful the series would eventually become. Having already broke many box office records, the much anticipated final instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was expected to break even more and unsurprisingly, it did.
David Yates once again steps up to direct this final instalment, which picks up right from where Part 1 finished, with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) finding one of the Deathly Hallows – the Elder Wand – making him the most powerful wizard alive. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) must race to find the remaining horcruxes if they are to have any hope of defeating the Dark Lord himself. Inevitably, events lead to an all-out war between good and evil, and Harry must make the ultimate sacrifice if he is to stand any chance of overcoming Lord Voldemort. Will good overcome evil, or will the wizarding world be forced to bow down to the Dark Lord?
From the word go, the action in this final chapter barely stops. And rightly so: this is not a film which would require a beginning or a back-story. It is a 2 hour long finale, an epic battle to the end. The film starts with a very short recap (about 30 seconds) of Voldemort finding the Elder Wand, and a short scene showing Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) as the new Headmaster of Hogwarts, before jumping straight back to the well known trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they plan to break into Gringotts bank, after which the action begins and doesn’t really stop, which is exactly what this film needed due to the dialogue heavy first part.
Everyone’s performance in the film is, as usual, of a high calibre. Characters who perhaps took more of a back seat in previous instalments, such as Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) have more of a role in this final chapter, and thanks to the actors performances, their involvement is successful. Not only can we see how the characters have developed over the past 7 years of schooling at Hogwarts, we can also see how the actors/actresses themselves have developed in the past 10 years during their time in the Harry Potter saga.
Saying this, I was personally disappointed with the lack of emotion in the final scenes of the film. Don’t get me wrong, there was SOME emotion, just not enough in my opinion to encapsulate just how the characters would have been feeling after the end of the events of the past 7 years of their time at Hogwarts. But that’s just a small niggle I had myself about the actors performances; overall during the film it was to a high standard.
The special effects in the Deathly Hallows Part 2 were nothing short of amazing. The dragon kept chained up in Gringotts bank is beautiful yet frightening, and is only the first example of the superb special effects used throughout the film. Other examples which stand out and are particularly memorable after you’ve watched the film are the make up effects on the goblins at Gringotts, which have improved since the first film, and the effects used to create the magic shield used around Hogwarts and to portray Helena Ravenclaw (Kelly Macdonald), better known as the ‘Grey Lady’.
Despite all these positives, there was something about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 which wasn’t too great. In the past, a lot of fans have complained about important information being omitted from the films and not staying true to the books, and they were right to do so. And once again, the same thing has happened in Part 2. There were several scenes in the film which seemed rushed; for example the scene about Snape’s past is in my opinion rushed and slightly messy. Having a slightly shorter running time than some of the previous films, it wouldn’t have hurt to have extended that scene a few minutes longer, getting the depth of story most Potter fans look for in the films. Also, a couple of scenes are set in a different place than in the book, which maybe only the most hardcore of Potter fans would have noticed and cared about, and some of the most important emotional events are ignored.
Despite these few negatives, the film still manages to capture your attention and doesn’t let go. It’s enjoyable, and does the series and the fans justice. It could have been much worse; instead it exceeded expectations and gave viewers exactly what they’d been waiting for: a spectacular finale they won’t soon forget.