Last November, I was officially hired onto the writing staff here at Toy-tma, and my very first non-guest article was my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Well it seems that I must have been riding a Firebolt through a time vortex since then because the last eight months separating it and second half have disapparated before my eyes. Not only will this be the last Harry Potter movie I get to review, it will also be effortlessly the most pointless movie review I ever write in my career. Every living being on Earth and their imaginary House Elf has already made up their mind whether or not they are seeing this movie, and there is absolutely nothing I can say to change the mind of a single solitary sole. Even if I did, it would be too late, as everyone who’s decided to see it has a 9/10 chance of having already seen it by this weekend’s end.
Still, will that stop me from sharing my experience with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 anyway? Like bloody hell no. This is my very last chance to ever review a Harry Potter movie, and by Hufflepuff I’m going to do it justice.
When last we left off, our heroes succeeded in destroying the third of Voldemort’s seven evil macguffins. They also have the master sword to destroy the others. While they lost a friend in the process, (poor Dobby)…or two (poor Mad Eye)… or three (HEDWIG!!!) getting themselves temporarily caught and suppressed in Malfoy Manner turns out to be their good fortune. In her paranoia, Madame Lestrange lets slip a clue as to where they can find macguffin number four. Thus their adventure continues, and our movie begins.
Much like its first half, the second half of Deathly Hallows is very faithful to the plot of J.K. Rowling’s original manuscript. In less than two and a half hours, we cover all the bases from chapters 24 through 36, plus the epilogue. (Yes, they actually bothered to put that stupid 19-years-later scene that everyone hated when they read it. We’ll get to that.)
I believe it’s worth mentioning that the crew behind these moves (the writer, director, producer, etc.) handled the division between The Deathly Hallows‘ two parts very professionally. Both movies combine to create a crisp five-hour-spectacle, while at the same time having more than enough merits to each stand alone as their own movie. In Part One, the plot was very secluded, focusing strictly on our three leads. There was a far greater inner conflict as the three of them had no idea were the hell to even start looking, running around like a group of possum chickens with their heads cut off, until they eventually turned on each other. In Part Two, the tables have turned. The trio has finally got their act together and are fully united. They know exactly where they need to go and what to do. The plot grows far more encompassing as minor characters steadily trickle in and get their moment to shine, and EVERYTHING comes to a head in an all-encompassing battle at Hogwarts that will decide the fates of Harry, Voldemort, The Deatheaters, The Order, Dumbledore’s Army, and the entire world, Wizards and Muggles alike.
One thing each and every one of these movies has had to struggle with since the very beginning is finding a balance between the slower moving character minutia sections of the story with the fast pace, intense action sequences, and now, with the eighth movie, the balance has come as close to perfect as it was ever going to get. Not once can I pinpoint a moment where I felt the story started to lag. The biggest factor in this movie’s excellent pacing can be attested to how well the supporting cast was weaved into story. We are introduced to one final new castmember, Ciaran Hinds, a more than worthy addition in the role of Aberforth Dumbledore, brother of the late Albus Dumbledore, and from there, it’s all about the characters who have been with us since the very beginning. Matthew Lewis takes his role as Neville Longbottom to its epic snake-slaying conclusion. You can literally read the adrenaline on Maggie Smith’s face as she takes the stage as Professor McGonagall for her last time, and it is wonderful. Tom Felton’s Draco Malfoy has been excellent these last two movies, and this is no exception (if only his character’s development started sooner). After dreading the loss of Richard Harris for so long, I have officially warmed up to Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore [though dead, appearing in flashbacks and… other methods. It’s a world of magic, work with me). Basically, he does the role justice in his final moments.
Then there’s of course Severus Snape. Arguably the franchise’s most complex and intriguing character finally gets the closure and absolution he rightfully deserves. The segment detailing his final testament is outstandingly timed, and it’s all the more improved by the fact that Alan Rickman is a god among actors.
While it may sound like I’m poking fun at these movies, try to understand that this is my own way of coping with the fact that a movie franchise that has been in the making throughout my own coming-of-age years has officially come to an end. I have already [in my Part 1 review]commented heavily on my own personal attachment to the franchise, sharing in the same generation as the films’ three leads and how inspiring that has been for me, but what good is all the inspiration and growth if we didn’t have fun getting there? Therefore, here’s my own brief list of some of the funniest moments in Harry Potter:
Ron: “UP!” WHACK! Broomstick in the face. Classic.
Harry: “DIAGNLY!” Floo Travel Fail!
Dumbledore: “At the sound of the cannon-”BOOM! Timing on that one was priceless.
McGonagall: “Professor Moody! What are you doing?” Madeye: “…Teaching.” McGonagall: “Is tha—is that a student!!?” Madeye: “Technically it’s a ferret.”
Luna. Just Luna, and EVERY SCENE SHE’S IN. Evanna Lynch, you are the Toph Bei-Fong of this franchise (a female character who shows up mid way through a story and completely steals the show with her unmatched awesome cuteness). I love you.
Dobby: “Dobby didn’t mean to kill you. Only to maim, or seriously injure.”
I could do this all day, but I guess it’s only for the best if I come back and talk a little bit about that epilogue that I mentioned earlier. [‘not so’ SPOILER ALERT] Yes, none of us really liked it all that much when we first read it, but the way it’s handled in the movie, it’s short, and actually a very touching caper for the whole series. It’s done with the main cast all reprising their roles with subtle facial hair, makeup, and wardrobe updates to give the impression that they’re [19 years] older. No, they don’t really look like they’re in their mid thirties, but it doesn’t matter because we’re gonna buy it anyway (or at the very least forgive it) because the only other option would be to get completely different adult actors, which would have completely killed the mood of the final moments.
To wrap this up, everyone is going to have their own opinion on this movie regardless. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed Deathly Hallows Part 2 from start to finish, and absolutely no amount of fanboy whining that there was never a scene in the book where Harry and Voldemort leapt off a cliff together is going to change my mind. It was a great finale and I had fun with it. Best of luck and best of wishes to everyone who invested their lives into creating this phenomenon. I will miss you all.
Don’t forget we still have other movies this year: