Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2*

Posted: August 3, 2011 by josheppard in Film
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In a nutshell: Harry Potter and the End of an Era

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

The final instalment in the Potter franchise lasts for 130 minutes. That’s not especially long these days, and as a 12A, it’s not like DH2 (as no doubt the ‘fandom’ is calling it on the ‘internet’) has to finish before a toddler needs a wee.

So why this film isn’t 20 minutes longer is anyone’s guess. It’s great fun, with some dazzling set-pieces, full-on scares and a neat, satisfying conclusion. All your favourite characters are there, and they all deliver. But some scenes are so perfunctory I felt cheated. A pivotal moment from the book, when Harry reveals his return to Hogwarts by manfully avenging a gobbed-upon Professor McGonagall, is replaced in the film by, er, going to assembly. And Snape’s revelatory back-story, a highlight of the seven books, is over in barely a minute.

It’s frustrating to see great actors given so little screen time. The golden trio are expected to carry this film, but while Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way in eight films, they’re not going to out-act Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman any time soon. Director David Yates admitted on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row recently that his solution to the problem of the supporting cast inadvertently stealing the kids’ show was to cut their roles to shreds: a cynical, foolhardy move which shows little regard for the audience.

Moreover, although action-packed and pacy, DH2 covers the plot-shy part of the book. Oh, there’s angst. So much angst that it’s all shot in that faded, greyish colour palette that makes everyone look ill, one of the many heinous legacies of Twilight. But the real intrigue and mystery is over in Part 1, meaning Part 2 is mostly just a series of daring escapes and battles.

However – what escapes and battles they are! The Gringotts raid and the Fiendfyre are dizzying visual rollercoaster rides that will leave any self-respecting movie-goer wide-eyed. Hogwarts arming itself for the final battle is beautifully done, as if it really is the last bastion of everything that’s good in the world. Other great moments: Harry’s trippy visit to the afterlife, shock heroics from Neville Cutebottom (as he shall henceforth be known), Snape’s harrowing demise and multiple heartrending moments where you’ll snuffle into your popcorn.

My advice? See it twice. See it at the cinema for the end-of-an-era movie event that is undoubtedly is – this is a film that absolutely deserves a big screen. Then rent the DVD with Part 1 and watch them back to back. The two together will be a much more coherent and climactic viewing experience.

* 2D, because 3D is a nightmare for speccy geeks like me who have to wear the 3D glasses over their real ones. 

Reviewer: JoSheppard

  1. curlyshirley says:

    Tee hee – you said “Cutebottom”. Going to see this on Thursday, not really looking forward to it, end of an era, lots of weeping, sadness, jealousy of rich, successful younger people 😦

    On another note, totally agree about 3D.

  2. Jeyna Grace says:

    I know how you feel with those 3D glasses.

  3. Glad I’m not the only one whose bespectaclism (as I believe is the medical term) interferes with 3D viewing.

    The other upside of seeing the film in 2D was that even though it was a Saturday matinee in the school hols, there were no kids in there. All the kids had gone to the 3D showings. The 2D screening was full of geeks aged 15 and over.

    (Except for two very little kids who both cried at the first really scary bit and had to be led tearfully out of the cinema, never to return. Obviously their parents thought the BBFC slapped a 12A on the film just for the fun of it.)

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