Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

I didn't care about "Harry Potter." Not the books, not the movies, and I certainly didn't care for being told I looked like an 11 year old at age 19. I had dark hair and glasses. Harry Potter had dark hair and glasses. Clearly we were the same person. (Thank you unimaginative middle aged Marysvillains.) While I worked at Regal Cinemas each time another new entry was released I spent the opening weekend working without my glasses. My vision was terrible without them and my head would ache more and more throughout the day. My hatred for all things "Potter" grew. But then something happened. And by something I mean I was introduced to the first two films. And by introduced I mean Justin shoved the DVDs into my hands and said, "Watch these." So I did. And slightly to my chagrin...I actually enjoyed them. Not long after I saw the third and not only did I enjoy it, I was impressed. I was getting into this.
Each film from "Goblet of Fire" on I eagerly anticipated and a year ago I at long last read all seven novels, devouring them at a speed I normally reserve for my meals at Taco Bell. There was a sense of satisfaction as I read the final page of "Deathly Hallows," but sadness as well. There was no more "Potter" to read. And with the film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" there will be no more to see either. From the opening shot this movie tells us quietly, yet in no uncertain terms, "Yes everyone, this is it."
Having helmed each film since "Order of the Phoenix," David Yates brings a supreme sense of confidence to this final entry. He knows these characters and this world and is therefore unafraid to make this the movie it needs to be, which is one that is far different from any of the previous films, even "DH, Part 1." This is the final step for Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and the rest of the students of Hogwarts into adulthood, not by graduating but by going to war.
For those who haven't read the book or need a refresher, this film opens with Harry, Ron, and Hermione needing to break into the wizard bank, Gringotts, to find another Horcrux containing a piece of Voldemort's soul. Once they obtain it Voldemort knows where they are and what they are doing. Returning to Hogwarts to defeat the Dark Lord and his forces can be put off no longer. The time has come.
At 2 hours and 10 minutes this is the shortest "Potter" movie and I can't help but wonder why certain things were not given more room to develop and breathe. The only thing I can say against this film is that at a few turns it assumes that the entire audience has read the book and can fill in some rather important blanks. While none of the omissions are enough to make the movie become nonsensical they will clearly be jarring to those who know "Potter" through the movies only. There are two scenes in particular that I really wish had been allowed to unveil more slowly though I of course will not spoil them here.
These imperfections aside, Yates and writer Steve Kloves do right by the franchise, as has been done all along. This is a deeply satisfying conclusion as a film and as an adaptation of the final book. Not only do the writer and director give Harry and company a fitting send off, the cast does as well. After all of these films I still marvel at the brilliance of Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, and Ralph Fiennes in roles that fit them like gloves. They have been superb from day one but they all seem to bring something a little more extra special to this one. I particularly love the way that Fiennes has brought more personality out of Voldemort than we got from the novels. The man that was Tom Riddle is still there.
Just like the characters they have played we have seen Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grow up before our eyes. We've seen them grow and develop as actors and I'm eager to see where they go from here. Criticisms are often levelled upon them as actors (save Grint whom everyone rightly seems to love) but they have been the three most important pieces of a decade long film series that will be adored for generations to come. It can't have been easy but all three clearly poured their young hearts and souls into it the whole way along. It doesn't matter that Emma Watson won't become the next Meryl Streep. She needed to be Hermione Granger and she was. As for Radcliffe I expect his future will be bright. This is a talented guy and people are going to realize it.
It's difficult to write more without giving away details I'd rather allow you to discover and enjoy for yourselves. I'll just say this. Whether you have been with Harry since the beginning in the summer of 1997 or his beginning as a film character in the fall of 2001 (or some time in 2004 when you begrudgingly borrowed a couple of DVDs from your friend) you will feel the appropriate mixture of satisfaction and sadness as his world fades to black for the very last time. I'd say hardcore and casual fans alike have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Oh, by the way. I wore my glasses as I walked through the lobby Friday night and had my ticket torn. No one said a word. The beard probably helps. 9/10.

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