CliqueClack Flicks

Harry Potter – End of an Era

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2 - Theater Review
Release Date: 07/15/2011 - MPAA Rating: PG-13
Clacker Rating: 5 Clacks

How do you say good bye to a friend? I have loved 'Harry Potter' since the first film and I have read every single book. While I don't want to see it go, this was an awesome send-off.

When I walked into the screening audience, I overheard a young woman say she didn’t want to say goodbye and, I agreed with her. Hermione, Harry, and Ron are my friends and I don’t want to see them leave. As they said in the movie, I’m for Harry Potter “until the end.” In a way, the story itself focused on what most hard (and soft) core Potter fans probably felt watching it: love and sacrifice. We loved the films, but we have to sacrifice our childhood to continue on without them. When I saw Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone with my friends ten years ago, we were the only adults in a roomful of children. This time around, I found myself surrounded by teens and adults.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, directed by David Yates and adapted by Steve Kloves, concludes Harry’s quest to destroy his eternal nemesis Voldemort. You could tell this was a more mature film, not merely because of its older audience, but its tone. The earlier films always surrounded whimsy with a hint of danger, but the latest installment surrounded danger with minor hints of humor. The script maintained the maturity through its realistic focus. The pervading sense of death emphasized Harry’s grim reality. Additionally, seeing the actual consequences of death curses made the film and the spells populating it less of a child’s wonderland. The lighting, shrouding the sets in shadows and darkness, continued the feeling of danger. And, the camerawork was unobtrusive yet sensual, particularly a scene where the camera shoots Harry from the back while slowly turning his face to the side.

The actors have grown as well. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson (Hermione) progressed from melodramatic adolescent actors to men and women portraying the grim reality of adulthood. Radcliffe’s eyes spoke to Harry’s haunted nature. We even see hints of male toned flesh, from Harry and Ron changing clothes, to Hermione revealing cleavage post-transfiguration. Oh, and, Matthew Lewis, dayumn, you have definitely grown up.

If you haven’t seen any of the Harry Potter films previously or read any of the books, you might feel a bit lost. The opening jumps straight into the story. Although I read the novel, I skipped Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1. However, despite feeling lost initially, it served as a good concluding adaptation of the novel. And, no, this does not repeat the romantic cesspool of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This was less about romance and more about love: Snapes’ (Alan Rickman) love for Lily (Geraldine Somerville), Narcissa’s love for Draco (Tom Felton), Harry’s love for Ginny (Bonnie Francesca Wright), and the love of Harry’s friends for each other. When reading the book, I hoped they’d get Severus’ relationship with Lily right and they did, including their parallel whispering of “always.”

Because the film was densely packed from start to finish, no character or actor was wasted, including Emma Thompson’s Trelawney cameo. If you blink, you’ll miss tiny visual nods to previous films, including the trio hurdling over ogres, spiders, werewolves and dementors. And, I loved the familiar teacher-student relationships. Remember when Neville tried to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from sneaking out of the common room? Well, he’s come a long way. This was a fan love letter throughout. I wanted to high five Mrs. Weasley, fist bump McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and slip Neville my number. If you’re a geek, there are slight hints of Aslan and the stone table (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and a great reminder of the best Han-Leia moment ever (Star Wars) with “I know.”

Although the CGI won’t win any awards, it doesn’t matter. Harry Potter is more about the story than the graphics. No, the graphics aren’t on the level of Green Lantern or Transformers 3, but it’s somewhere between the Harry Potter of earlier years and contemporary graphics. In fact, I believe they included the original Chocolate Frog CGI as another visual nod. The sly inclusions truly served as a love letter to fans. Also, feel free to skip the 3D, this is 2D all the way. However, I have to congratulate the makeup, costuming, and, possibly, CGI department on aging the actors.

J.K. Rowlings did a good job in ending the Deathly Hallows the way she did, so I wouldn’t want more. And, Warner Brothers did a good job in releasing the final film in two parts, allowing us to say goodbye. In my very short tenure with CliqueClack Flicks, I have not given any films higher than a 3, but this is my very first 5. After reading the novel, I felt pensive. After watching the film, I felt thoughtful, yet happy. After all, I’m Harry Potter “until the end.”

*Looking for a second opinion? Check out Ivey West‘s take on Deathy Hallows — Part 2.


Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

Categories: News, Reviews, Theater Releases

2 Responses to “Harry Potter – End of an Era”

July 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I truly wish I’d enjoyed it as much as you did :)

July 16, 2011 at 12:07 AM

I agree with you on the random Luna suddenly appearing in Hogwarts without an explanation, and doubtless I had other issues, but overall I enjoyed it –

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