When a series concludes, it’s a bittersweet moment. You want to know how it all comes out, but yet not leave it behind. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the last film in the series based on the books, and it is a doozy.
I knew I would see this one in the theater. Alas, no Thursday night costume party sneak peeks for me; I had to work the next day. I hate crowded places, so my plan was to wait until Sunday morning, when everyone would be in church.
You know what a huge Potternerd I am.
You had to know I couldn’t wait.
I was downtown after skating, and drove by the theater to see what the parking situation was. So I thought…hmmm….I have time… Before I knew it, I was in a nice comfy theater seat!
The guy next to me smelled like a sour sock. At least he kept his arms down most of the time. It’s beastly hot out right now, so I forgave him. But since Stinky was texting during the movie, I decided that I would wiggle, clap, mutter and cry as much as I wanted. So there!
If you didn’t read the books, I’ll try not to spoil anything for you. (But read them. DO IT.)
#1—It explained everything.
The last novel was split into two films so as not to leave out anything critical. This is the end of the series, after all. Rowling wrapped up the loose ends nicely, including the most important one.
They stuck very close to the book, especially in Part 2. No doubt Potterphiles will endlessly rag on the movies for not being 100% right on, but whenever you translate media this happens. I’m not going to discuss that now.
Bottom line is everything you wanted to know, you know.
#2—It looked exactly as it should have.
I love it when a movie closely resembles what I pictured in my head while reading. Everyone has a different vision, but this was pretty damn close to mine. I think they did a good job with locations and costumes overall because no one has complained that any of the HP movies don’t look right.
Good world-building allows readers and viewers alike to suspend disbelief. And the final film in a series is the most important. Ending images are the ones people will take with them. There are certain expectations of a finale and HP: DH2 fulfilled them. Think Pelennor Fields at Hogwarts. :)
#3—They kept the same actors through the entire thing.
I think this was in their contracts, but other than that I don’t know how they did it. If we’d had to adjust to a new Hermione or Ron, it would not have worked as well. The best part (although maybe not for the kids) was watching the characters AND the actors grow up before our eyes.
Richard Harris as Dumbledore was replaced by Michael Gambon, but he can be excused because, you know, he died.
#4—They got GOOD actors, which paid off in the end.
Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) have matured as actors over the course of the series. They gave excellent performances here. Also perfection are Dame Maggie Smith, (Professor McGonagall), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix LeStrange) and of course Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort).
In fact, the HP films have had consistently good casts over the entire series. They reek of awesome. It kept the quality up so that when they finally got to the last one, they lost nothing.
Alan Rickman has never won an Oscar. You might argue that Harry Potter is hardly award-worthy, but look at Heath Ledger. He won, deservedly so, for the Joker. Mr. Rickman should win for Severus Snape, especially in this movie. I never cried so hard at the theater in my life.
#5—They picked the best composer they could get for the music.
I’m going to get arguments from some people I know. John Williams ably scored the first three films, and is now associated with the Potter theme. He passed the torch to Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper and now to Alexandre Desplat (say deh-SPLAH). His best Potter score is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Many people wanted Williams to return for the end, but he did not due to scheduling conflicts.
Desplat’s scores are emotional rather than catchy, which fit the darkest Potter film quite well. I listened to it for a couple of weeks prior on Streamingsoundtracks.com. Hearing it in the context of the film made it even better. A good soundtrack complements the movie without being distracting, but doesn’t fade into the background either.
Overall, my impression is a good one. I can’t pick things apart unless they are really bad, and nothing bothered me here. NOTHING!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read the books!