(Please note that this is a first impression review and with multiple viewings my opinions about the film may change.)
I started reading Harry Potter in my sister’s old room at my parent’s house. My mom used to sit my younger sister, Sam, and me down to read a chapter a night. I don’t think Ill ever forget those fall nights hearing of Harry’s adventures and the yearning I felt to have love and friendship that Harry had. My mom only read the first two books to me so I had to carry on with out her to find out the fate of Harry Potter. My mom may have had read only the beginning of Harry’s journey to me but every time I think about Harry I think of her and watching the last movie with her at midnight was the perfect way to end Harry’s cinema journey. At the heart of the Potter books is Harry’s longing for a family and like so many other families like mine, he brought us together if only for a short while to Hogwarts and a place of magic and wonder. You may not like the books or never got into them but for people who loved them their will always be a special place in are hearts for the boy who lived.
Now that all the sentimental stuff is out of the way Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is weak. Weak in the sense that well, that’s it. I was very surprised by how much dread I felt leaving the theater. Don’t get me wrong I liked the film and thought that it hit some really great high notes but as far as sustaining action, suspense, and story telling, in this critic’s humble opinion the film falls short. Maybe that was harsh because there are some great sequences here and there and for the most part everything is consistent with the other films but overall the film feels bleak. A lot of the action scenes seem like Yates is bored with them and that ending feels comparable to the stuff I write at the end of a term paper due in an hour; lazy, uninspired, and uneventful. Couldn’t you of at least given us something other than whelp its over. As far as endings go, this has to be one of the blandest ones I have ever seen and the problem is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
The Deathly Hallows book is filled to the brim with action and drama and when they decided to split the book into two parts I was all for it. It deserved to be split into two parts because it would give the filmmakers more time to flesh out the plot of the book. I don’t care if you have to make two three hour long movies just give the book its due. This is it, the last Harry Potter book, at least act like you are aware of this. Even with Part 1 dealing with a lot of the boring parts of the last book it at least gave its plot some time to move freely and without distractions. Here everything feels rushed and instead of scenes flowing into each other they are mashed together almost as if it’s a race. Even the romances are so badly done here, I mean if all your gonna do is have a couple kiss at an awkward moment then why not just cut it out. We’ll get it at the end that they’re together so please spare us of your Twilight moments.
I know I may seem pretty upset, and I am, but this is a good film. As far as what we would come to expect from the Potter films there are some truly great moments. The way that Snape is handled in film is excellent and is the best part of the film. Trying to fit a sub plot gracefully into a film is hard to do but they do it wonderfully here. The acting is excellent as usually with most of the cast from the last seven films coming back. Most of the characters get his or her due even if it is short and unsatisfactory. Then there is the special effects which are massive and supply the film with some of its most thrilling moments. The effects may be fleeting at moments but they serve their purpose and are pretty eye catching.
Now I’m gonna complain some more. What an underwhelming score, which seems to be absent when it shouldn’t be. The best part of the score is when they decide to drag John Williams’s old Potter theme out of nowhere and spare of us of the silence that is Desplat’s score. Then there is the characters which all get muddled together. Our three main characters never seemed to stand out except for Harry and the Order are more like cardboard cutouts than characters who used to be major players in the series. The deaths of the some of are favorite characters have no weight to them because they are thrown in out of nowhere. Then there is Hagrid who gets the shaft here. His character is only in the film for about oh two seconds. That character deserved better than that.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 like I said before and what I have to keep telling myself is a good movie. It is hard not to concentrate on the bad here but well I just expected more. I’m sure my expectations were too high (I think I was expecting the second coming of Return of the King) but it is just disappointing to say the least. That last book had it all and it was a fitting conclusion to a great series. The movie just didn’t live up to what I thought the book deserved. I have read reviews and it makes me even sadder to see that so many people liked the film yet I am left in the cold feeling bitter. Even though it’s hard to admit it, Part 2 is still a Potter film with courage and excitement. I loved the visuals and felt compelled by most of the action but the emotions didn’t seem all there. I guess the good is that Part 2 gave me the motivation to sit down and watch all of the Potter films in order and helped me rediscover what a great ride this has been. I like all of the films and loved most of them. It’s sad that the series ends on a low note compared to the others but even sadder that it’s all over.
I most certainly focus to much on the bad and after a second viewing maybe I can make myself write up something to harp on what the film gets right but until then I’m gonna end on a positive note. Now that the movies are over it feels like Harry Potter will never be what it used to be and it is a bittersweet feeling. The books and movies will become second thoughts to what’s new and interesting in our world of entertainment. Harry will never leave us though and to me he will always be as real to me as those long lost friends of my past. To sum it up I give you a South Park quote:
“Think about it. Haven’t Luke Skywalker and Santa Claus affected your lives more than most real people in this room? I mean, whether Jesus is real or not, he–he’s had a bigger impact on the world than any of us have. And the same can be said for Bugs Bunny and–and Superman and Harry Potter. They’ve changed my life–changed the way I act on the earth. Doesn’t that make them kind of real? They might be imaginary but, but they’re more important than most of us here. And they’re all gonna be around here long after we’re dead. So, in a way, those things are more realer than any of us.”
And so I wait for the day I can lay my kids down to read them one of my most beloved books and to introduce them to a dear friend of mine, Harry Potter.