After seven successful films in the series and an extraordinary opening weekend, does it matter if I like ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’? I mean, you’re going to go see it anyway, right? And if you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed ten years of books and movies from the epic J. K. Rowling series that introduced us to the Boy That Lived and his good vs. evil fight against Lord Voldemort.
It’s the most successful series in film history and we’ve gotten to enjoy watching Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) grow from pre-teens to confident adults able to master a most difficult situation. Voldemort (with a bit of CG magic) has evolved into a more-or-less human presence on screen and the cast of good and bad characters has grown to dozens upon dozens of actors.
Is ‘Deathly Hallows Part 2’ a good movie? Yes, it is. For narrative reasons, the last of the Potter books was split into two films and truth be told, Part 1 was boring as sin, setting up the final story and battles, but ending up just as much a triptych of rural England than anything else. <<yawn>>
That’s why it’s such a relief that from the first scene in Part 2 of ‘The Deathly Hallows’ things move along at a good clip with action sequences and ingeniously solved puzzles. “Brilliant”, as Hermione might say.
Which isn’t to say that the story isn’t without its hiccups or glitches. In fact, there’s a core problem with the entire Wizarding universe that requires a greater than usual suspension of disbelief: the rules about where magic works and where it doesn’t, about what can be fixed or altered magically and what cannot, are completely arbitrary. For example, Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) can magically fix Harry’s broken glasses, but can’t use that same magic to just fix his eyes so he doesn’t need glasses? Sightus Repairus indeed.
This becomes important as Harry has to face down Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in the final good vs. evil battle. There’s a twist or two — some of which proves illogical even within the context of the story — but still, it works, it’s exciting and the film has a satisfying ending.
Well, that’s not true. The book had a ghastly epilogue “19 years later” that I just hated when I read it, and I’ve been dreading that sequence in the film. I was right to dread it. It’s unnecessary and poorly executed. I don’t really care what happens to them 19 years later, I just want them to ride off into the proverbial sunset, evil defeated and good triumphant.
That’s my two cents. No spoilers. It’s a beautifully assembled movie and it’s a pleasure to see our long-time cinematic pals Harry, Ron and Hermione on the big screen one last time. We’ll miss you, Harry.