Films / Screening Culture

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: A Spellbinding Sensation For The Fan-driven Franchise

Poster for the two-part film Harry Potter and ...

Poster for the two-part film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Director: David Yates Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters and Matthew Lewis Verdict: 4/5

It seems like only yesterday that Harry and Co whizzed onto our screens in the Philosopher’s Stone, but now we are saying goodbye to a marvellous cast and crew who have brought us eight fanatical blockbuster movies, spanning over a decade.

Bouncing straight into where we left off in Part 1, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is grieving over the loss of free house elf, Dobby, whilst Voldie (Ralph Fiennes) has sneaked into Dumbledore’s grave to steal the Elders Wand, which will make him unstoppable (or so is thought).

The movie is exceptional, gripping you until the end in an action-packed explosion, reliving the central moments in the book and for many Potterfanatics it will have lived up to high expectations. The fans can now put their hearts at rest as David Yates have done them proud in projecting their vision onto the screen.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was the slow first half of the book (not the most exhilarating of tales), but even though Part 2 is the shortest of all the films it has by far proved to be the most fast paced, lump-in-throat extravaganza out of all the movies. Furthermore it proves that a good plot, script, director and cast are the key ingredients in creating an extraordinary work of art.

Returning home to Hogwarts, the trio don’t receive the warmest of welcomes with Snape being the Headmaster and Dementor’s lurking in the grounds, sucking the happiness out of all the students. Although, this uninvited nature is far more appealing to the viewer, compared to the quite boring travels of Harry and Co as they destroyed three of the seven Horcruxes. Yates makes Hogwarts seem so lifelike with the hall looking as grand as ever, the courtyard and boathouse having their own added touches and the intricate details in the hidden parts of the castle of both the Room of Requirements and the Chamber of Secrets are breathtaking.

What the series has always been leading up to is the Battle of Hogwarts, good VS evil playing out at its very best. Voldemort VS Harry. Who will survive? Who will die? Sadly, we watch as the magical school is destroyed effortlessly as Voldemort’s band of Death Eaters bring down the Quidditch pitch (which seemed like quite a pointless gesture), the Covered bridge mercilessly collapses before finally the castle grounds and building itself are left in ruins.

What is heart-warming about this instalment is that it brings the majority of characters (alive and dead) back for one final throwdown. It’s as though we have been transported back into the first film when all the characters were newly introduced, but instead we are saying our final fair wells to them. You can’t help but feel emotionally connected towards the characters, even if you haven’t read the books, especially during one scene involving Snape.

Fantastic references are made to us from the characters who first illustrated them, which almost acts as a homage to their journey. Ollivander repeats that famous quote, “The wand chooses the wizard,” which we first heard when Harry made that fateful trip to Diagon Alley. The invisibility clock and the Marauder’s Map are used by the gang to cause more mischief for a final time and Ron’s(Rupert Grint) friends, the spiders from the Chamber of Secrets make a comeback. Seeing these replays makes you feel as though you have been welcomed back to a place that you once forgot.

One complaint I do have about the film is that some of the deaths (I wont say whose), which are portrayed miraculously in the book, did not come over particularly well on screen. This is because either they were not even shown or they happened far to quickly for you to digest what was going on. Also, for someone who has not read the latter books in the series, I believe that the films started to become quite difficult to understand and sadly this one too follow suit. With so much going on you can’t begin to appreciate and follow all the details and plot lines that J. K. Rowling wrote.

Credit where credit is due, amazing performances were portrayed by both Alan Rickman (Snape) and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) who had shining knight roles, quite literally, this time round. The special effects, particularly in the battle scenes, were too stunning. Also, the riveting music in the background deserves much praise as it plays with your heart strings when you hear some familiar melodies from the previous films, mixed in with equally powerful luxuries composed by Alexandre Desplat.

The morbid mood is lightened by humour filled in, like always, from Ron Weasly‘s one liners.Transfiguration teacher, Minerva McGonagall; caretaker, Filch; mother Weasley, Molly too have a go at the comedy stand, but nothing can come equally close to when Voldemort shows some awkwardly affection.

As you watch, you are overwhelmed by the same mixed confusion you first noticed when reading the book: you feel desperate to race through it, wanting to find out what does happens in the end; then again you want to absorb all the information, tasting in all the magical images and dialogue as you can’t bare to think that there will never again be a new film or book release from the original series. As the posters have been drilling into us: IT ALL ENDS.

Millions of children all around the world have grown up with the Harry Potter series, much like that of the three main actors, and it’s now safe to say that as the film reaches the final scenes it symbolises the vanishing of their childhood and the looming of their adult years. It’s strange to think that in a few years time Harry Potter will most likely get a Hollywood makeover and then it will be the next generation of youngsters who will be spellbound in the fantasy world. In other words, the experience of having Harry Potter as a key learning progression in your childhood is far more important than what you actually witness taking place on the screen or read in the books.

How the saga has connected us all around the world, evidently proven with the new film already breaking records with a midnight showing being held in a staggering 3,800 locations meaning that in the first three hours it had already brought in approximately £30 million, is what is really crucial about the series and shows how special the fantasy conceived is.

As Radcliffe said himself, the final film is a “celebration” to the epic franchise and to the cast and crew who brought us it, and there should be no “mourning”. It is clear that the saga of Harry Potter is one of the most extraordinary stories ever told and will never be forgotten.

Visit Pottermore to register your email address to be a part of a new online Harry Potter experience, brought to us by J. K. Rowling herself.


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