The Liner Notes

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is the end of one of, if not, the most successful film franchises in cinema history. Although to most, it is the end of an era because they have grown with the actors in the film, as well as the books. Now, I’ll be up front, I have not read any of the books (pause, shake your head in disappointment), but I have seen every film and like most of you, have grown attached to the films.  Some I have deeply enjoyed, others seemed like duds to me. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is the former.

The film picks up right where Part I left off. Harry and crew mourn momentarily for Dobby and then venture off to find the final four Horcruxes. The journey brings them back to where it all began-Hogwarts. It is here where the cinematic battle between good and evil commences.  Of course, Harry and Voldemort have their long-awaited final battle, which no one should miss a second of. There is no lag in the film; the first part gave us the exposition necessary to enjoy the ride of the final installment.  Even when we are shown Snape’s memories, it is presented in a well-paced fashion.

Now, don’t think it all action and empowerment, which it delivers 100%. It is dark and deeply emotional, of all the films this is the one that truly evoked an emotional response, and by emotional response, I mean I cried.  Key emotional sequences/scenes to note are Snape’s memories, when Harry speaks with his family before facing Voldemort and when he realizes his final duty and he sees al the wounded in one of Hogwarts halls. David Yates, the director, conveyed the gravity of the dire situation the wizard world was in.  Comedy was kept to a minimum, which was much appreciated and the moments to catch our breathe in the film were refreshing.  We were children when we started these films and now we are adults, I’m glad the film treated the material as such.

The actors deliver solid performances to match the stakes the film wants to us to buy into. Daniel Radcliffe has really come into his own and shows his acting chops when facing off with Ralph Fiennes. Perhaps what really sold me on the film was the cinematography and use of music and sound.  Yates used many off-kilter shots and odd close-ups that made the film stand out immensely. In terms of music, it wasn’t overused, as it tends to be for such big blockbuster films. Instead, certain intentionally emotional scenes are quiet and the camera just sits. I was able to feel the full intensity of these moments and fully involve me in the picture. Now, the 3-D is poorly used; only in Voldemort’s death was it really implemented.

I could probably go on a bit more, but what it boils down to is this: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is the blockbuster to see this summer (to date). It is a worthy farewell to the franchise and gives us the closure we deserve. Do yourself a favor and go see it!


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