Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’

With nothing left to tell, the grand finale to the Harry Potter saga holds nothing back.

After the return of You-Know-Who (Ralph Fiennes) and the hidden wizarding world in chaos, “Undesirable Number One” Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) regroups to learn the missing information he needs to defeat Lord Voldemort once and for all. With three horcruxes still left to destroy, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) follow Harry into the vaults of Gringot’s and back to Hogwarts itself to find the ones still missing. When the last truth is finally revealed about the night James and Lilly Potter were killed, Harry will discover that there is still one more thing that must be destroyed to make Voldemort truly vulnerable and seal his fate.

It isn’t often that a series like Harry Potter comes around and connects with so many audiences the world over. The final book of the series seemed to be overwhelming even for its author, J.K. Rowling, who felt the need to put the nails in many of her beloved character’s coffins before the last page was written. Even when considering the best interpretations of the books to film (The Goblet of Fire) or the worst (The Order of the Phoenix), it’s hard to argue that, after all the camping in Part I, it’s extremely satisfying to see the conclusion on the big screen. One could even argue that it transcended its source material, and that’s no easy feat (yeah, for fans of the series, it’s that good).

The principal players have become synonymous with their parts (having grown up on camera from children to adults). Everyone has their moment on screen, whether in flashback or ghostly visitation. The urgency of the situation isn’t lost on anyone, but there are plenty of golden character moments as Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) comes into his own, Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) receives her deserved comeuppance, and Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) steps in and steps it up. Even villains like Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and the collective Malfoys enjoy their character moments, and for whatever you think of them, something very human still lingers in these magical folk.

The film has a few issues, not the least of which is the final fate of one of the most powerful artifacts in Harry Potter’s world; for inexplicable reasons, the film deviates from the better book ending and allows a ridiculous solution. Seeing how difficult it was to destroy each of Voldemort’s horcruxes and the specialized weapons required to do so (using the often-misplaced Sword of Godric Gryffindor, for example), the film’s solution is akin to filling the Ark of the Covenant with rocks and dropping it into a shallow pond to be rid of it “once and for all” (figure the odds). Barring this one undermining discrepancy, audiences do get to enjoy the infamous epilogue from the final book which may one day serve as a launchpad for an entirely new generation of wizards for future muggles to enjoy, possibly through Rawling’s newly announced Pottermore.com venture.

Farewell, Harry Potter. You’ve done far more and fared far better than your creator ever required of you.

(a three and a half skull recommendation out of four)
3.5 skulls out of four

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About Grim D. Reaper

Host of MovieCrypt.com. With my likeness being used in hundreds of films without permission, film critique isn’t dead until I SAY it is.
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7 Responses to Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’

  1. Andrew says:

    Attention: SPOILERS here:

    What do you mean by “the final fate of one of the most powerful artifacts in Harry Potter’s world” ? What is the film “solution” you are reffering to?
    Is it how Harry came back from death? I thought that wasn’t even explained in the movie.

  2. Spooky says:

    SPOILERS! I think what he’s referring to is snapping the elder wand like a twig. That didn’t happen in the book, and I’m not sure that a wand created by Death himself could be destroyed and discarded so easily… even by the famous Harry Potter.

  3. Andrew says:

    But let’s not forget that the wand wasn’t a Horcrux that needed specialized weapons to destroy. It was one of the deathly hallows. According to DUmbledore, the three brothers meeting Death on a lonely road is more probably a legend that accompagnied their making of the three Hallows. The Hallows were powerful objects in that they possessed special powers but it wasn’t said anywhere that they were unbreakable. In the book, Hermione breaks the Elder wand. She does it with a spell instead of her bare hands but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

  4. Forgive an old reaper his conceit, but let’s be honest. If I met three fools on a lonely road and decided to screw them over with three unique one-of-a-kind gifts (you know, the kinds that keep on giving), you can bet your soul I wouldn’t make them easy to destroy, especially when they might end up in better hands later. Story or not, it’s a small issue in an otherwise very satisfying finale.

  5. Chad says:

    The Elder Wand was not in fact actually created by Death, but rather by the three Peverell brothers. The legend of the Deathly Hallows was just that: a legend. But I made the same comment on another board regarding Harry snapping the most powerful wand in wizarding history in two like it was a cheap takeaway chopstick. Ridiculous… and lazy on the part of the filmmakers. In the book, he used the Elder Wand to repair his own broken wand, then returned it (I believe to Dumbledore’s tomb), so, that upon Harry’s natural death, the wand’s allegiance would be broken and its power diminished, having never been won from the hand of its last master (Harry).

    Hermione NEVER broke the Elder Wand with a spell. Harry’s ORIGINAL wand was broken as a result of a spell that Hermione cast in desperate bid to escape a life-threatening situation. The Elder Wand was not in Harry’s possession until much later.

    I think a better comparison would have been Frodo casually running the One Ring through a garbage disposer to destroy it. That’s how preposterous it was that Harry just snapped the most powerful wand ever created in two and chucked it off a bridge.

  6. That’s a great example, too, but more obvious than I wanted to mention (aren’t there enough comparisons between Potter and LOTR already?)

    It did feel cheap, although I think what the writer or director was trying to impress upon viewers is how Harry has no real desire for power, even when he’s holding in his hot little hands. To casually snap the wand and discard it was likely meant to show the strength of his character, but it was undermined by how cheap it made this powerful artifact look.

    In some other magical worlds, anything that powerful would have an ego of its own (don’t wands choose their owners as well?) I prefer to think the Elder Wand would have no desire to be casually discarded, but then the wand would have become very much like the One Ring.

  7. Pingback: This Week at the Movies | Online Film Critics Society

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