Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Harry Potter Movies

Released: 2011
Director: David Yates

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson


A fitting finale to an epic series

It’s a quarter to three in the morning and I’m just back from the one minute past midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I’m exhausted, but also on a bit of a high.  This was the film that we needed to end the series.  This was the finale that JK Rowling’s brilliant books deserved.

Deathly Hallows Part One faced criticism for being a little ponderous in places.  Nothing of the sort could be said of Part Two,  it whips along at an absolutely belting pace starting with a hair-raising cart ride through Gringotts Bank to Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault and the next Horcrux on the list.  At one point I thought that a version of the cart ride would make a fabulous rollercoaster ride, particularly with the dragon flames and water features.  If only there was a Harry Potter theme park… oh wait, there is!  It doesn’t have a Gringotts ride at the moment but it must only be a matter of time.

We move quickly to Hogwarts where an epic battle is to take place.  There are overtones of the Battle of Pelennor Field, the most significant fight in The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King.  Thousands of malevolent enemies are advancing and only the bravehearted remain to fight.  Maggie Smith is brilliant as Professor Minerva McGonagall, leading the defence of the school by students, staff, members of the Order of the Phoenix and even some enchanted stone knights.  Matthew Lewis shines as Neville Longbottom, transformed from the bumbling figure of fun he has been into a heroic resistance leader (wearing a particularly natty cardigan).

I would have been thoroughly disappointed if two passages from the book had not made it into the film – Neville’s moment of triumph and Mrs Weasley’s battle with Bellatrix Lestrange.  Both were rightfully included – Neville’s highpoint is a delight but perhaps I was expecting too much from Mrs Weasley’s scene?  It just seemed a little lacklustre which disappointed me as it was my favourite moment of the book.

I’ve praised the special effects in virtually every Harry Potter film review so far and this is no exception, but something else caught my eye.  The production design was just outstanding, the scenes of a ruined Hogwarts were breathtaking – exactly how they had to be.  The destruction, the chaos, the sheer desperation of the situation were all captured perfectly by the brilliant sets.

The acting was possibly the best it has been throughout the entire series.  Of the three leads I think Emma Watson has the greatest range, but Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint were great too.  Grint surely has a fabulous comic career ahead of him and Radcliffe will hopefully be able to break the shackles of Harry and move forward in his adult career.  The only false note in the acting stable is Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, there’s something about her that I’ve never warmed to as a performer – she just seems terribly stiff, wooden even.

I’ve complained before about the criminal underuse of Alan Rickman as the morally ambiguous Professor Snape – that is rectified in this film.  For the first time we see Severus as a fully formed personality and feel for his loss and sacrifice through the years.  Kelly MacDonald as the Grey Lady, Helena Ravenclaw, is only on screen for a couple of minutes but she captivates with her sadness, no small feat for a thousand year old ghost.

However the film completely belongs to Daniel Radcliffe.  No matter how impressive the rest of the cast have been this is his film – he is strong, selfless and an inspiring leader to those fighting the forces of darkness.

As swansongs go I can’t think of a better way for Harry Potter to bow out.  This has been a fantastic journey so I’m sorry it has come to an end, but delighted that it did so in such a spectacular and appropriate manner.

Previous and next posts in this series:<< Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One
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  1. Sounds brilliant, hopefully i will get to see it next weekend. Great review.

  2. I caught it a couple of days ago in the similar premier in Finland. The version I saw was unfortunately riddled with out of focus scenes in many cases where a wide shot was shown that really bothered me. I have to agree with you on your evaluation of Ginny, I don’t know if an Eoqyn comparison is being attempted in the movies.

    I liked the scene between Mrs Weasley and Bellatrix. The low key way that Mrs Weasley dealt with the end of their battle suited her so well. I could almost imagine her turning to her stove to start up a pot of tea afterwards. It was that she knew what she could do and did it without fanfare, showing how strong the Weasleys are despite their economic position.

  3. Really good point about Mrs Weasley’s scene and how the low-keyness of it suited her character and the quiet strength of the Weasley family. I suppose I had just been expecting something a bit bigger but will watch it again taking your point into account – could be that my interpretation in my own head was over the top and the one in the film was just right.

  4. I have to agree with ramin, I thought the Mrs Weasley’s scene was well played and Directed. Her anger and hurt at what had just happened and the fact that she states ‘not my daughter’ really got me emotional and then the outcome was fitting for her character I felt.

  5. I thought it was the best performance I’ve seen by Julie Walters in a film (usually she just plays Julie Walters, whatever the role or storyline) an I thought the scene you mention was superb. As you say, I think it didn’t live up to your expectations because you were waiting for that moment and had pre-conceived it.

    Great reviews though!

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