Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

In the second part of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter must complete his task to find the remaining Horcruxes in order to defeat Lord Voldemort. With longtime friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger helping out, the trio learn more about the life of Albus Dumbledore as well as the remaining Horcruxes leading to a climatic battle at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Directed by David Yates and screenplay by Steve Kloves based on J.K. Rowling’s novel, the film marks as the conclusion of the entire Harry Potter series. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Jason Issacs, Julie Walters, James & Oliver Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, Ciaran Hinds, and Ralph Fiennes. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 is a magnificent conclusion for the film franchise.

With Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) finally obtaining the Elder Wand, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) hide out at Shell Cottage, the home of Ron’s eldest brother Bill (Domhnall Gleeson) and his wife Fleur (Clemence Poesy). When Harry learns that the next Horcrux is at the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bohnam Carter) as they ask the goblin Griphook (Warwick Davis) to help break in the vault. Griphook does so but asks for the sword of Gryffindor in return as Harry reluctantly makes a deal while learning from the wandmaker Ollivander (John Hurt) about the Elder Wand.

With Hermione disguised as Bellatrix through the Polyjuice Potion, they break in as they find the cup of Hufflepuff in Bellatrix’s vault only to get into trouble and escape with the help of a dragon. Harry then realizes that Voldemort knows what is going on where Harry finds the next location of the fifth Horcrux at Hogwarts. Arriving into the Hogsmeade village and evading Death Eaters, they are saved by Aberforth Dumbledore (Ciaran Hinds) who reveals what’s been happening. When a secret passage opens in Aberforth’s home, Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) appears as he takes the trio to Hogwarts where Harry confronts Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) over the death of Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon).

With Snape escaping and Hogwarts in danger, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) along with fellow Hogwarts teachers and members of the Order of the Phoenix get ready for battle. With help from Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), Harry meets the Grey Lady (Kelly Macdonald) who tells him the whereabouts of the Ravenclaw diadem. With Ron and Hermione destroying the Hufflepuff cup and the diadem also getting destroyed, Harry learns that Voldemort is getting weaker as the battle continues. There, he learns about the remaining Horcruxes including some information from Snape about the seventh prompting Harry to get into a confrontation with Voldemort.

The second part of The Deathly Hallows has Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their trek to search for the remaining Horcruxes leading to a climatic battle at Hogwarts. During this battle, Harry learns more about his connection to Voldemort leading to revelations about why he had survived the Killing Curse a long time ago. It is there that loyalties are revealed along with whose side Severus Snape was on and why did Dumbledore had been so secretive. Yet, it all comes down to the eventual showdown between Harry and Voldemort where Harry knew what he had to do in order to beat him.

Steve Kloves’ script is excellent for the way he creates a sense of dread of everything that is happening along with the stakes into defeating Voldemort. Characters such as McGonagall and Neville definitely get a chance to take charge in the battle where Neville gets an amazing monologue in final moments leading to one final confrontation between the Death Eaters and the Order/Dumbledore’s Army. While Kloves cut out some material to keep things going which isn’t surprising with a lot of adaptations. He keeps things faithful throughout while one of the subplots about Dumbledore’s family life gets cut which was a bit prevalent in the first part of The Deathly Hallows.

David Yates’ direction is truly phenomenal from some of the intimate and quieter moments of the film to the big spectacular sequences that is created. Among them is the climatic Battle of Hogwarts where there’s a mix of humor and drama while it’s all about the intensity and chaos of war. From the wide shots to let audience see Hogwarts in full scale to some close-ups and hand-held shots for the battle scenes. Yates becomes very engaging while mixing in some moments during battle such as Snape and Voldemort’s meeting that becomes one of the most crucial moments in the film. During Harry’s battle with Voldemort, Yates manages to make things grittier than what some expect with the close-ups on the two men as it is one of the most exciting moments of the film.

While the film has a running length of 130 minutes, there’s a feeling that it could’ve been longer though Yates and Kloves manages to simplify things a bit. Then there’s the film’s epilogue which is among one of the things that divides Harry Potter fans. The epilogue turns out to be not the great disaster some predict with the makeup for the characters in the film not as bad as it seems. Yet, it does provide what is certainly a fitting close not to the film but the entire Harry Potter story as well. In the end, Yates creates an amazing film that gives the Harry Potter franchise a proper farewell.

Cinematographer Eduard Serra does a wonderful job with the cinematography from the dark-colored saturated look to the battle scenes and interiors such as the Gringotts caves. Serra also brings a more naturalistic look of the English landscape scenes including a small scene in Snape‘s memory sequence. Editor Mark Day does a really good job with the editing as he maintains a tight, leisured pace throughout the film while playing to jump-cuts and other rhythmic flourishes for the battle sequences in the film.

Production designer Stuart Craig, along with set decorator Stephanie McMillian and a large team of art directors, does a brilliant job with the look for the Shell Cottage along with Gringotts and Hogwarts as it goes into ruins for the climatic battle scene. Costume designer Jany Temime does a good job with the costumes from the Hogwarts uniforms to the decayed, ragged clothing that the trio and many other characters wear during the battle. Visual effects supervisors Matt Jacobs, John Moffatt, and Chris Shaw do some fantastic work with the visual effects such as the dementors, spells, giants, creatures, and other things to enhance the magical world including to the shield in the battle scene.

Sound designer Dominic Gibbs and sound editor James Mather do a superb job with the sound work from the way spells are cast to the sounds of destruction that goes on throughout the film. The film’s score by Alexandre Desplat is great for its sweeping orchestral pieces for many of the film’s big moments such as the Gringotts break-in and the Battle of Hogwarts plus some more melancholic, dramatic pieces for scenes involving death.

The casting by Fiona Weir is truly phenomenal for the array of actors and appearances from actors who appeared in previous films to smaller characters who get their moments to shine. Making small appearances from previous films include Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, Miriam Margolyes as Professor Sprout, Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney, David Bradley as Argus Filch, Gemma Jones as Madam Pomfrey, Katie Leung as Cho Chang, Josh Herdman as Goyle, Devon Murray as Seamus Finnigan, Alfie Enoch as Dean Thomas, Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown, and Gary Oldman in a wonderful appearance as Sirius Black. Adrian Rawlins and Geraldine Sommerville are good as Harry’s late parents along with David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, Natalia Tena as Tonks, Clemence Poesy as Fleur Delacour-Weasley, Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley, James & Oliver Phelps as Fred & George Weasley, and Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley.

Notable standout performances include Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Warwick Davis in dual roles as Griphook and Professor Flitwick, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Kelly Macdonald in a wonderful small role as the Grey Lady, Jason Issacs and Helen McCrory as Lucius and Naricssa Malfoy, John Hurt as Ollivander, and Julie Walters in an outstanding performance as Molly Weasley who gets to say her big line. Helena Bohnam Carter is excellent as the devious Bellatrix Lestrange as she even gets to be funny when Hermione inhabits her character while Ciaran Hinds is very good as the secretive Aberforth Dumbledore. Evanna Lynch and Bonnie Wright are superb in their respective roles as Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley as both young ladies prove to be quite powerful.

Matthew Lewis is amazing as Neville Longbottom as he finally fulfills his character’s long development as the kid who couldn’t hang to a full-fledge badass who delivers a great monologue towards the end of the film. Tom Felton is really good as Draco Malfoy who tries to play his part in battle only to realize the magnitude of Voldemort’s madness. Michael Gambon is great as Albus Dumbledore in the few scenes he has where he explains about Harry’s situation in Snape’s memory scenes. Alan Rickman is wonderful as he is the real standout performance as Severus Snape, a man whose true allegiance is revealed as Rickman brings a heartbreaking performance in the memory scenes. Ralph Fiennes is magnificent as Lord Voldemort as a bit of his vulnerability is revealed through his rage as Fiennes adds a sense of madness into Voldemort as he’s becoming unhinged.

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are spectacular in their respective roles as Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as they help Harry in their mission while the two finally gets to share a kiss in one of the film’s grand moments. Finally, there’s Daniel Radcliffe in a towering performance as Harry Potter by making his character the heroic figure that he is. Even as Radcliffe sells the anguish and vulnerability of his character in his connection to Voldemort while proving that he’s not going to back down.

The second part of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows is a magical yet awesome film from David Yates and company. With an amazing cast and spectacular sequences that gives the fans what they want and more. Yates creates a film where the Harry Potter franchise goes out with a bang and in grand style. If both parts of The Deathly Hallows were to become one entire film, it would’ve been the best of all the films of the Harry Potter series. In the end, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 is a superb film that allows the Harry Potter universe to say a fond yet grand farewell.

© thevoid99 2011


Andy Buckle said...

I did like the film, though I didn't find it as emotionally engaging as I had expected! Did you really find Bonnie Wright to be good? I thought there was a complete absence of chemistry between her and Radcliffe and I think Yates realised she wasn't a good actress, seeming to hide he involvement. But it was great to see Snape, Professor McGonagall and Neville get more time. Despite the fact that it really only covered a third of the novel (and felt like an extended third act) scenes still felt rushed. Nice coverage Steven. It was a fitting finale that's for sure.

thevoid99 said...

Well, from the small scenes she had. I thought Wright was good.

I do have a few qualms about the film since I wanted more about Dumbledore and his family. That was my one major complaint.

I think because I had low expectations, the epilogue turned out to be better than I thought and it was quite touching.

I'm not sure if I'll do more Harry Potter-related stuff. I think I'm Pottered out.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree about Kloves' script. I think he's been a poor writer for the series, especially when it comes to cutting out sections of the film.

The opening act, in particularly is poorly paced and terribly written.

But once at Hogwarts, I like the film a lot. I think it still has issues and a lot of the characters get a bit slighted. Contrasting this to something like The Return of the King, where every character get their big moment, this one glazes over a lot of the ancillary characters, which I think is a shame.

thevoid99 said...

@Cinemasights-I admit I have a few issues with Kloves as a writer since there was stuff that was skimped over and objects that weren't discussed. Yet, I found it to be a fitting finale though I knew that some things were going to be cut out.

I'm more upset over the fact that the film had to be split into 2 parts. I really feel like this generation of filmgoers are missing out on what could've been a roadshow release.

I still like the film and I'm glad it's over. I just kind of want to move on from all of that.