The final installment of the record-shattering “Harry Potter” franchise– “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”–may leave many reaching for tissues. Fans will mourn at the end of the series of, while non-fans will still be susceptible to the heart-wrenching finale.
Seven years after learning he is a wizard, Harry Potter, played by the superb Daniel Radcliffe, is no longer the wide-eyed boy he once was. Now he is an experienced, battle-scarred young man, ready to take on the evil Lord Voldemort, who killed his parents and countless others.
“Part 2” picks up exactly where “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” left off. Barely twenty minutes into the film and Harry, Ron and Hermione, played by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, are waist-deep in the film’s first of many action sequences. Screenwriter Steve Kloves explained to Entertainment Weekly that “…we’ve talked about our obligation to the audience in terms of summary. Once we got to ‘Deathly Hallows,’ we all agreed: the price of admission is that you know where we are in the story based on what we’ve presented in the movies.”
For those who cannot quite remember, Harry, Ron and Hermione are searching for and destroying Horcruxes, the magical objects which keep Voldemort immortal by housing bits of his soul. This search leads them to a battle on the grounds of Hogwarts.
Though the film contains both highly emotional and humorous moments, its standout scenes are ones in which Harry and company duel Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters. Director David Yates commands the battlefield, flawlessly capturing every explosion and the efforts of every character.
The battle scenes are where the film’s visual effects shine. “Part 2” is the first and only Potter film to be available in 3D and the wizards in the special effects department create an immersive war for the viewer – those who have yet to see the film should prepare to be startled by the explosions and action. However, for the rest of the film, the heavy 3D effects darken the lighter scenes, which is a distracting, inescapable effect of 3D cinema.
The performances in the film are top notch –each of the actors seems to understand the weight of this eight-part film series and rises to the occasion, but none more so than the film’s hero. Harry is the perfect hero: selfless, smart and brave and for ten years Radcliffe has presented fans with a believable and likeable Potter. This film was the perfect close to his tenure playing the character.
Watson and Grint are as dependable as ever as fan-favorites Ron and Hermione. They effortlessly showcase their talent for both humor and drama – and fans will be happy to know that the kiss is perfect.
Alan Rickman, as Severus Snape, is particularly devastating in his performance – arguably the best in the film. Another supporting actor, Maggie Smith, steals the show as Professor McGonagall with both power and humor.
Actor Ralph Fiennes, who plays Lord Voldemort, has sometimes taken his portrayal of the Dark Lord too far, verging on the flamboyant. However he is appropriately horrible in “Part 2,” and there are some moments that will have viewers hoping for his defeat including one spectacular (and hilarious) hug with Draco Malfoy, played by Tom Felton.
Alexandre Desplat’s score is sweeping, touching on both the tragedy of the carnage and the ferocity of the battles. The music gives a scope for the immensity of the film series. “Lily’s Theme,” an eerie vocal and violin duet, could potentially start viewers crying before the film actually begins.
With a lofty 97 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Part 2” seems to be pleasing all audiences. Though casual viewers will appreciate a well-rounded, fast-paced war movie, Harry Potter’s fans see this film as much more – it is the perfect culmination of a decade of cinema, brimming with emotion, action and memorable performances.
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Alyana Alfaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.