Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It's been 10 years since Harry Potter first hit the big screen with Sorcerer's Stone. We have all watched them grow up right before our eyes, hitting highs and lows but never quite receiving a full pay-off. This movie, which has been split into two parts, was a thrilling and highly rewarding viewing experience. I decided to review the whole movie (parts one and two) instead of just the second half. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows begins with Harry, Ron, and Hermione setting off alone, after the devastating events that concluded the previous chapter in the series, and searching for the objects containing bits of Lord Voldemort's desecrated soul knowing that only by destroying them can the Dark Lord be defeated.

The first part of this film is wonderfully captured, being very different from all other entries of this story thus far in that Harry does not return to school. The change in setting can feel a little jarring, but it provides the three leads with the opportunity to really shine in the spotlight. They not only manage to hold our attention, but they all but carry the movie by themselves as the narrative sets the stage for the final showdown known as The Battle of Hogwarts. The first part of the film certainly has its flaws (the dance scene in the tent, for example...), but otherwise it's a thrilling set-up to the series climax. The last battle between the followers of Voldemort's and those who fight on the side of "The Chosen One" is filled with poignant moments of loss, love, and sacrifice.

Every actor in this film is top notch, especially Alan Rickman who gives the performance of his career as the dark and immensely complex character of Severus Snape. Daniel Radcliffe has a few moments that are absolutely spell-binding (pun-intended), particularly after seeing a memory that sheds light on what his real mission is. That quiet moment of realization as he comes to terms with what he must do in order to defeat the most evil wizard of all time is devastating and captivating at the same time. As a huge fan of the books, I was just as worried as anyone else that my favorite moments would be ruined or short-changed, but I am happy to report that the most important parts of the story are portrayed beautifully, leaving most of the people in the theater positively weeping.

This final chapter in the saga is not only fitting, but completely satisfying in the best possible way. Having already broken the all-time record for the highest grossing opening weekend at the box office, I would be surprised if many people I know haven't seen this already, but I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Go see it, particularly if you are a fan of the books. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a  wonderful parting gift to the boy wizard we have all come to know and love. I give this film four stars. "All is well."

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS are both rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, fantasy violence, and some frightening images.