HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Part 2
The battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war as Harry Potter continues his desperate search for the last of the powerful Horcruxes that are the key to Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) immortality. He and his best friends Ron and Hermione (Emma Watson, Rupert Grint) are by turn the objects of Voldemort's evil plan: he wants to track Harry down and kill him. Harry now knows the legend of the Deathly Hallows, but Ollivander (John Hurt) explains just how and why they are so crucial. He also discovers a shattering secret about himself and Voldemort, as he edges closer to the ultimate confrontation.
Review by Louise Keller:
As far as spectacle goes, this final chapter of the Harry Potter franchise has plenty of it with showy special effects and a rich and alluring density that once again overshadows the narrative. There's little time for those unfamiliar with the story to pick up the threads although it would be fair to say that the key audiences for this grand finale are the initiated aficionados who have been hanging onto every little detail of the intricate world of the boy wizard since the series began 10 years ago. I felt as though the filmmakers were so keen to dazzle one and all with effect after effect that the simple art of storytelling has suffered in the process. As a result, I found myself dipping in and out of J. K. Rowling's wondrous fantasy world as the story comes to its dramatic conclusion.
The story begins with the continuation of the search for remaining Horcruxes by Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) in a bid to discover the riddle of the evil Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) immortality. The early sequence in which they venture on a precarious ride through a chasm into an underground vault where everything they touch multiplies is one of the film's strongest with its wonderful white fire-breathing dragon that provides the required escape route when things get hairy. Of the creatures, I also like the grotesque goblins and the slithering python that yearns for human flesh that might well slither into the dreams of many an impressionable youngster.
Perhaps the film's greatest weakness is that there is little interaction between the key characters; the main game is reliant on the ever-nearing showdown between Voldemort and Harry. If the weight of the battle between good and evil relies on a strong villain, the film certainly has that in Fiennes as Voldemort, an eerily repulsive figure with a pale nose-less face and claw-like talons. Alan Rickman's unforgettable Professor Snape uses his screen-time well and among the cast of familiar faces, it's good to see Maggie Smith in good form. There's a hint of romance too, with an anti-climactic kiss between Ron and Hermione that is over almost before it begins.
The myriad of ideas leap at us from all directions and are often jumbled in the frenetic plot as the dramatic arc forgets to deliver one whiz bang satisfying emotional outcome to everything that has gone before. The fans however, will no doubt be well satisfied as the Harry Potter saga ends with good triumphing over evil and J. K. Rowling runs to the bank.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Shot entirely in gloom (except for a couple of scenes at the end), the last of the eight Harry Potter films is a dark mix of special effects wizardry and confrontations. It is also an extended collection of time and place shifts as characters who are dead, return in various forms, imagined realities are turned inside out and everything is made possible by virtue of the fact that this is the world of wizards.
The backdrop and setting for this franchise has morphed from magic (albeit very effective and extensive magic) to the sort of special effects epic that drives all super hero movies, where superhuman powers can deliver every conceivable trick and stunt, to the point where the protagonists are all but invincible - until the final showdown. It's a pity, because the world of Harry Potter that I found effective and engaging was an original. It no longer is.
There is a great sense of confusion in this final chapter, as if the story had to be stretched out and peppered with a zillion tricks. So much so I am not too sure of the details, but the arc of the story simply continues from what felt like an aborted end to Part I of the Deathly Hallows.
This sense of the story being stretched is never more acute than in the final act, in which there are about three clear endings, after each of which the film sucks in new air and revives for another elongated ending ... and so on. Self conscious and intent on being somehow 'deep', the screenplay makes several stops to deliver meaningful dialogue and won't let any of our beloved characters from the previous chapters stay silent in their graves.
All the performances are terrific, though, notably the now grown up Daniel Radcliffe, on whose shoulders this film entirely rests, with some fiery theatricals from Ralph Fiennes. Perhaps not his most highly regarded performance, but effective all the same, disfigured as he is without a nose. John Hurt is memorable for his one outstanding scene, and Maggie Smith manages to convey genuine emotion whenever the camera finds her. Alan Rickman comes perilously close to self-mocking but his technique saves him, while Michael Gambon is the big hearted Dumbledore as always. Even when dead.
Above all, the film is a pyrotechnic wonder, a superb feast of visuals, innovative design and fabulous camerawork. And the eager fans cheered and clapped at the Sydney premiere, even if I didn't.
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THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
THE GOBLET OF FIRE
THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE
DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1
HARRY POTTER SPLASH PAGE
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS Part 2 (M)
CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, John Hurt, Evanna Lynch, Dmnhall Gleeson, Clemence Poesy, Warwick Davis, John Hurt, Helena Bonham Carter, Miriam Margolyes, Gemma Jones, George Harris, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman
PRODUCER: David Barron, David Heyman, J.K. Rowling
DIRECTOR: David Yates
SCRIPT: Steve Kloves (novel by J.K. Rowling)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eduardo Serra
EDITOR: Mark Day
MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Craig
RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 13, 2011
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.