★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2
So, it’s 2:20 a.m. on early Friday morning here on the east coast. I just got back from the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. This is the second part of the two-movie conclusion to one of the most popular movie series of the decade, which, in turn, is based on one of the most popular book series of all-time.
Picking up from where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I left off, this film begins at the burial of the free elf Dobby. Without going into too much detail on the synopsis, as I’m sure 90% of you have already read the books and just care if the movie is a good representation or not, the first 20 or so minutes is very much exposition. It recaps a bit from what the previous installment showed and then continues to set-up the next major plot point, the search for another of Voldemort’s horcruxes at Gringott’s Bank. The Gringott’s chase and escape sequence is relatively short compared to what I remember it being in the book. Following this, Harry and friends apparate to Hogsmeade, meet Ableforth Dumbledore, Albus’s brother, and enter into the now Snape-headed Hogwarts. I would say at this point you’re maybe 45 minutes into this two hour and ten minute movie, if that. From this point on is the final battle and showdown at Hogwarts.
The exposition is a bit rushed, but I was completely fine with it. I mean, if you are going to split a massive book into two movies, give me the good stuff! The final battle at Hogwarts and lead up to the showdown between Harry and Voldemort are epic and spectacular; there are many moments where you will find yourself on the edge of your seat. Many popular characters that haven’t appeared in several of the latest movies reappear in this installment, and it’s exhilarating to watch such an grandly staged battle between good and evil for more than the last half of the film.
J.K. Rowling wrote the books intending for each book to become darker and for a more mature audience. I will say that this entry in the movie series is by far the most graphic. There were several scenes that were disturbing, even for an adult; so, for all you parents, be aware that this is definitely not wholly a “kid’s movie.”
The Harry Potter series has already become classic literature to some degree, and in only 14 short years. It’s majestical storytelling, and in the films, well-acted, well-scripted and wonderfully shot, directed and produced. To me, this installment in the film series was a fitting end to an iconic story. I don’t think anyone will walk away from the theater disappointed.