Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (2011) Review

15 07 2011

Copyright 2011 Warner Brothers Pictures

★ ★ ★ ★ 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.





Source Code (2011) Review

11 04 2011

Copyright 2011 Summit Entertainment

★ ★ ★ ★

I went to the movie theatre over the weekend for the first time in a couple of months (outside of the 5th Quarter premiere a few weeks ago, but I didn’t pay for a ticket for that).  My girlfriend, Maddie, had mentioned wanting to go see this movie Source Code. Being that this time of year is usually when all the worst movies come out and that 2011 has been off to a riveting start (note sarcasm) with movie selection, I wasn’t too interested in spending money on the venture.  However, I looked into the reviews online and imdb.com, and it looked like this might be a good film to see.  In the end, I’m happy I went.

This is the second film from director Duncan Jones; his first was 2009’s Moon. The film starts with Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) waking up on a train.  He is disoriented and doesn’t seem to know where or who the woman (Michelle Monaghan) across from is.  He moves through a series of events and interactions on the train trying to figure out what is going on and why all this strange phenomena is happening to him.  After 8 minutes, the train explodes and he warps into a capsule.  In the capsule, he is being monitored and spoken to by a Captain Goodwin (Vera Farmiga).  Stevens learns that he is part of a top secret experiment involving “time reassignment,” in which he is working towards finding the culprit who planted the bomb on the train.  Without giving too much away, the film gets more and more complexing as it moves forward and takes advantage of its interesting play on “time travel” and parallel universes.

Gyllenhaal, Monaghan and Farmiga, all perform quite well and convincingly in their roles.  Jeffrey Wright also plays an intricate role as the head of the Source Code Program.  The story is a fine mixture of action in the train sequences and dialogue heavy character building in the capsule scenes between Stevens and Goodwin.

The science behind some of the events in the film definitely warrants suspension of disbelief.  This is, however, good science fiction through and through.  The pacing, direction and interesting story all come together to make a really entertaining movie and, in the end, what more can you ask for?  Not all films have to be amazing works of art to be truly good films; this film is definitely one of those.  Would I call it a masterpiece? No.  A work of art?  No.  A very entertaining, well made motion picture?  Yes.








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