Monday, July 18, 2011

This may very well be the last time I would get to write a Harry Potter film review, for the highly successful franchise has cast its last spell and will be closing its curtains forever. There will be no casting choices left to  scrutinize, no deleted scenes to be angry about, no trailers to look forward to and no more movie date release to anticipate with bated breath.

It all ends with this.

And what a magical swan song it was. From the moment the WB logo floated onscreen up to the rolling of the credits, it was a thrilling spectacle ride for readers and non-fans alike. Having worshiped the books from the start, I am the kind of anal retentive movie-goer who frowns upon changed scenes and plot cuts. Fortunately, neither was rampant in this David Yates' masterpiece.

Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows was packed with action, spells and rubble from start 'till finish. One need not know what the bloody hell is happening just as long as one is aware that Harry's the protagonist and the bald guy with the non-existent nose is the evil one and it will still be enjoyable to watch. Even my Muggle  movie companion was mesmerized by the sheer brilliance of almost every scene. It was a breathtaking experience to witness the Wizarding World in shambles. One can really tell that this is the final hurrah and Harry is determined to go with a final bang.


The film wasted no time in trying to explain the complicated aspects of Wandlore nor Dumbledore's shady past, and for that I am grateful. There is no way you could explain that much information to an illiterate audience who did not even care to crack open a single Harry Potter book. Instead, the screenwriters decided to tone down the plot details and hyped up the chaos and pandemonium, which translated better on the big screen. It was a wise decision indeed.

And as our heroic Trio found themselves back in Hogwarts, the plot and my heart took flight. This was it. This was the moment we've all been waiting for. The Great Battle. The ultimate war between the power of love and love of power. And I think every reader could attest that there was distinct feeling of thrill, exhilaration and awe upon watching the scene unfold right before our very eyes.

As with the book, the moment Professor McGonagall animated the once lifeless suits of armors and exclaimed, "Hogwarts is threatened! Man the boundaries. Protect us!"  and the remaining faculty started to take matters in their own hands and use their highly developed skills in magic, chills ran down my spine. 

There is something astounding about finally seeing rather than just imagining. The impressive protective sphere, the spells, the fire, the rubble, the smoke and the thundering music set the perfect atmosphere for the raging battle that has yet to come. I could not have asked for a better set design. This was the battle of all battles, the final duel between good and evil, and it sure felt like it.

The scenes were reasonably paced, with the hunt of Ravenclaw's lost diadem, the Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement, the duels and the overall pandemonium inside the once peaceful halls of Hogwarts. It all blended together in this wonderful adrenaline-induced cacophony that could make Lord of the Rings proud.


A review of Deathly Hallows Part II would not be complete without the mention of the unbelievably accurate portrayal of Alan Rickman to the endlessly complex and brilliant character that is Severus Snape. I will admit, the chapter entitled "The Prince's Tale" of the 7th book is my most read chapter in the entire series. I prefer my characters complicated, dark and with a secret that could shatter thousands of hearts, and that is exactly what JK Rowling did with our once hated Potions Master. 

Before the release of Deathly Hallows the novel, I remember all the talks behind the power of Harry's green eyes, because in countless of interviews, our queen creator has mentioned that it will play a big role in the final book. Nobody could understand it and probably very few speculations got it right. The shock that it was not some supernatural power never before witnessed by the Wizarding world but just, yet again, the uncontainable force of love, blew me away. And reduced me to a blubbering goopy mess the moment Harry stepped out of the Pensieve.

It is for this reason that I fell in love with this character who was often described as greasy and bat-like. Because it shows that everybody hurts, yet everybody loves. And no matter how despicable a certain person looks from the outside, if you just care to look a bit further, there would be always something there that could surprise you.

Okay, then. Now back to the movie.


I think the only criticism I could give is that the closing battle at Hogwarts (the one which transpired after Harry came back to life) was underwhelming at best. Where were the centaurs, who upon seeing Harry's lifeless body decided to take a stand and fight against Voldemort? Where were the House Elves who have valiantly left the kitchens to stab Death Eaters in the ankles with paring knives? Where were the ordinary village people of Hogsmeade who overcame their fear of the Dark Lord, left their barrels of butterbear and came to fight alongside the wounded students of Hogwarts?

I know no single feature film could meet the millions of wild imaginations, all of which have created their own version of the epic final battle in their heads, but I just feel like these details shouldn't have been left out. It was the turning point in the book, showing how united the Wizarding World was in defeating a powerful tyrant. I regret to say that it was the only part of the film that felt sloppy and hastily made. 

However, I do understand why the producers felt there has to be an intense one-on-one battle slash chase scene between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, with both running around the castle physically trying to destroy each other ala Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader's final Lightsaber match. It's a cinematic staple, a sort of movie template every great archenemies are expected to have.

However, in this case, I can't help but feel how out of character those scenes were. First of all, never could I remember imagining Voldemort run, much less chase Harry around Hogwarts. A little longer and I would have expected both to be pulling each other's hair, if Voldemort had hair.

But still, epicness prevailed. The ultimate end of Voldemort was much more silent than I anticipated, with just the wands doing all the talking, but the concluding image of the once feared sorcerer slowly dissolving to ashes was a satisfying image. 


And it all came to a full circle.

Platform 9 3/4: In the middle of the busy bustling train station filled with families and cages of various kinds of pets, we see them.

Ginny sporting Mom Hair, Harry looking basically the same, some random kids who are supposed to be James and Lily (both of whom nobody really cares about) and then there he was... Albus Severus Justin Potter Bieber.

Then there was Ron with his beer belly, Hermione who also looked quite the same and Draco Malfoy who just looked... weird.

The next generation of talented mischief managing wizards were on their way to Hogwarts. And we were left with the image of our beloved trio, Harry, Ron and Hermione looking wistfully on.

As a fan, I expected a lot and quite honestly, those expectations were mostly met. The film is a perfect mix of action, suspense, horror, comedy and a little bit of romance. It has a heart as big as Harry's, wit as sharp as Hermione's and loyalty to the novel that could make Ron proud. 

Thank you for giving the end of my childhood justice.

Orchestr-o-meter: Thousand points to David Yates & Co. !


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to us for hanging on with Harry till the very end! hahaha :D ---erika

Cha Kuris said...

Good write-up! I had the same thought about the Justin Bieber kid towards the end! Haha! I just think the name Albus Severus was pushing it. =)

Clarriscent said...


Congratulations indeed! And thank you Harry for making the journey one to remember. :)

@Cha Kuris

Haha, the kid was sporting the Bieber hair like he invented it, really cute. About the name, I agree, the two names didn't mash up well together but the meaning was sweet and endearing. Oh God, I'm going to miss these characters and the wizarding world.

Cha Kuris said...

Yeah, he owned the haircut, that kid! =D
I don't own any of the books nor do I have copies of the movies, but HP just had this profound impact on me and it's nice to read your posts because they express exactly how I feel. I feel so blessed to be a Muggle living in Harry's era. With all these not so nice things going on in our generation, it's comforting that it is also during these times that a boy chose to ride into our lives in his Nimbus 2000. =)

Clarriscent said...

@Cha Kuris

I feel exactly the same way. Our generation is extremely blessed to be given this kind of phenomenon that has depth, power and heart. A literary gem of this caliber is hard to come by and we are the ones lucky enough to be here when it happened. :)

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