Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II Review

Relax. They didn’t screw it up. – L.Thompson

Now now, where do I start? Quite a late entry, this one; but that I attended the Hallows premiere in Sri Lanka on only August 19th is not to blame. Ah, tropical bohemian lateness is lovely to soak in, sometimes.

The movie: it’s over. The series: it ended. The verdict?
The beginning is very promising indeed. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 unfolds with the breathtaking reality that: this is it. The morbidly eerie first shot of Severus Snape’s black bat-like outline braces the audience from the onset that times are at its darkest. The Dark Lord’s power has now sunk itself into almost every aspect of the wizarding world and a Dumbledore-less Hogwarts stands no chance against such a coil-like infiltration.

Unlike Part 1, however, we are not enchanted by restful long scenes of epic grey scenery, camping, and field trotting. Here it is war, and war it is. The film’s pace gallops tenfold as David Yates (director) is apt to get wands firing from the first scene. Within half an hour the audience is pushed into Hogwarts for the battle that has seared the memories of generations of Potter fans. Horcruxes VS Hallows. Snape VS McGonnagal. Light VS Dark. It’s on Bitch!

Overall this movie isn’t perfect, but I can’t stop myself from telling you, it is damn good. For the loyal book lover there will be parts which make you want to scream “Holy Dungbombs! WTF is going on?” Actually there are many such parts really, but my only advice to you at such a moment of crisis: let it go like a snitch. Accept what you’re watching as a Hollywood movie, not a play in which J.K Rowling’s exact words are casted as the actors on stage.
Speaking of stage, acting much?
Personally, I think this movie in specific is almost purely actor driven. Yes, there are epic goose bump wrenching scenes like the death eaters blasting a sea of lightening blue fireworks that gracefully arc through the inky night sky and crash into a ballistic silver dome powered by Protego Totalum and Protego Horribilis. But it is the acting in the movie that takes the crowning glory. This time the youngsters fall short of their robes in comparison to their older wizarding counterparts; not because they are incapable of acting, but because the older cast is just, how can I say it, too good?

Allan Rickman—you devil. Undeniably Harry Potter has always been snubbed by the Academy, but perhaps this time Rickman’s acting alone might make Oscar at least lift an eyebrow. While Severus Snape is one of the most intriguing characters I have ever come across in Literature, such acclaim to a character detested for over 11 years was only accorded when one read the Prince’s Tale—a very popular chapter among Potter lovers. Rickman’s acting does full justice to a tormented character whose only reprieve in life is seeing those beloved green eyes on a boy whose appearance and character he loathes. Even Rickman’s minute attention to speech send severing shivers slithering down one’s back. A noteworthy scene is when Snape speaks to the Hogwarts students who assemble like angry terracotta warriors in the Great Hall. His mention of “will, be punished, e-qually” is audibly amazing and evocative. The pronunciation break of ‘equal’ is so evocative he makes us breathlessly cling to every word with fear for the next. Ralph Fiennes similarly whispers another broken word moments before he launches the attack on Hogwarts’ protective shield. With his hoarse cold voice, “be-gen” he rasps, instead of “begin”. His sonorous projection brilliantly punctuates the disconnected atmosphere inhabited by Hogwarts; especially at a time when the army of Hogwarts is propping barriers of enchantments to disconnect themselves from Voldemort. But once again it is Rickman who steals the show completely. As the pensieve and memories swirl to life Rickman fans all his cards for a surprised and tearful audience. His tortured love for Lily resonated like a well casted spell with inward gulping cries and tormented sobs of rejection and failure in the scene in front of Dumbledore. What is with these Brits and the epic attention to details in acting? Whatever it is, it is working.

But then how can we forget Maggie Smith, the real life incarnation of Professor McGonagall? She was so good and cute with her one-liners she made me want to be a sweet old school teacher at one point. At times the newly inserted lines worked very well but at other times, not so much. McGonagall’s perfect one liner, “I’ve always wanted to use that spell” is one such testament. Come on, even that sour goblin looking muggle in the back of the theatre who was forcedly dragged to the movie smiled for that line. However, added dialogue didn’t seem to work its magic during Snape’s death scene. In the movie Snape tells Harry to “please” take it (the memory). Ahem! Excuse me. This is Severus Snape; even in his dying moments he will never shamefully beg for anything, especially not of Harry. The book remains loyal to Snape’s soul in that the only two phrases he gurgles before death are “Take it…take it…” and “Look…at…me.” Rowling is not tempted to break character even if the moment follows the last three breaths of one her creations. Now that, is genius. More disappointingly Snape’s dire persistence in finding Harry himself for Lord Voldemort (or so we thought) went unnoticed throughout the movie. Instead it appeared like pure hobety bopety coincidence that Harry stumbles in when Snape is about to die and Snape can say ‘Oh, I can give him the memory then.’ This is more the fault of Steve Kloves’ (screenwriter) writing than Rickman’s acting. Also, Snape VS McGonagall, their eye popping duel—that I shall not forgive Yates, shame on you. The book writes it so much better when the movie could have projected it ever so brilliantly. Torch fire whips, daggers, snakes, the transfigured armor that rescues Snape and everything else? Come on!
The evil couple of the century also deserves due attention do they not? If not they might crucio me. Voldemort and Bellatrix are the unwritten couple made in hell. If a threesome is needed they also have Nagini to play with. Helena Bonham Carter has casted a Protego towards criticism because she was so good I can’t criticize her. Her mimicry of Emma Watson’s acting in the Gringotts scene was so awe inspiring I forgot it was Helena who was acting, not Watson.

Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) on the hand does receive a mixed review. Voldemort does not laugh like an old man high on crack-cocaine, similar to the way Fiennes laughs when he announces “HARRY POTTER IS, DEAD.” Furthermore, the Voldemort I know does not take a Draco Malfoy into a weirdly awkward bear hug
that made me cringe. Really? What was that? Seriously. Apart from these minor inconsistencies, Fiennes does appear to be a satisfactory He Who Must Not Be Named. His artistry in fingering the elder wand—from merciless whip-like slashes, the screw driving twists of the wrists, to the greed that glows in his red eyes when he beholds the Elder Wand’s power, is, I think, quite spot on sinister.
One of the acts in this movie that I was really looking forward to, call me soppy, was the kiss. Ron and Hermione. Spoiler Alert, the movie kills the kiss.
“There was a clatter as the Basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full in the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.”

The movie: an awkward look, a sudden spit kiss that lasts two and a half seconds and then an awkwardly cute giggle. The giggle, not written in the book, is the only thing that does save the movie’s kiss from being a complete abomination to a romance that bubbled for seven years. Quite disappointing too because Grint had acted his secret infatuation for Watson so well in Part 1 and Part 2 that at the climax both he and Miss Watson fail to deliver the cherry on top. And really, the Chamber of Secrets? Is that really a place for a first kiss? Fail.
In the meantime we need not even consider Radcliffe and what’s her name’s romance. Someone got it right when they wrote “[a]nd whatever Harry’s doing with Ron’s sister Ginny (Bonnie Wright) has the heat of dead ash.” Amen brotha.
Regardless of its faults I would say that I am very satisfied with this movie. An 8.5 / 10 would seem rather appropriate. Even if I had given it a 2 it’s not like you wouldn’t have watched it anyway.
And so, another chapter closes in the world of Harry Potter. Now all we Potter fans have left to latch onto is Pottermore. But you know, call me an optimist, but I still can’t let go of that dangling sliver of hope which emanates from J.K Rowling’s past statement: “give it 10 years” in response to ‘Will you write more Potter books?”

10 years? Love, I’ll give you 15 if you pinky swear. Adieu.

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