I saw the latest Harry Potter movie pretty early on in the week, but didn’t exactly get a chance to write about it till now. Let’s just say that for a franchise that’s all about magic, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) proved, like it’s predecessor the year before, severely lacking in charm.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s probably a great movie for the fans, bringing much needed closure to more than a decade of Daniel Radcliffe pottering about, trying to defeat his deadly nemesis (with Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in tow of course). As it stands, HP7-2 appears to be the top grossing film in movie history ever, and if that’s not money making magic, then I don’t know what is.
Still, for peeps who’ve gotten their magic fix off stronger and headier stuff like Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic, Dungeons & Dragons, or any variety of urban fantasy though, HP 7-2 is average, and dare I say run-of-the-mill. The storytelling hoodoo simply isn’t strong in this one.
Picking up where HP 7-1 left off, the evil lich… I mean Voldemort, has finally secured the elder wand (I bet you it’s a +6 wand of pew pewing), while Potter’s party is out at sea. Well, seashore, but you get the idea. They’ve still got a couple of horcruxes (they’re obviously phylacteries, as any self respecting fantasy fan will attest) to destroy before they can kill Voldemort, and they’re almost out of options.
Their only lead is Bellatrix’s vault at Gringotts, and that’s where the teen wizard trio heads off to in the first part of the movie. Suffice to say, Potter lovers will already know how things go from there, but considering how this is pretty much just another dramatized fetch-and-kill quest chain in the works, anybody with half a brain would soon figure things out.
I have to admit that Part 2’s marginally better than Part 1. Radcliffe’s cringeworthy performance in the first of this two-parter was horrendous, and Grint wasn’t much better with his deer-in-headlights stare. This time, it looks like they’ve actually gotten their act (hurhur) together. Still, it was the luminaries like Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, and the like who stole the show, proving that ultimately, having a few extra levels under their belt certainly made them better wizards, at least on screen.
It’s the same with the sets and special effects. Visuals are much better than the last movie, what with force shields, animated golem guards, fire elementals and all, but again not by much. More’s the pity, since you’d have expected the characters to have beefed up their repertoire after so many years at Hogwarts, and that they’d be able to cast some real spells.
At least Yates (the director) didn’t botch the flow of the film this time. It was evenly paced, and sequences flowed better than the previous film. Still, there’s a whole lot of running around, trying to find stuff while the Battle of Hogwarts happens, and the parapets start raining down around Potter’s silly ears.
The Snape dying-flashback-plot exposition sequence wasn’t half bad, but as the good professor’s sympathizer, I could be biased. The climax, by comparison, appeared rather anticlimactic. When Potter and Voldemort finally squared off, the scene was rather underwhelming. Animated robe, lens flares, and bromance aside, pointing wands at each other and going “Pew pew!” does not a final showdown make.
Ultimately, I would have loved to see greater emphasis on the Hogwarts siege in general and spell slinging as a whole, but we can’t always have what we wish for. Tsk.
So watch if you’re a HP fan, or if you’re a bandwagon kinda guy. Consider watching if you’re a fantasy fan. Otherwise, avoid.
The only reason why I’d even deigned to watch the movie in the first place was Alan Rickman, whose portrayal of Severus Snape probably deserves an Oscar. Now, the real magic’s if Rowling wises up, and Warner Bros. actually puts out a movie about Snape’s earlier adventures.