Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Opinion: A-

Trailing right after the end of the somewhat underwhelming first part to the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga, the final film grips tight and has improved tremendously in terms of pacing and features well-rounded dosages of gloom, action, and drama. Wasn't much of a fan of the series prior and I didn't read any of the J.K. Rowling's books, but HP7.2 turns out to be a pleasant surprise that satisfies and makes me yearn for more. A wonderful closure to a sensational magical series that's spanned over a decade.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. The much-anticipated motion picture event is the second of two full-length parts. In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort.

Everything, be it good or bad, surely has to come to an end.

Nobody can withstand the wear of time, not even the most powerful wizards and the evil Voldemort who whispers under his breath and is highly unpredictable. Just like the slithery creature that Voldemort happens to keep as his pet company. Ralph Fiennes who plays Voldemort does get a lot of screen time in this final film while he appears mostly as flashes in Potter's subconsciousness in earlier chapters. This translates into a great opportunity that lies before Fiennes and he really did capitalise upon it very well to churn out an impressive performance, becoming one of the most memorable villains in modern cinema history.

Previously, my opinion of HP7.1 here wasn't impressed by a rather brooding and underwhelming take by David Yates on a magical series targeted at adolescents and young adults. Mostly depending on the audience to be well-versed with the series and all its characters, several characters appeared in front of the audience without any introductory or memory-refresh. This made it rather frustrating to watch and on top of that, there's too much drama in the homage-paying Part 1 that causes the film to suffer from certain pacing woes.

Fortunately, everything's well-compensated in Part 2.

Without wasting much time, the film opens where Part 1 left off even before the Warner Bros. logo sequence. Personally, I thought that was an effective and interesting touch. While the film never leaves its grasp off its story-centric drama, it allowed a lot more engaging scenes to be added such as the one where Hermione tried to pull off as Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter (who in the world can mimic her? She's simply one of a kind in the world).

The action that most have craved after is presented in a heroic manner where the entire scene is staged to allow us to feel that everybody has a part to play in the finale battle against the dark forces. The final Hogwarts battle scene was expected, but Yates totally overwhelmed and surpassed without too much blatant messy clashes between both sides (which happened in LOTR) that would have been very undesirable.

Again, the greatest virtue here by Yates is action without sacrificing plot continuity.

Yes, many have sacrificed in the film. But they've not died in vain as Yates never sacrificed story despite throwing in quite a bit of action this time around, which is commendable. I guess when I view Part 1 and Part 2 together as a singular film entity, it's understandable that Part 1 is the calm before the storm in Part 2. This has greatly heightened my impression of Yates, who's previous works before the last 4 HP films were mostly for television.

Not all credits go to one man alone, there's several others who did well. Like Alexandre Desplat.

The original music composer whom I've also praised his works in The Tree of Life, added a lot of atmosphere and soul into this film that made this film so befitting of its intended gloomy and magical theme. With two impressive showcases in two of the best films this year, it is unlikely for Desplat to escape a nod or two later this year during the award season.

While Potter and friends didn't exactly submit much of a notable performance when other veterans like Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman stole the limelight, it was truly a mesmerising wonder to have their growing up over the last ten years and rarely will any actors be so committed to a project that spans over a decade. It will be anybody's guess and interest to see where the career paths of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson will eventually lead to.

Photography was dim yet detailed in beauty amidst the spectacular visual effects that danced about throughout the entire film, I must say that Director of Photography Eduardo Sierra (of Part 1) has outdone himself this time. There's this thing about managing light in a gloomy film like HP7.2 when all the sorcery and magic zaps about frequently in a grand magical battle between Voldemort's and Hogwart's forces.

Not to forget the excellent sound, which most might have overlooked, that added a lot towards the cinematic experience throughout. Check out the following featurette by SoundWorks on The Sound of HP7.2 below:

There's been talks of the last Harry Potter film enjoying the possibility of being embraced by the Academy this year. With the complicated changes that the Best Picture nomination process will undergo starting this year, I say:

Why not?


  1. Another excellently written review, my friend. Great job!
    I second most of your opinion here and this is truly a fantastic capper to a great series. Every action scene becomes so much better because you feel like every shot has it’s purpose, and they revolve around the story, characters and emotions.

  2. Excellent review and I am looking forward to this very much. I thoroughly enjoyed the Potter films and the first part, while calm and a bit slow, did have its moments. I wish they would have done better job with the character of Ginny. She is actually more important than Hermione in the latter books, but Emma Watson has become such an integral part of the film franchise that they gave Ginny's heroics to Hermione. I love the surprise reactions of the film only crowd when Ginny ends up with Harry. They were all expecting Harry and Hermione.

  3. @Jaccstev Thank you so much Jaccstev, I've read your opinion of it too and you've also written an impressive piece. Wondering if this will gather any love from the Academy.

    @Melissa Agreed that the books and films don't exact match, I'll presume that you're a book series fan and I can totally understand how you feel. I think Watson impressed them so much that she's virtually the hottest property to come from the HP cast who has also fronted Burberry campaigns.

    Thank you so much Melissa for your kind words! :)


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