Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

A –  Movie Review

Relax! They Didn’t Screw Up Harry Potter and the Deathly  Hallows: Part 2

The Bigger Picture: Let’s get the most obvious questions out  of the way first. The 3-D, which always sounded like an afterthought, works well  (especially in IMAX). The dementors that hover around Hogwarts are enhanced  particularly nicely, and an underground-dwelling albino dragon is surprisingly  scary in stereoscopic.

Director David Yates still periodically allows some awkward  edits, but he’s gotten a lot better since Order of the Phoenix and is  up to the challenge of ending things with a big bang. And he’s not to blame for  the franchise’s curious early step of casting Warwick Davis in  dual roles as Professor Flitwick and Griphook the Goblin, which has never felt  more weird than in this film where both have significant scenes.

If the now-adult wizard Harry Potter (Daniel  Radcliffe) were real, we’d half-expect, after all he’s been  through, to turn to his professors and go: “See? You should have listened to me  way back in the first movie!”

Being better than most of us, he does not do this, and anyway, if he did it  would go against the primary metaphor of the books, which is the journey from  boy to man, and the process of coming to grips with the weirdness of the adult  world. Nemesis Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), looking like both a  cancer patient and an overgrown baby gone bad, is less a full-on character in  these movies than an embodiment of the fears of both arrested development and  mortality.

One of the seldom-noted strengths of the Potter films is that, with  the notable exception of Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), they  treat death in a naturalistic fashion. People are casually, brutally dispatched,  and that gets amped up here, with major players biting the bewitched bullet on- and off-screen. Parents should be warned that the PG-13 rating is probably  inappropriate: there is blood and murder aplenty, not to mention a gross  fetus-like monster.

What of everyone’s favorite ambiguously mean teacher, Professor Snape  (Alan  Rickman)? Rest assured he gets the resolution he deserves, while  providing crucial backstory. The movie could have used a bit more of him,  though.

Blink and you may miss quick moments that wrap up the storylines of smaller  supporting staff, though. Take a bathroom break and you may find yourself  without information crucial to understanding the hows and the whys of all these  good and evil wizards hurling energy bolts at each other.

We figure you’ll be glued to the screen, so it won’t be an issue: this is the  summer spectacle you’ve been waiting for.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Readers of the book will remember  a key scene and memorable line between Mrs. Weasley (Julie  Walters) and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena  Bonham Carter). It’s here, but it feels like it made it to the  screen out of obligation. What should have been a stand-up-and-cheer moment is  just something to quickly dispense before cutting back to Harry.