Review – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Saying goodbye is always hard. To soften the blow we try and sugarcoat the situation. When a couple ends a relationship someone might use the line “it’s not you, it’s me” to avoid turning the other person into an instant bunny boiler. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ is the last film in the Harry Potter series and features the final showdown between Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliff) and the evil Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes). The farewell is an emotional one that hardcore Potter fans will enjoy. Sadly, though, the finale isn’t the spectacle the series really deserves, and I feel fans will gloss over the film’s dull points and poor direction in favour of facing the reality that ‘the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ is an average affair.
What works best in ‘the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ is the dazzling makeup and special effects work. All the creatures and magical elements of the film are brought to life and add excitement. This is especially evident during the battle sequences, which dominate the film’s final act and provide many of its standout moments.
Despite the impressive climax, it’s a case of too little too late. The film suffers from a clunky first half that focuses on finishing off story points from ‘Part 1’. It’s the bland calm before the storm. Director David Yates has fumbled a little, especially in failing to build tension as the battle between good and evil unfolds. As soon as the film kicks into its final gear, everything becomes frantic and rushed. Beloved supporting characters are cast aside, tossed away like a pair of old undies. Yates tries to milk emotion from these moments but you’re buggered if you can remember what happened to them in the first place and why you’re supposed to care.
This is a real shame because the series is full of amazing talent including Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, John Hurt, Warwick Davis, Helena Bonham-Carter, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Jason Issacs and Gary Oldman. With all the star power oozing out of the cast, it’s a shame their skills weren’t used to get more of an emotional impact.
Radcliff coasts along nicely as Potter but he’s done that in every film, it would have been great to see him push himself and deliver a more memorable performance. Also, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson don’t have much to work with as Ron and Hermoine. They too are sidelined to some extent, but they still fill out the trio well.
Another missed opportunity is one of the film’s big revelations. A huge bombshell is dropped, but the explanation is convoluted and told in a clunky montage that sifts through the entire series, milking the audience’s memory to make sense of what’s going on that’s a big ask, during a bad sequence.
Ultimately, I think Yates was not the right director to bring the Potter series to an end. I can understand that ‘The Deathly Hallows’ is probably best watched as an entire single film, but I have my doubts as to whether the film could sustain the required momentum. It would have been great for Alfonso Curaon to steer the series home after he directed the franchise’s highlight ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.
‘Deathly Hallows Part 2’ will keep fans happy but it’s not the epic conclusion they will hype it up to be. Fans are always forgiving of the flaws of a beloved series – I lived in denial for years after seeing ‘Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace’, until one day I was confident enough to recognise it as the turd it is.
Goodbye Harry Potter, you peaked early and have been hit and miss since. Unfortunately you didn’t go out with a bang, more like the whiff of a sparkler. I’ll give Warner Brothers 12 months before they announce the reboot. And don’t give me any of that “it’s not you, it’s me” rubbish.
The Popcorn Junkie