Saturday, July 16, 2011
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2: The end of Pottermania?
When the final book of the Harry Potter series was released four years ago I was eager to read it and find out what happens to the magical wizard, but at the same time, I didn't want it to end. I had treasured this world for years, and wanted it to keep going. I took solace in knowing that there were still movies to come, which extended my potterworld for four more years. That extension has now passed as Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 hits theatres this weekend.
I am not an uber Potter Nerd, more like a fond geek. I skipped the midnight screening, much too old for such things, as I would have fallen asleep during the previews. Instead, I went to a Friday matinee. It's much more pleasant that way as it tends not to be sold out. I had my drink and my M&M's and was ready to be transported. I had gone into this film with high expectations, maybe too high, hence why I was slightly disappointed. That doesn't mean that I didn't like the film. I just wanted some of the things to be different. At times, things felt rushed, despite its two hour running time.
Part 2 picks up where the other one ended, and this finale is action packed with barely a moment to breathe. But don't fret. There were still quiet moments, reflection, and a bit of kissing to be done. Harry, Hermione, and Ron find themselves back at Hogwarts to find the final horcruxes and to do battle with Voldermort's followers. In this world there are way more baddies than goodies. Hence why the film is so jam packed.
There might be some SPOILER talk, but I will warn you about it...
The battle sequences are brilliantly done. They look real, and if wand combat were an actual thing then I'm sure it would look exactly like the ones in the film. The CGI was top notch, and didn't feel fake (SPOILER WARNING: Except for the silly CGI at the end when they aged the characters. It could have been better done, but also it could have been worse. The biggest highlight was Ron's potbelly. haha SPOILER ENDING).
The big set pieces are pretty much limited to two places, Gringotts Bank and Hogwarts. The bank sequence is a fun ride as Harry, Hermione and Ron set out to find a horcrux, and along the way get into trouble and release an imprisoned dragon. (Hermione is after, all still, an advocate for magical animal rights). Once we get back to Hogwarts where the new headmaster, Snape, has created a Nazi like atmosphere, things really heat up and don't cool down under the final embers fade amongst the ruins of the school.
I expected to bawl like a baby during the film, as I tend to be an emotional mess most of the time, but perhaps over the years, my cold, cold heart has finally turned into coal. Except, there is some hope for me, as I did get teary eyed during Snape's demise and how all was revealed about his motives and his true love for Lily Potter (Harry's mother). Unrequited love sucks, but at the same time, it can turn any cold hearted slytherin into an emotional pile of goo. Alan Rickman is a genius and has been a great Snape, if a bit too old to play the character. (SPOILER WARNING: His CGI'd cheeks during the flashback scene were a bit jarring. SPOILER ENDING)
I haven't read the book in years, so some of my memories of what happened on the page are blurry, but I do know that I was more emotionally struck by reading the book than watching the film. (SPOILER TALK: I felt that the deaths of certain characters during the battle scenes were overlooked and weren't given their due respect and time. SPOILER ENDING) That being said, I was still invested in our hero's journey and was absolutely delighted by Ron and Hermione's hand holding as they finally became a couple. (SPOILER TALK: The kiss between them was good and sweet, but Ron's giant head was in the way of the whole thing. SPOILER ENDING) I will say that Ron and Hermione have way more chemistry than Harry and Ginny. Poor Ginny comes across as just so wooden. Not sure if that's an actor's choice or just her personality.
I may have to see the film again, and this time just go in with no expectations, and let the potterworld transport me to somewhere else, and leave my opinions on how I would have made the film at the door. The film is a success. It's a true testament to how much love and dedication that the entire cast and crew has given to this production. A labor of love for a decade, and if JK Rowling approves then that's all right with me. I'll always be a fan, and the potterworld will live on with old and new fans. I'll continue to watch the films throughout the years, and I'll even reread the books someday. And I know I'll get my butt down to Florida and visit the Harry Potter themepark and have myself a few glasses of butterbeer. Mmmmm, butterbeer.
Skip the 3D versions. 2D is perfect just as it is. I hear the film's stock is already dark, so the 3D conversion just makes it darker and muddier. With the 3 bucks you save by seeing the 2D, you can then buy yourself some Harry Potter memorabilia instead.