The tagline for the last instalment of Warner Bros. Harry Potter film franchise, “It all ends” seems appropriately fitting for what 10 years after the release the first film, ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, feels like an exhaustingly prolonged annual stay on our cinema screens.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of both the books and the numerous directors’ attempts to translate their magic onto the big screen, with (it must be said) varying levels of success. However, on first hearing that the last book, ‘The Deathly ‘ the compelling finale to this thoroughly satisfying piece of fiction was to be split into two parts, I couldn’t help but twinge slightly and what was clearly an understandable economically viable decision, yet one that would go on to hurt the final product.
Part one of ‘The Deathly Hallows’ found our protagonist’s spending far too long hidden in the forest like a magic guerrilla movement was extremely poorly lit throughout the picture (despite obvious tonal intentions) and only got going predictably, towards the end. I understand this is because the book itself takes its time to establish tension and suspense before the climactic finish to the saga ensues.
However, by making a film so devoid of any real substantial action, it put a lot of pressure upon its counterpart, to deliver the satisfying action and climatic emotional moments Rowling conveyed so well within the final book.
‘The Deathly Hallows –Part 2” achieves this task with some success, however, also with some significant misgivings too. The film succeeds greatly in reinvigorating the franchise and provides extremely satisfying moments of both drama and spectacle alike. It was hard to imagine an unsatisfying conclusion to the franchise however, considering the core material of this final chapter being so strong. Even those with a basic knowledge of Potter folklore, will have anticipated the long awaited confrontation between good and evil, light and darkness, the boy that lived and Voldermort himself.
The film follows the film’s familiar protagonists Ron, Hermione and Harry on their quest to find and destroy the remaining ‘horcruxes’ – the concealed pieces of Voldermort’s soul hidden away to prevent him from ever being killed entirely.
The sense of urgency within this film is palpable, as Voldermort has acquired the Elder (most powerful) wand and there is little time left before he confronts and attempts to kill Harry once and for all. These added sense of stakes create a growing sense of excitement and suspense in every scene, providing the film with a far greater deal of emphasis that was sometimes found sorely lacking in previous films.
Though the love stories of Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione are continued, culminating in the long awaited kiss between the latter pair, these plots are instantly subordinate to the timeless struggle between good and evil that has raged throughout the entire franchise. In fact the kiss between Grint and Watson, comes across as incredibly anti-climatic in the end with surrounding special effects distracting viewer greatly, from what, in the book is a fairly impactful moment of subplot.
Overall this instalment is charming, exciting, suspenseful and incredibly well designed, with some outstanding set pieces, the most exceptional of these being set within the extraordinary bank Gringott’s.
So “It All Ends” and indeed it needed to, however, part two of “The Deathly Hallows” provides a fitting end to an always-engrossing film adaptation of such a dearly beloved story.