HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART II
Directed by David Yates
Don’t play this game. You know what the cast is.
It’s that time of the year again. Everyone’s favorite maltreated orphan is gracing the silver screen again, along with his sidekicks. One dumb but loyal, the other brilliant yet annoying. It’s as far removed from the light-hearted and innocent Philosopher’s Stone as possible. Something tells me that if you had screened the last 3 movies in this series to the 11 year old Harry, he would have happily stayed under the stairs for the rest of his life.
The last review we did was for Transformers 3, and those who have read that review will know we did not take kindly to Michael Bay’s latest assault on the senses. Deathly Hallows II is, in more ways than one, the anti-Transformers; a movie that exploits it’s special effects to the hilt without sacrificing it’s story or characters.
The main cast is predictably solid, but it’s the supporting cast that steals the show. While the young guns yell and scream and point wooden sticks everywhere, legends like Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes capture attention just by being there.
Hogwarts has changed from the brightly lit, mesmerizing amusement park of the initial films. The cinematography and setwork is impeccable; it sets the tone for the entire film. The hallways are abandoned and draped in shadows, and it seems like all life has been drained from the castle. Amidst all the doom and gloom, you have special effects that take on a personality of their own. The monsters inspire genuine fear and the flying spells are a marvel to behold. But the characters are always more vivid than the effects.
David Yates’ film can boast of an achievement that few modern war films can: the ebb and flow of the climactic battle is always well ordered and easy to follow. Despite the chaotic energy of the second half, the action is always coherent and you never struggle to understand what’s happening. Unlike some other films I know. Alan Rickman’s performance is priceless, there’s really no other way to put it. I’ve always admired his diction; the malice he puts behind words with a straight face is amazing. When he said “I invite them to step forward now.”, I almost died. Later in the film, when his motivations and backstory is explained, his face rarely changes. It doesn’t need to. He can convey more with a glance and a shift of his eyebrows than others could do with the best written lines. It would not surprise me if he receives Oscar consideration.
All in all, the franchise now has a worthy ending, and these films will join the likes of Star Wars and The Lord Of The Rings in the eyes of public memory. This installment is all set to break box office records everywhere, although a certain caped crusader might have something to say about that next year.
RATING (OUT OF FIVE)