Harry Potter 7: Part 2 (2011) – Money in the bank.
When we last left The Boy Who Lived, I was all in a bitchy uproar that they decided to split the final film. Warner Brothers claimed it was because there just was so much good stuff, it’d be improper for them to do otherwise. I said that was b.s. and it was all about the money. Now having seen the completed portion of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, I can further confirm that I was the one who was right, not that it really matters now.
What I can’t believe is that even in the second half of the film, it seemed like they simply didn’t not know how to pace themselves correctly. Maybe they feel other things were just more important, I dunno. I could spend all the rest of this night and probably a full week trying to tell you how I would have done it differently. But to do so would give too many spoilers than I’m comfortable with. However, as one example, I would have excised so much of the mindless forest hiding out in Part One and put the sequence from Gringots from Part Two in its place. That would have given that first movie a bit more excitement -and- gave them more time to focus on the hurried events towards the end of this concluding piece of cinimatic history.
Most reviewers are taking this opportunity to gush about how amazing everything’s turned out with this series. They love how the whole lot of films got produced with the same cast, spanning many years with different directors, and now that all the cards have been shown, we simply have one long 8 film epic fantasy film that should be given the highest accolades and honors. But, I protest that movie critiquing doesn’t work that way. No matter that this is the conclusion of a two-part film that shouldn’t have been separated in the first place still stands in my book.
Yes, the battle over Hogwarts involving so many of our beloved characters is pretty darn close to perfect. With so much kinetic energy sown into this one moment, it really had to deliver and it so very much did. I felt peril. I felt a strong lurching in my chest that I was being pulled along at a rapid clip. Perhaps it was because we’d been dilly dallying around for so long. Or maybe, like Harry, I was ready for the end to come. And yet, even in the midst of moving from one grandstanding moment to the next, director David Yates continues to fail me. Many heartfelt and powerful moments become more like blink-and-you’ll-miss-them after thoughts in narrative. Major things are happening to people not named Harry Potter that fans of this series care desperately for, and we’ve been brought all this way, often spending far too much time repeating the same mantras: isolation, sense of purpose, fate/destiny. And yet we can’t give these other moments just a bit longer to spend in the forefront?
No. We have to rehash it all. And I mean everything from the very beginning as Harry spends some time in a scene very reminiscent of Neo visiting with The Architect in the much maligned Matrix Reloaded. Fortunately however, this incredibly lame scene where all is revealed to the most inept audience member is counterbalanced with a lengthy sequence giving the entire history from Severus Snape’s point of view. While technically a flashback, it also ends up being one of the best parts of not only this Harry Potter film, but maybe of the last three. Also of note, it seems that Daniel Radcliffe’s acting ability has started to far surpass everyone around him. While most are just chewing scenery, he seems, for what may be the first time, really coming across AS Harry Potter who has experienced all of these things.
I guess what I’m saying is that Harry Potter’s ending is much like a giant ship bobbing up and down on the ocean filled with many dangers, and I don’t think that David Yates was the right tugboat for the job. He might of gotten us into harbor and home, but we’ve seriously wrecked most of the rigging, the franchise, and other boats in the process. Essentially, it’s a satisfying end as the story is finally given its theatrical so long, but I think a better job could have been done and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 does little to improve on that. We haven’t gone into outstanding territory again, more like, just marginally better than it was when we were back at Order of the Phoenix and it was his first try at the series.
This is it: the end of a saga, a massive undertaking that has resulted in so much screen-time, some new stars, Harry Potter becoming a household name, and a disgusting amount of money. Part 1 was equally hated by Queer and The Fat Man, although I didn’t think quite deserved an F. Part 2 supposedly had more fighting and action, but I am always skeptical.
I had honestly forgotten how the last movie ended. Hint: somebody/thing died. And it’s not the last time in the two-parter. While deaths seemed shocking early on in the series of movies, the body count piled up pretty fast as the movie seemed to have no regard for the characters you loved and adored. I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t like the movie. One of the main reasons was the offhanded manner in which deaths occurred, often as a side note or in the background. If you spend 7 (and a half?) movies molding characters in to either well loved or completely hated, you can give them 2 minutes on-screen to have a proper exit.
The poor pacing that plagued Deathly Hallows, Part 1 continued in Part 2 with mix of frantic scenes that seemed to be trying to keep the runtime down followed by moments that dragged on for eternity. What ever happened to building towards a climax? They do a superb job of setting up tension with the attack on Hogwarts by a huge army, but keep interrupting the action with flashbacks and other, less exciting locations. While those were pivotal to telling a complete story, their placement completely derailed any excitement and flow.
Some high points of the film do include the battle scenes – magic hasn’t looked this good since The Covenant! Those battles only accentuated the slow parts and made me wonder why there weren’t more scenes like that in the previous 18 hours of movie. Also very good was a lot of the acting from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, as well as a lot of the more seasoned cast members. Or maybe they just seemed amazing in comparison to Rupert Grint, who has at this point become even more of a bumbling clown that he’s lost all dimensions from earlier films.
Overall, the charming, interesting plot lines that started in the first few films has become a tangled mess that only confused me and left me with more questions than the flashbacks and long conversations could explain. I’ll completely agree with Queer: this was a pure greed move on the part of the studios. Part 2 could have easily been pared down and shown with a cleaned up Part 1 and not insulted audiences with promises of a better ending this way. At least it’s all over, until Rowling decides to write the next big children’s hit series that will be successful regardless of its quality.
The Fat Man gives this movie: