MOVIE REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2
This weekend’s debut beat all previous records of a 3-day opening with $168.6M, surpassing even that of my previously reviewed Batman: Dark Knight. Even the midnight showing Friday morning picked up almost $44M.
The Harry Potter books are quite popular and I’ve read them all. They fall into a popular genre of British youth literature — involving boarding schools, houses, sports, dining halls, escaping studies — and adds magic to the mix. But it was Ursula K. LeGuin’s 1968 “A Wizard of Earthsea” series that first introduced to America’s youth literature a school for wizards and in some ways did it better. Nevertheless, J.K. Rowlings is a capable writer and occasionally quite moving in her depictions. She won a Hugo award in 2001 for the book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”. While lacking the literary background and depth of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien — they were Oxford professors of literature after all — her books were satisfying. Rowlings has captured the imagination of a new generation, but a generation that grew up with the World Wide Web.
This last movie culminates a series of movies that started a decade ago and has proven to be the most successful movie series ever, beating franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and even a score of James Bond movies.
Here are some of my favorite highlights:
- Two of our heroes finally kiss
- Special effects. I saw it in 3D and it works. It’s not as dramatic as the recent Transformers 3, but it is still good. The opening with the Warner Brothers “WB logo” flying at you now takes on a special meaning. The charms and spells that surround Hogwart’s take on a shimmering deflector shield appearance. The wand battles reused some effects from previous movies, but adds impressive new ones.
- Molly faces down Bellatrix with “bitch.”
- A really cool dragon, that makes you believe in dragons.
- The rail car ride down to the lower vaults of Gringotts is worthy of becoming a ride at Universal Studios.
- Neville Longbottom, often previously derided, gets to shine with a significant role as the new leader of Dumbledore’s Army at Hogwarts.
- Perhaps the most moving part of the movie is the deliciously wicked Professor Severus Snape, who killed Dumbledore in the previous movie, finally reveals his hidden role.
As the summation of the series, this movie pulls the lose ends together, and in that sense is satisfying. The book does it more satisfyingly still, with many more elements answered in a gratifying way. However, of the series, this is not my favorite movie. My favorite remains “The Goblet of Fire” which I reviewed previously.
- You’ll like it if: You fancy fabulous special effects, adventure, action, magic, snogging heroes
- You won’t if: You’re bothered by movies that don’t stick closely to the book, or are easily frightened
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood culturevulture