#240 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

From 638,224 votes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has an 8.1/10 rating from the users of IMDb.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione search for Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.
I was actually quite surprised that this is the only Harry Potter movie that made it to the top 250 list, considering the massive cultural influence the Harry Potter series has had over the past two decades. If it had to be any though it’s fitting that it’s the last one that closed the series. If it were any but this or Philosopher’s Stone it would just be odd. I guess they can’t all be Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.
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I’ve never considered myself a full Potterhead, but I was and I guess still am a big fan of the series. I get that visceral ‘oomph’ in my stomach when I hear the theme tune and parts of the movies do get me very emotional. I used to watch the movies over and over, and going to the cinema with my mother on opening night was a grand tradition for us. Plus it gave me a crush on Rupert Grint which stands to this very day. It was an influence on my, and I know many others’, lives. This movie was the end of a story that many children of my generation grew up with and identified with during their formative years. It’s significant.
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As that little quote up top says, this movie follows Harry, Ron and Hermione’s final adventure, which is collecting the last Horcruxes (reminder: objects that Voldy put some of his soul into which gives him eternal life and) and destroying them. This would let them kill Voldemort once and for all. The story begins at the end of Part 1, and gives us a nice little tug on our hearts as we see Dobby’s tombstone within the first minute of the movie. They tumble through some familiar locales before ending up at Hogwarts, where most of the action takes place. A far cry and a welcome change from Part 1, which seemed to be mostly Harry Potter And Friends Goes Camping.
Something I particularly liked about this movie: Professor McGonagall proves time and time again why she is the best teacher at that damn school. Full stop. I think I read somewhere that she becomes the headmistress of Hogwarts after this movie which is cool. This is probably something learned from Pottermore though, and we all know how bluntly Rowling wields the canon hammer now that the books and movies are done. I.e. who cares. I digress: Maggie Smith is a legendary actor and her moments in this film though sparse, are totally enjoyable. Seeing her jump to Harry’s defence against Snape at the beginning is heartwarming, I genuinely get choked up a bit every time. And seeing her delight at being able to summon statues as Hogwarts’s defenders is just that, delightful.
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The supporting cast in general is fantastic. With so many characters accrued over the last six school years they had a lot to work with, and giving them all something to do in a movie that comes in under two hours is no mean feat. Everyone seems to be exhibited at least once. There’s a glaring lack of fan-favourite Hagrid for most of the movie though. I understand he’s a bit tied up but I swear Fleur got more meaningful screentime than him. Oh well. The movie’s use of the ensemble cast (even if it’s just to kill some of them off) is pretty admirable.
Let’s talk about imagery, and metaphors, and allegories. Rowling is renowned for her use of pretty obvious parallels to history. The dark wizards are nazis, lycanthropy equals HIV and Hermione is a communist blah blah blah. In this movie specifically, there is a great deal of panic, chaos and sadness that seems to want to clunk on the heads whilst saying “this is war, dummy”. We have that infamous gratuitous shot of Lavender Brown lying dead on the ground and the mid-battle grief scene where we’re subjected to shot after shot of dead character. I get that it’s supposed to convey the horrors of war, but it’s just a bit much, I feel. That we don’t see how they die is effective though, showing the chaos of the ordeal at the very least.
It sounds like I didn’t enjoy the film. I did, but there are just some things I didn’t enjoy. The whole “let’s turn everything on its head and redeem Snape in ten minutes” thing was cheap to me. The man was a callous bully no amount of low-pixel gifs with a fancily fonted ‘Always’ is going to change my mind. Not every villain has to be redeemed. Now Draco, he was handled a lot better. He has many flashes of not being such a bad person, of being a product of his father’s upbringing and the dark environment in which he is stuck. He is a complex, interesting and sometimes sympathetic character. Snape is a wet fish who harbours a grudge so deep and so long it strides right into the territory of ‘unrealistic even for a fantasy’. And don’t get me started on how Voldemort’s personality in the films is just “i wanna live 4eva and kill all who say i shudn’t” and that he’s basically a plot device instead of a full character in many cases.
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All in all, honestly, the film is fab. The action scenes are done brilliantly, the acting is mostly great with some absolute standouts (Alan Rickman addressing the students is chilling as fuck) and that lump in your throat as the shot of Harry, Ron and Hermione in the epilogue slowly fades to black will stay there for days. I’m looking forward to where Fantastic Beasts ends up going.
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One thought on “#240 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

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