Weekend Review – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two”

Harry Potter’s final (currently planned) adventure has hit the big screen. The box office response is undeniably positive, but this early, that says more about a movie’s level of anticipation than its quality.

Cast and Crew Information

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort / Tom Riddle
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood
Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley
Warwick Davis as Griphook / Filius Flitwick
John Hurt as Ollivander
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
Kelly MacDonald as Helena Ravenclaw
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy
Helen McCrory as Narcissa Malfoy
Ciaran Hinds as Aberforth Dumbledore
Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom
Devon Murray as Seamus Finnigan
Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown
Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley
Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn
Miriam Margolyes as Pomona Sprout
Gemma Jones as Madam Pomfrey
George Harries as Kingsley Shacklebolt
Davis Thewlis as Remus Lupin
Julie Walters as Molly Weasley
Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley
James Phelps as Fred Weasley
Oliver Phelps as George Weasley
Chris Rankin as Percy Weasley
David Bradley as Argus Filch
Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks
Emma Thompson as Sybil Trelawney
Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter
Adrian Rawlins as James Potter
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black

Written by Steve Kloves (screenplay) and J.K. Rowling (novel)
Directed by David Yates


After compressing the last minute of the previous film into the first 20 seconds by way of a recap, we dive right back into the trio’s hunt for horcruxes.

High Point

The supporting cast really come into their own, particularly Neville Longbottom and Minerva McGonagall.

Low Point

The lack of a recap. While this edit will be great for the inevitable marathons when viewed at home, several people in line commented before going in that they hadn’t seen part one since opening night for that title, and could only vaguely recall where the story left off.

The Review

It’s hard to feel original when you’re adapting the second half of a book after adapting the first half already. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects are extremely well done. The companies responsible (Baseblack, Cinesite, Double Negative, Framestore, Gener8 3D, Gradient Effects, Lola Visual Effects, Mova, Moving Picture Company, Peanut FX, Prime Focus Film, Rising Son Pictures, The Base Studio, Tippett Studio, Union Visual Effects, the Visual Effects Company and i.e. Effects) orchestrated extremely well, with a variety of effects that worked extremely well. The coda was particularly impressive, given how poorly that same effect has been done in other films lately. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is much more coherent than I expected. Those of us who read the books noticed that the ultimate resolution in the novels depended upon scenes never filmed for the first five films. They streamlined the resolution to my satisfaction, maintaining the spirit of the source material while forsaking details as necessary. I’m quite impressed with how they kept it all together this time around. (See “Goblet of Fire” for the opposite example.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is great. This is a huge cast, but they are filled with strong actors with considerable experience in their roles. The adult cast is populated with great actors as well. In the end, it all shows. I don’t see actors, I see their characters, and with a cast this recognizable, that says a lot. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is solid. It should be noted that I saw the 2D edition, and was glad I did so. It’s dark enough as is; I sincerely hope the 3D edition was digitally remastered to compensate, or it will be difficult to make out a lot of the details. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is excellent, but that may only because I’ve been following the series from the start. There was no time spent getting you up to speed on the characters or on why Voldemort is the villain. I loved it, but first time viewers may not. (At the eighth entry in a series this popular, that’s an entirely valid production decision.) I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, I’d say the final chapter in the Harry Potter saga is probably the strongest chapter. If you’ve seen the first seven, check this one out ASAP. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 receives 37 out of 42.

3 replies on “Weekend Review – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two””

  1. I saw it in 3D, and there is absolutely no reason to do so. It added nothing to the experience…

  2. We saw it in regular 2-D, and I cannot recall any scenes that particularly suggested 3-D.

    They made use of the enormous cast, and the story followed along nicely– but we had just watched part one on DVD. A good example is Maggie Smith. “I’ve always wanted to use that spell” is a rather silly bit of comic relief, but because you have a strong actor playing an actual character, it reads very well.

    The effects served the story without cluttering the screen. A certain prequel trilogy would have benefited from similar handling of large cast, effects, and so forth.

    Even if you haven’t read the last book, you’ll likely see a certain twist at the ending coming from a mile away.

    I would agree with the final assessment of the review; this is the strongest installment, but it would be confusing if you haven’t seen or read the others.

  3. I couldn’t tell you when I was looking at a CGI’d scene and when it was actual location. Didn’t even think about it much until I got out.

    Says something for how well they put this Harry Potter together. Definitely the best one.

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