Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Potter-Palooza: “Harry Potter 7, Part 2” Review

How do you review a film like this? Do you look at it simply as a film in itself? If you do that, you short change what the movie is trying to do. However, if you look at it only as the final installment of a long-running franchise, there is the potential to lose objectivity. In my remarks, I decided to split the difference.

So, what does that mean for this entry? For starters, it was far and away better than the preceding film (which is actually the first half the the story being told this time around). Because we are starting midway through a story, there really isn’t much of a beginning in the truest sense. However, screenwriter Steven Kloves is able to immediately push the characters onto a journey that springboards into the rest of the film. This is an impressive feat as the disorientation factor of someone coming into this movie cold (which, God knows why anyone actually would). From there, the story moves, and director David Yates doesn’t allow it to slow down. Honestly, I was surprised at how swift the pace was considering many of the previous Potter films have moments where you are checking your watch.

The acting in the film, as usual, is top notch. Daniel Radcliffe, in particular, gives such a nuanced performance that, baring any substance abuse breakdown which many child actors succumb to, I believe he will be one of the most celebrated actor of his generation. I realize that is high praise, but I firmly believe he can do it.

Another highlight are the action sequences. For me, it has been a while where we have had a huge, epic-scale battle sequence with multiple players doing multiple things. The last thing that comes to mind that was on this level are the Lord of the Rings films. Hollywood just doesn’t do those as much anymore, and it was great to see one again and wonderfully done. Additionally, it was also nice to see some one-on-one fight sequences where we could understand what was going on as opposed to needless quick edits which have become all the rage lately.

That said, there are some elements that don’t quite work. Some of the death scenes are a little surprising. Many of the characters who die do so off-screen. But the ones we do see killed come off disturbingly. Besides one of Draco’s (Tom Felton) cronies (who has been around for seven movies) being killed offhandedly and no one reacting, I was somewhat put off by the death of minor character Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave). She was best know as Ron’s over-the-top girlfriend in the sixth movie. Here, we see her being killed by being eaten at the neck. The camera work is tastefully done, but for what was such a cheery and goofy character, it was quite the gruesome death.

Another problem I had was that some of the magic that was connected with the (spoiler) defeat of Voldemort and the usage of how wands work was poorly explained or explained too quickly for it to absorb. The film could have benefited from a little more explanation on this, even if it was done in a throwaway fashion.

Finally, I felt that some of the monsters in the film looked a little cartoony. Given that the rest of the effects in the film were fantastic, this struck me as odd. Then again, this might have been a deliberate move as many of the CGI creatures in the earlier films had a bit of a cartoony look to them. Perhaps it was a move to keep it consistent.

As you can probably gather, as a movie, Deathly Hallows, Part 2 does not disappoint. But, how does it work as the end of the Harry Potter series? I think it works very well. As I alluded to earlier, if you are going into this movie without seeing any of the other ones, you are going to be totally lost. If you have followed the series, then you get a lot of payoff. This felt like an epic conclusion. I also appreciated as every major and minor character got their moment to shine (including characters who had previously died), and that viewers were able to revisit many of the major set pieces featured in the previous films. It was a great way to connect everything together. In short, I was happily satisfied with the conclusion.

So, that’s it. The end. The book series is done (probably), and the movie series is one that won’t be remade (well, anytime soon, at least). This movie series has been going since 2001. It is a bittersweet moment as this past decade has been dominated by these films and we, as viewers, have basically watched the young stars as they grew up. It is somewhat strange to think that there will be no more. Whatever my qualms with the series, to pull off this series with the level of dedication and quality that the filmmakers did over the past ten years is amazing and somewhat unprecedented. I congratulate them on a job well done.

This also concludes Potter-Palooza.  Thanks for the, at most, two people who joined me this past week.  If you want us to do future “events”, drop us a line at znculturecast@gmail.com.

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One response to “Potter-Palooza: “Harry Potter 7, Part 2” Review

  1. Pingback: Friday Five: Five Favorite Films of 2011 « The Culture Cast with Zack and Nick

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