27 April 2013

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two"

Rated: PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson
Released: July 15, 2011 (theatrical) / November 11, 2011 (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Synopsis: In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates to an all-out war.  The stakes have never been higher, and no one is safe...but it is Harry who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort.  It all ends here.
(Adapted from the back cover of the single-disc DVD)

Plot: 4.5/5
I have to be honest; Deathly Hallows was by far my least favorite of the Harry Potter books.  When I read it, it seemed like Ms. Rowling simply rushed through it so she could say, "Here; it's done! Now leave me alone!"  That was mostly due to the writing style, and the makers of this movie deserve kudos for finding an actual compelling story in that mess.  As emotionally gripping and intense as it is, some mildly inane parts--heaven looking like a train station?--keep it from being perfect in this department.

Production Values: 5/5
Just like the original Star Wars trilogy, the Harry Potter films are meant to be involving while being a feast for the eyes, and this one was just that and then some.  The special effects and action sequences were spot-on; the actors all did amazingly; and, frankly, I can't think of a single complaint in this department!

Moral Content: 3.5/5
Everybody knows about the usage of magic in this series, so, I'm not even going to bother discussing that.  However, I will say that this movie is quite intense and a bit scary.  Beloved characters die.  A man is attacked by a snake.  A school building is torn to pieces.  People regularly get their faces and arms bloodied.  Voldemort's mere presence is frightening.  That's really about all I can say without spoiling the movie.  In other areas, there were a few "PG"-level profanities, and a little bit of kissing among the kids.  On the positive side, there are themes of heroism, loving your enemies, giving up power for the greater good, and one man's sacrifice to save many people.  I would suggest taking the "PG-13" seriously in this case, especially if you plan to watch it on a big screen.

Conclusion: I was a bit late to the "Boy who Lived" party, but I had read all of the books before Deathly Hallows was published, and I still found it disappointing.  This movie version of the last half of that novel, though, was quite exhilarating.  Anyone who has followed the saga up to this point, even if you've just watched the movies, should definitely check this one out, no matter how you felt about the book.

Score: 4.25/5

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