Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2–Movie Review

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4 Stars

The final movie in the series provides a well-executed and satisfactory conclusion. As expected the bottom line is as follows:

  • If you have seen the 7(!) previous movies then you will definitely want to see this.
  • In the unlikely event that you have read all 7 books but have not seen the movies, you might still be interested in this.
  • If you have neither read all the books nor seen all the movies this is no place to start.

I saw the first movie after reading the first book and decided at that point to skip the remaining books and just watch the movies, avoiding spoilers as much as possible. Thus I went into this movie without knowing how it ended (although I wasn’t exactly expecting to see Voldemort triumphant.) I think this is a useful perspective. I think it is acceptable if a movie requires you to have watched the earlier movies in the series, but if a movie cannot be enjoyed without having read the books on which it is based, this would mean that the movie itself isn’t very good, just a collectable item for obsessed fans of the source material.

By this standard the final movie is acceptable. With some effort I was able to recall what was going on and enjoy the spectacle of a pitched battle between to forces of Good and Evil, followed by an ultimate confrontation between the main hero and villain and a mopping-up operation in which the surviving major characters all got to play important roles.

This movie is actually less child-unfriendly than its immediate predecessors. It’s fairly dark and a lot of people get killed, but there isn’t much explicit gore and we get a final upbeat ending to wrap up the story.

I’m impressed by the fact that the people involved were able to turn this sprawling epic into a movie at all, even if it took 8 movies. Even so a lot of material had to be cut, and some of the earlier movies still seemed rushed. In the end some of the minor characters turned out to be more important than they seemed before, and I think they could have done with a bit more character development.

Perhaps something like this could be best handled as a long TV series of at 35-50 hours–say a 4-year HBO series or a 6-8 cour anime series. That would be pretty expensive though, especially given the smaller audience for such a series. Even with the popularity of Harry Potter, I wonder if it could be financed.