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SPECIAL COVERAGE: 'THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART 2'
Review: 'Deathly Hallows - Part 2' Exciting, Emotional
By Tim Lammers
July 15, 2011
INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & MOVIE NEWS BY TIM LAMMERS
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (PG-13) **** (out of four stars)
With "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2," there's no question J.K. Rowling has saved the best for last. Every bit exciting as it is emotional, fans of the both the books and films should be equally satisfied in what is undoubtedly the best film of the eight-part series.
Picking up where the brilliant "Part 1" left off, "Part 2" finds Lord Voldemort (a menacing Ralph Fiennes) taking possession of the all-powerful Elder Wand from the tomb of Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are continuing their quest for the remaining Horcruxes -- the objects that contain parts of Voldemort's soul that will enable Harry to defeat the Dark Lord.
While most of "Part 1" found Harry, Ron and Hermione on the run, "Part 2" returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in grand fashion.
But when Harry, Ron and Hermione return, they find Dementors watching over a castle that is cast in gloom, with the ominous Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) as its new headmaster. And with Voldemort and his minions -- including Bellatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham Carter), Lucius Malfoy
'Harry Potter' Franchise Wraps Up With Brilliant Final Film
Given the depth and length of the final book, it was a smart move to divide the film into two parts to properly develop the story. There are several key story elements that come full circle in "Part 2," and with the right amount of time at his disposal, director David Yates was able to wrap things up in a meaningful manner.
As readers of the book already know, the last story isn't pretty: More beloved characters die and the tragedies of key characters' pasts are relived in heartbreaking fashion. Particularly moving are the revelations about Snape, who has been played by Rickman with an incredible amount of ambiguity and restraint throughout the entire film series.
While the visual effects are as spectacular as ever in "Part 2," the glue that holds the film together once again is the nuanced script (adapted by Steve Kloves) and the actors that bring it to life. The core trio of Radcliffe, Grint and Watson is as believable as ever, and crucial supporting players like Bonham Carter up the ante.
In fact, in one of the film's most amusing scenes, Bonham Carter perfectly channels Watson as Hermione disguises herself as Bellatrix when she needs to access her bank vault. The scene is proof once again how Bonham Carter is one of the greatest screen actresses living today.
As Bellatrix remains a dominant player in "Part 2," the film also brings back into the fold other players who have gone neglected in the past few films.
Chief among them is Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, who kicks her adversaries in the butt as they try to exercise control over Hogwarts. Matthew Lewis, who's played the affable Neville Longbottom throughout the film series, is also finally given his time to shine as the Potter ally rises to the occasion in the face of adversity. And while Tom Felton doesn't have as much to do with the story as previous installments, he remains impressive in some of the film's most pivotal scenes.
Other character favorites -- some of them deceased -- also return, lending the story a feeling of completeness. The return of Gambon -- the only actor who served as a replacement in the series (after the death of Richard Harris after the second film) -- is crucial in "Part 2," as Dumbledore guides Harry and answers unresolved questions for the young wizard as he confronts his darkest hour.
SPOILER ALERT: Major plot details revealed for those who haven't read the final book.
Perhaps the most emotional scene in "Part 2" comes with the film's epilogue, which finds the key characters 19 years after the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. It's a scene that's sure to make even the most restrained fans of the "Harry Potter" misty-eyed, especially when they come to realize that the book is finally closing on one of the greatest film franchises in movie history. True, countless films have been described as "magical" over the years, but this film series is truly the one that has come to define it.
INTERVIEWS: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2"
Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2."
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" stars Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint.