Saturday, 23 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 3D

Hallows Goodbye

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 3D 2011 UK/USA
Directed by David Yates
Screening at UK cinemas

Warning: There are going to be some spoilers in this one.

Ok... so if you read my review from earlier in the year of the first part of this final Harry Potter adventure (right here), then you’ll already know my fairly passive relationship with this particular film franchise... but just in case you didn’t read that one... here’s how I stand on the series so far...

Haven’t read the novels. Seen all the movies once at the cinema and not unimpressed with them but less than overwhelmed with them and not that fussed about them... until we came to the last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, which I really liked.

Ok, end of recap of this blogger's Harry Potter reviewing credentials... let’s get down to business.

I’ve been putting off writing this review for a while because I was quite disappointed by it... and I know less than stellar views of hugely popular movies do sometimes tend to attract some negative comments from those film's respective fan bases. I think I probably wouldn’t have been feeling so let down on this one if it wasn’t for the fact that the last one was just so good. Also, for once in a Harry Potter flick, I actually found myself a little lost in terms of just what the heck was going on in this one (for once in this series).

I think that last conclusion is because of my unfamiliarity with both the books and the movies. That's because I don’t repeat view these ones... I tend to see them only once, although I have to admit to now feeling tempted to rewatch the whole lot on DVD (time to raid my parents DVD collection). Two things I have to say about that though, because I am not taking the rap for my lack of interest in the previous movies as being a cause for not bonding emotionally with the source material.

One... it didn’t have a recap at the start! Golly people! Even the old Flash Gordon serials used to have a recap at the start of each episode. Pardon me, Mr. Studio Executive, if I wasn’t fanatical enough about your original product to go out and buy the DVD and obsessively repeat watch it until every last detail of every last frame was ingrained in my memory so I could catch up on your money-spinning franchise. I went in there assuming there’d be one at the start but, instead of that, it just picked off from where it left off and expected you to remember that Harry was linked in his mind to the chief bad guy and that he and his spell casting young friends are trying to destroy camouflaged objects called horcruxes (or some such) which sap away the soul of the prime villain of the series. A recap would have been really useful.

Two... this movie turns into the wizarding equivalent of the second half of Return Of The Jedi about two thirds of the way through. The dark forces are aligned and an army of bad dudes is descending on Hogwarts School, to destroy Potter, and a big battle royale between the forces of darkness and light turn Hogwarts into a ruin of a school as Harry’s pals and colleagues die like flies on the field of battle... trouble is, I didn’t know or remember who any of them were. The names and faces meant next to nothing to me. I’m sure people who are heavily emotionally invested in the series or those who have read (and reread) the books would have had a really big reaction to the deaths on screen as they happened... but honestly, there was one scene where everyone was crying around a corpse and they flashed you a quick image of the dead person’s face and I couldn’t even tell if it was a man or a woman who had been killed, let alone who the character actually was (they didn’t seem to clarify further later on in the film and I’m still yet to find out who the heck died there. Someone please tell me already!).

I reread my review of the last one just now and have to say that I was at least right about two things... Snape wasn’t exactly the bad guy and the last horcrux was actually inside a living person... although I hadn’t actually twigged that this particular person would turn out to be Harry himself (but honestly, if I’d have been on top of my game and watched these movies again I would surely have figured it out before the end game in this installment).

So that’s why I was mainly disappointed with this one... I got kinda bored with it quite a lot and I just didn’t think that it was as cool and dark as the last part (it was the same director... really?) although I know most fans of the series would disagree because of their favourite characters dropping dead left, right and centre.

And then the kicker was, when all is done and dusted, we have a little end sequence which is set 19 years after the events of this one... the main characters are all made up to look a little older... except that the make-up doesn’t really make them look older in any way, shape or form and you end up wondering how these teenage heroes (yeah, I know but teenage in terms of characters they are playing, okay?) can have offspring who are almost as old as they are.

The other folly of this film is that the 3D is awful (it’s a transfer over and not shot in 3D I suspect, right?) and completely unnecessary when you do happen to spot something that looks like it might have entered that eerie third dimension. I’m sick of 3D now... let’s give a big, warm welcome to the return of 2D please.

So there you have it... not the best verdict on the film I could have given perhaps but I still hold a vast admiration for the overall competency and general appeal of the series in general. These are not badly made films people (even this one is still pretty good... despite my complaints) and I’m sure these films will be remembered for a very long time... or at least until Warners decide they want to remake them again... um... purely for artistic reasons, right?

Either way, it doesn’t really matter because Harry Potter fans are going to have a good time with this movie regardless. So if you’re one of them and you still haven’t seen it yet... what are you waiting for?

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