Opening 14 Jul 2011
Writing credits: Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling
Principal actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman
After seven books, seven films, and several billion dollars worth of international box office revenues, the Harry Potter saga finally comes to an end with the eighth film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Director David Yates (who also directed films five, six and seven) brings author J.K. Rowling's epic tale to a fitting close, filled with everything from gigantic battles to poignant memories. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 picks up right where Part 1 left off, with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) still searching for the final Horcruxes – objects that contain bits of Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) soul – in order to destroy them. Soon, the inevitable battle between Voldemort's Death Eaters and the remaining witches and wizards at Hogwarts draws closer. Will Harry and his friends survive?
Thankfully, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a very satisfying end to the films that have been made from the Potter books over the past ten years. It is remarkable to look back at the first Potter film and see Radcliffe, Watson and Grint as their ten-year-old selves, then to see how far they (and the film series) have come. Director Yates does a good job of allowing scenes to subtly acknowledge this history that much of the audience brings with them when they view the film (the final scene before the epilogue is especially powerful for that very reason, as is the epilogue). It's also fun to see the who's who of British actors who have been part of this series come back for final scenes. The visual effects in this installment are the best of the series, as is the acting. The only element not up to par is the pacing: at just over two hours, this film is the shortest of the series, yet the first section of the film seems very rushed. Also, there is absolutely no summary of what has come before, so viewers not familiar with the prior films or the books will be completely lost (be sure to at least watch Part 1 first!).
Reading the Harry Potter books and watching the films as each came out has been part of many fans' lives for the past fourteen years. What will we do now that the saga has come to a close? The online world of Pottermore is set to launch in October 2011, and the Part 2 DVD will likely be out before Christmas, but never again will we have the thrill of reading or watching for the "first time." For that reason, this reviewer shed many a tear during the finale, but I will always be grateful for the many hours I spent in Harry's world. Until we meet again Harry, "mischief managed." (Kirsten Greco)