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Friday, 15 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 reviews

It has been nine years, seven months and twenty-nine days since the first Harry Potter film was released, and it's been  nine years, seven months and twenty nine days since my generation found a childhood hero, and friend, in the then eleven year old Daniel Radcliffe. 

And shortly after quarter past two this morning, an entire generations' childhood had a deadly avada kadavra curse cast upon it, killing it almost instantaneously.

The boy who lived is back with his lightening shaped scar for the final part of the franchise. Voldemort is back with a vengeance after gaining access to the fearsome elder wand, a wand that is so powerful, it ensures it's wielder invincibility. Harry, Ron and Hermoine face their biggest challenge yet as they set out to find the remaining horcruxes and destroy them, rendering the "invincible" Voldemort mortal once more.

For the first time since his Harry Potter directing debut, David Yates finally perfected his technique, just in time for the big finale. The grayed out colour palette matched the dark tone of the movie as a whole perfectly, and mirrored the characters despair and their pessimistic attitude towards the idea of ever becoming able to defeat Voldemort. Yates seemed to have found a director's forte, opting for a horror-movie inspired camera tilt when focusing on a character. Watch out for it, that technique is used heavily throughout the film. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Yates had been taking lessons from Tarintino on tension building because it's been a long time since I became so engrossed in not just the character development and enjoyable plot, but the action unfolding on screen and subconsciously measuring the audience's feelings of constant anticipation. It's a quality that Harry Potter films have always seemed to possess, but find difficult to utilise in an effective manner. 
And one more thing, are Zack Snyder's use of extreme close ups during a freeze frame becoming a common occurrence in Hollywood and heavily commercialised films? There were two films that reminded me of Snyder's iconic shot seems to have been heavily replicated within the world of cinema since "Watchmen" was first released. There wasn't a real need to use it in Harry Potter, but it managed to inject some element of humor in an otherwise tense fight scene.

The acting performances were the best that I have seen during the entire franchise. Daniel Radcliffe gave a powerhouse lead performance, with his usual method of acting being joined by a certain raw emotion that was unidentifiable, perhaps it was merely the will to make the last film the best he possibly could, perhaps he felt as though his character needed the extra dimension in such a dark and, what's sure to be, an iconic film. Emma Watson's acting has dramatically improved from the first two movies, with audiences sure to prefer the rebellious bad-ass that Hermoine was beginning to turn into during the last few movies to the know-it-all she was in "...the Philospher's stone". Out of the three main heroes, Rupert Grint had possibly the least lines, but you can bet that he made those lines count. Posing as the comic relief for a majority of the film, Grint ensured the audience were not reduced to puddles of emotional trauma by the end of the two hour film. Ron had brief dealings with grief, which were not explored in much detail, but were subtly handled by Rupert Grint. 

Fiennes reprises his role as Voldemort and proves, once again, that he was born for that role. When he is on the screen, it is not acting, he is Voldemort. He managed to give off an air of desperation and vulnerability without becoming a sympathetic character in the slightest. We hated him, we despised him, but most importantly, we didn't ever doubt that the man we were seeing on screen was anyone else than Voldemort. It wasn't an actor that had patience that knows no bounds and sat for hours upon hours to have his serpent-like transformation into the baddie, it was the man who attempted to kill our hero when he was just a baby over a decade ago, it wasn't a man reading out lines, it was Voldemort's genuine snarls and taunts, filling every audience member with a sense of doom, it wasn't a human on screen, it was a broken, disfigured corpse of a man who sought to be immortal and, above all, feared. Voldemort is without a doubt, one of the best movie villains of our generation and Fiennes should be proud of his performance. Alan Rickman's performance was probably one of the most memorable in the film, the "love to hate" relationship that the world had towards Snape's character was turned on it's head during the course of this movie, making for an emotional, guilt-riddened look back at Snape's life and gave an explanation to why he committed the evil acts that he did. Going on the amount of sniffing and eye-wiping that went on during Snape's pensieve scene alone, I'd say that Rickman's performance was highly believable and sympathetic...
I feel so guilty for hating him.

The script became the definition of "emotional rollercoaster" during it's running time, with members of the audience reaching for the Kleenex near constantly, whether to wipe the tears of sadness or joy from their eyes, depending on the scene that just unfolded before them. The dialogue was witty or thought-provoking, with the Common room scene and "King's Cross Station" scene providing good examples for both respectively. Yates directing coupled with the amazing script made for the "big reveal" to be one of the most shocking film twists in the past few years, despite everyone's previous knowledge of events due to reading the books. I still heard myself gasping when the secrets were coming out, even though I was anticipating it, if that doesn't mark how well made this film was, I have no idea what would convince you.
The sole problem with the script was the near impossibility for viewers who had not watched previous films in the franchise (whether new to the films as a whole or missed out a few along the way) to understand what was going on, however, this was never made for new viewers to enjoy. This was written for Potter fans and Potter fans alone, it always was, and it always should have been.

The special effects in "Deathly Hallows Part 2" were breath-taking and highly realistic, with the sole exception of the broomstick effects, in which the actor/green screen combo were easily identifiable. Other than that, the special effects were seriously flawless. 

Although we saw the film in 2D, I could see a real potential for the 3D technology to be employed during the course of the film. I'd be tempted to say go see it in 3D for the Gringrotts scene alone, as it plays out as a rollercoaster on which the audience "ride" (much like the minuscule part during "Despicable Me" in which the kids ride the rollercoaster and the camera looks as though it is attached to the front of the cart, but on a much larger scale).  

To some, it may be a tiny little detail, but the long anticipated kiss between Ron and Hermione has been the cause of concern for many fans, as is often the case with a franchise such as Harry Potter. I don't want to ruin it, but let's just say, Yates does it in such a manner that it doesn't seem at all cheesy and it isn't disappointing.

Basically, If you've seen any of the previous films, you absolutely need to go and see the final part.

It's the perfect ending to a fantastic series of films... J.K Rowling should be proud.

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