Thursday, July 21, 2011

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ – The long kiss goodbye!

I am betting that by the time this makes the paper – you will have seen ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’; nearly the entire globe has seen it, pushing it to an astounding $220 million in ticket sales as of this writing (July 21st). So, this review is really a testament to the sheer weight of producing 8 films, all of equal if not greater than the one before it, quality. Consider the other film series that set the tone: ‘Star Wars’ – while the first three set a pretty high standard, the following three ‘prequels’ failed to live up to the expectations and felt more like money grab. The ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy were high caliber and outstanding; but it was only 3 movies as opposed to 8.

For 8, yes, count them 8, films to maintain such a degree of high quality and expectations, is an achievement in itself. Let’s not also forget, the entire cast remained for all 8 films (with the exception of Richard Harris who passed away). Not a small task, especially when your star is rising and your worth (as an actor) begins to surpass the role. And even from director to director, the movies remained consistent in quality as well as storytelling. This surely helped to maintain the story as well as the interest of movie goers around the globe.

‘Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ is a brilliant, exciting and very satisfying finish to the Potter series, with a fantastic mix of action, darkness, humor and heroism the film brings final and complete closure to a story that we have been immersed in for the better part of 11 years.
The dark, grown up tone established in ‘Part 1’ continues as the final chapter unfolds. Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) and his gang of evil wizards are in control of the Ministry of Magic, Hogwarts and soon the rest of the world. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is now the headmaster of Hogwarts; parallels to Nazi Germany and Communist paranoia abound in the story as the Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) are hunted down before they can locate the remaining Horcruxes that could defeat Voldermort. Eventually, Harry, Hermione and Ron sneak back into Hogwarts to lead the revolt that spells the eventual downfall of Voldermort.

The final battle of good and evil delivers just the thrills, courage and sacrifice that we have come to expect. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, director Peter Yates delivers! However, since the film itself is dark (to match the somber mood), I would avoid the extra cost of viewing it in 3D as it will not transfer as well. That being said – it is beautiful enough and spectacular enough to warrant a showing on an IMAX screen (of which New Lenox now has!).

The Harry Potter series has always been about the goodness within us; the ability to reach out to and count on friends. It has been about banding together for the greater good and placing the needs of many in front of the needs of a single person. It has been about self sacrifice and the power of love; it has been about wonder and the childlike joy it can bring to those open to it. And, more importantly, it is about reaching for and accomplishing your dreams.

While saying good-bye to the Harry Potter series may be difficult, the final 4 star chapter of the story serves to fill us with a lasting sense of joy and wonder. While I don’t think the studio will let this financial juggernaut die, I am hoping they maintain the very high bar they have set!

No comments: