Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
Directed by: David Yates
Running time: 130 minutes
Right, I can already tell this is going to be a long one so let’s just skip my introduction and go straight into it! I will however put a HUGE SPOILER WARNING here as I do plan to go into major details of the plot, but I’m assuming that’s not a problem since I would say you probably either have already seen the film/read the book/don’t really care.
Now Showing this week is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, directed by David Yates (who directed most of the Harry Potter films), and is the conclusion to the ten years in the making franchise. I guess I am now able to say: about bloody time! Don’t get me wrong, I liked Harry Potter in the beginning (mainly the books, some of the films); but I found that after the book The Prisoner of Azkaban that I was finding little nitpicks with books and after The Order of the Phoenix I was just outright bored with them. I remember reading The Half-Blood Prince one night and putting it down for the night to suddenly notice I was two hundred pages from the end and nothing had really happened! So I guess for me I was done with Harry Potter after my disappointment with the sixth book and that was a long time ago back in 2005. So after six years, I’m happy the rest of the world can move on too.
I suppose I should place a quick plot premise here: Harry, Ron and Hermione are still trying to locate the last of the Horcruxes (objects that contain the fragments of villain Lord Voldemort’s soul) so they can end the conflict between the good guys and the Death Eaters before they completely trash Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They are in a race against time as they must defeat Voldemort before he can gain the complete power of the Elder Wand (the most powerful wand in the world, and one of the three Deathly Hallows). Gigantic battle ensues.
Now, given what I’ve said earlier, I’m not saying that the films are terrible because they aren’t. They are watchable, they are good fun with some witty script work but their main appeal is the special effects. And this film had them in force! The battle sequences were breath taking, and a refreshing viewing of colours rather than simple browns and explosions. Here there are greens, reds, blues and many, many other spell colours flying through the air and causing much carnage. So, props to the visual effects department, they earned their stripes with this one.
The acting in these films has also been top notch. I know a lot of people had issues with the actors because they didn’t fit their dream imagining of the characters from the novels; but (as an actor myself) I’ve got to hand it to Daniel Radcliffe for undertaking the challenge of portraying one of the most beloved characters in history and coming out the other side with a solid performance. That takes a lot of confidence and skill and he should be congratulated on that. In fact, most of the main characters should be.
However, as I have said earlier, I had some issues with the last two books, especially the last one. There were some things that didn’t make sense to me but I do admit that sometimes specific details can pass by me when reading a book so I thought that this film would clear them up for me. Yeah, it didn’t. The film still had the major issues I had with the novel, which didn’t really surprise me as I would assume the film would be faithful to the novel! So, here we go:
I’ll just get a general one out of the way first: Voldemort is just terrible in the films. The way he speaks like a raspy child molester and looks an idiot just majorly detracts from the power he should have over the audience. And that power should be that he is terrifying! We are supposed to fear him! I thought that this was just an issue with me personally, perhaps another “I imagined it differently in the books” scenario, but oh no! I can now confidently base this claim off the audience of hardcore Harry Potter fans at the midnight launch I attended because they were laughing at Voldemort during his triumphant, imposing and villainous moments. LAUGHING! Unless I’m gravely mistaken, that’s the last thing you want your audience doing when the bad guy is seeming to have won the battle.
Ok, now we’re on to the huge one and that being the overly complicated methods to gain control of the Elder Wand. Let me see if I got this right: the Elder Wand was buried with Dumbledore’s body, which was dug up by Voldemort and stolen. However, the wand only answers to whomever defeated the previous owner of the wand, so Voldemort promptly kills Professor Snape (who killed Dumbledore). But the wand still doesn’t work for Voldemort because Draco Malfoy was the first person to disarm Dumbledore on the night of his death, so the wand will only answer to him. But in the last film, Harry disarmed Malfoy so the wand will only answer to Harry. Ergo, the wand won’t work for Voldemort unless Voldemort defeats Harry.
Now, there are a few problems here. The biggest one for me is the fact that when Malfoy initially disarmed Dumbledore, Dumbledore was not using the Elder Wand since he takes it to his grave and the Death Eaters didn’t take it. And even if he did have it with him, Malfoy wasn’t using it when Harry disarmed him (since the wand was in Dumbledore’s grave at the time); so pretty much this wand can switch owners even when the owner isn’t using it. Meaning I could have possession of the Elder Wand, but I’m attacking you with a knife while the wand is safely in my vault. You disarm me of the knife and wand says “oh wow man, you couldn’t keep hold of your knife, you’re not worthy of me anymore!” and decides to not work for me when I get it out of my vault. How stupid is that system?! You can earn the most powerful wand, without having to face the person while they are wielding it?! Come on J.K. Rowling, how pathetic is that?
Furthermore, let’s just say that system is OK (cause the books and films seem to think so!) and that Harry has control of the Elder Wand the entire time. Then surely that would have changed when Voldemort killed Harry! Voldemort defeated the person who had control of the Elder Wand, therefore by the book/film’s own logic, he now has complete control of the most powerful wand in the world. But he doesn’t, given Harry comes back from the dead and uses a simple Expelliarmus charm to defeat Voldemort’s Avada Kedavra (I see what you did there J.K.!) curse. How has this just slipped everyone by?!
Speaking of Harry being killed, what the hell brought him back to life? I know everyone is going to say “the Resurrection Stone!” but that can’t be right, again by the book/film’s own logic. In the story of the Deathly Hallows, it is said that the man who asked for the Resurrection Stone killed himself because all the stone can do is bring back a ghost of a loved one, not actually resurrect the dead. So I ask again: what the hell brought Harry back to life?! Do you know? Because I don’t!
My last problem was with the death of Voldemort. They defeated all the Horcruxes which means that Voldemort is now vulnerable to death. He and Harry fire curses at each other, Harry’s a non-violent disarming curse while Voldemort’s is the killing curse, and the two spells clash in the middle. Somehow Harry’s disarming curse bests the killing one and he takes the Elder Wand from Voldemort. Then Voldemort just fragments into nothing. Wait a minute, what? Sure Harry disarmed the guy, but my understanding is that they still need to kill him with a killing curse now that the Horcruxes are gone. Or did J.K. Rowling just kill her major villain of seven parts with non-lethal disarming charm? I suppose I wouldn’t put it past her at this point.
Alright, if you haven’t read the books and are keenly awaiting the conclusion of the film series then you’re going to like this film. It isn’t a bad film, I enjoyed watching it, it’s just that these plot holes and inconsistencies lead to a disappointing conclusion to a ten year long saga, in my opinion. I began reading the books when I was eleven, the age Harry Potter is at the start of the books, so I was growing at Harry’s rate and loving the adventure. And to get to the end of this huge saga that I literally grew up with and have such a jumbled and illogical ending like that? You can imagine my disappointment and rage. On that note, the epilogue is just as vomit-inducing in the film as it was in the book; yet another terrible idea from J.K. Rowling. But I must say, the film wasn’t awful but it just wasn’t amazing either. Unlike many of the people in the audience I saw the film with, I shed no tears at the conclusion of this franchise. See you next time!