Potter-philes bored by Lord of the Rings-esque travel in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” will finally understand its purpose after watching “Part 2.” Removing the tedious setup, allows director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves to deliver a thoroughly gratifying conclusion to the series, which doesn’t waste any screen time.
Picking up where “Part 1” left off, our heroes Harry, Ron, and Hermione resume their mission to destroy Lord Voldemort’s three remaining Horcruxes, the items that give him immortality. Voldemort learns of their plan though, and plots to confront them before they can complete their task. As Voldemort gets closer, Harry realizes his destiny is to battle the Dark Lord to the death.
Just like that summary, “Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” is all business--at 130 minutes, it’s the shortest film of the “Harry Potter” franchise. Thanks to very deliberate pacing by Yates and utilitarian dialogue by Kloves, the movie makes very efficient use of its time. The two hours and ten minutes fly by, because the pair architects the story to accelerate Harry’s climactic confrontation with Voldemort.
The conversion of “Part 2” to 3-D in post-production is a skillful one, inoffensive to the eyes. It is understandable now, why Yates decided to not to rush it on “Part 1,” in favor of taking his time to do it right. Sadly though, the 3-D doesn’t add much to the tale, despite its solid adaptation. There are a couple of sequences where Voldemort’s face looks haunting superimposed on explosive flames or dark clouds, but it’s definitely not worth the added ticket cost.
Similar to the last couple of “Harry Potter” movies, “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” takes a dark tone in the themes of death and sacrifice that permeate the last act. Those familiar with the J.K. Rowling novels know that several prominent characters die while defending Hogwarts against Voldemort’s evil army.
One of the few shortcomings of this film is that Yates does not place enough emotional emphasis on these deaths, because we never see the characters until after their last breaths. It is an area that could have had greater impact than the books, since a camera can capture death more vividly than any written description.
In spite of the dark qualities present in “Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” there are surprising moments of humor in the sporadic exchange of dialogue, to lighten the mood. Audience members who have been following Harry and his friends from the start of their cinematic journey will also be overjoyed to see Ron and Hermione finally consummate their affections with a kiss at the right moment.
Their union is one of the happiest moments in the entire series, due to the romantic tension created by the filmmakers through the various Potter movies. Strangely though Rupert Grint and Emma Watson’s on screen chemistry seems to overshadow that of Daniel Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright, who share a brief, unenthusiastic kiss. Though it’s not particularly clear, whether to blame that on poor acting or directing.
If you’ve enjoyed the “Harry Potter” films over the course of their run, you should be very pleased by its concluding chapter “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” There’s a little bit of everything to keep you satisfied: epic battles, magic, love, and occasional humor.
My Grade: A-