Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II : Movie Review

4 & 1/2 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

Director : David Yates ,  Year : 2011

J.K Rowling’s life story is a modern-day fairy-tale - the stuff of legends. From being a single mother living on benefits, diagnosed with clinical depression and even reaching the point of considering suicide, she engineered a phoenix-like rise from the ashes, became one of the most well-known authors of all time, with Forbes later pegging her wealth at US $1 billion. The book series she conceived of and sustained - Harry Potter - took the world by storm and gripped the imagination of countless kids and adults. A new amazing world of magic was born -  wands,spells,dragons & other fantastical creatures, vanishings,"transfigurations" et more. Folks, both small and big, just couldnt get enough of the secret world of wizards and " Harry Potter mania " was born.

All this wouldn't have amounted to what it did without a strong emotional undertow to the tale- the story of Harry Potter who loses his parents in infancy and nearly gets killed himself by the supreme villain - Lord Voldemort .The boy advances and trains for his final showdown with his nemesis (shades of Krishna and Kansa?!). Escaping from the hilariouslly described demi-monde of his egregious foster parents, he joins the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry set in a parallel universe. He becomes bum-chums with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley- they roll into adventures edged with dangerous magic and medieval thrills.The greatly capable and wise Headmaster Albus Dumbledore reserves a soft corner for Harry. Apart from the arresting arrary of multi-morphic creatures, there’s a constellation of evil wizards & witches conspiring to destroy Harry, and there’s always Lord Voldemort hissing lethal intent. I approached this final filmic adaptation of the book series with tempered frisson. Ultimately, I’m happy to report that Deathly Hallows Part 2 , skillfully directed by David Yates and script-adjusted for the screen by Steve Kloves, packed sufficient wallop in the narrative and ramped up enough thrills to satisfy my expectations.

The film’s start is sombre and guarded, as befits the mood leading up to a cataclysm. Apparently, Lord Voldemort has realized quite early that most fictitious villains stand little chance in the end - so he invests wisely in multiple holdings by enclosing parts of his soul in disparate "horcruxes" (alive or inanimate) - they must all be destroyed to finish him off. From the start, four horcruxes remain in this film to found and terminated. The first exciting spike in the narrative occurs during a forbiddingly difficult mission in the underground dungeons of Gringotts bank, manned by goblins and more. There are flashes of fanatastic imagery of dragons to to be found in this sequence. Voldemort meanwhile lays seige with his gang to Hogwarts - he makes it clear that he’s glad to murder any number of wizards, witches and children in order to get Harry’s goat and throat. With Hogwarts in mourning ruins, Harry decides to march alone as the "boy who survived" to his adversary waiting in the Forbidden Forest.

The avenging spring in his step is hamstrung because he is finally let in on a realization that is enough to sink the heart of any hero (and also of the heroine). This fact and others are revealed during a flashback that thankfully fulfills the role of being the emotional core and soul of this story. We see the secret behind the roiling heart of Prof.Severus Snape who has needled Harry faithfully right from the start. Explanation is also provided for the most disturbing event in Part 6 - The Half Blood Prince. A beautifully picturized sequence shows the childhood meeting of Harry’s parents. All of this meaningful expertly etched flashback further saves the movie from ending up as a "Sturm and Drang" clash of little consequence. The finale is multi-layered- we get a scene set in a white-out background reminiscent of the end-scene in ’Matrix Reloaded’. There’s that talk of "choices"! and there’s always the possibility of a come-back. The climax has enough punch, drama and swashbuckling fizzle to fulfill the "big bang" requirements of exhausting action endings. A nice prologue leads to the fade-out and finish of an insanely creative epic series.

A minor quibble - there’s no memorable theme music or distinct scene-enhancing score (apart from the standard-issue music) to lend more gravitas to the legend. Eduardo Serra’s camera ,however, keenly captures the formidable and bleak Gothic crags and caverns. Acting, across the board, is convincing, and Lord Voldemort with his half-venomous-reptile, half-vile-human pale face is an effective alpha-villain. David Yates has also directed three of the previous films in the series of which I have only managed to see the brilliant and powerful " Order of the Phoenix ". I remember reading one of the early Harry Potter books and and getting completely riveted by the narration of a "Quidditch" match - and later musing that that no other book I’d read had such an exciting description of a fictional sport encounter. Rowling hails from a nation that has produced much earlier, such classic and eminently charming writers of "simple" children’s fiction like Enid Blyton. On a different note, I don’t remember whether it was J.R.R Tolkien or C.R.Lewis who didn’t want their fantasy works to be made into movies - because in that day and age, movie special effects were klutzy. Those writers would have been gob-smacked by the prodigiously sophisticated special-effects which bring to eye-popping life today all the wonders that their fertile imaginations conjured up in words. Some scholars have criticized Rowling over the matter of literary style. Not all books need to be like Nabokov’s "Lolita" and there’s also the saying - "Keep it simple,stupid!". Rowling understood this right from the start,and what’s more, she upgraded her style to one of simple magic.




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