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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

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  4_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

The last Harry Potter installment finally pits everyone’s favorite myopic, adolescent wizard against the noseless Voldemort in a long-awaited hand-to-hand battle.  Maybe wand-to-wand would be more precise, but they do get close enough to bitch-slap each other.  Don’t worry; no one’s going out like that in this epic tale.

Part 2 satisfies as a wrap-up to the seven-book, eight-film franchise, and it satisfies as a stand alone film.  An added bonus is that at no time are any principals ever in a tent.

Of course, it helps if you’ve taken a literary and/or cinematic journey with these characters.  There’s quite a history and mythology to consider.  To fully appreciate how it all comes to an end, most will have benefitted from experiencing a few bumps in the road along with Harry, (Daniel Radcliffe) Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint).

Leaving all of the secrets intact, here’s what you can expect:

•    An epic battle takes place on the grounds of Hogwarts Academy – students and teachers vs. Voldemort and death eaters.

•    A horcrux hunt with Harry & Co. reveals that each one they find and destroy weakens Voldemort, who can literally say, “You wanna piece o’ me?”  Two of the horcruxes are surprising revelations.

•    The relevance of the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility (from the legend of the Deathly Hallows) is clarified.

•    Voldemort’s killer snake Nagini chews up all of his scenes as well as anyone he’s commanded to by the noseless one.

•    Harry and Nagini have something in common

•    Dumbledore has a lookalike brother named Aberforth.

•    The circumstances of Dumbledore’s death are explained – by Dumbledore himself.

•    Snape’s background and motivations are revealed – through his tears.

•    The origin of Voldemort and Harry’s strange, telepathic enmeshment is explored.

•    Neville goes pivotal, morphing from nebbish to nervy at key moments.

•    Not all of the characters make it out alive.

The familiar cast, several dozen strong, maintains character integrity with all of the familiarity of a family reunion.  Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, and Helena Bonham Carter, all reprise their roles, whether wise or wicked, to add a splendid continuity to the final installment. Smaller roles hold such large talents as John Hurt, Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson, and Ciarán Hinds as Professor Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth.

Daniel Radcliffe is the heart and soul of the franchise, however, and it is his earnest face that we gaze into for most of the film.  As he has in the past, Radcliffe gives dimension to the young wizard’s conflicts, perplexities, intrepid spirit and periodic misgivings.  Emma Thompson’s Hermione is a strong and resourceful friend.  Rupert Grint’s Ron is a silent, sorrowful type, always there to lend a hand.

Director David Yates (the last four Potter films) pumps Part 2 with all the excitement, satisfaction and resolution that Part 1 lacked. It doesn’t really benefit from 3D effects (even though the special glasses resembled the round Potter style, just for fun). The film is already dark, figuratively AND literally, which the glasses just exacerbate.

Special effects enhance the mystical, somber, sometimes ominous atmosphere.  That Yates emphasizes interpersonal relationships over effects is perhaps the best effect of them all. Steve Kloves’ script distills the massive book into pertinent, touching and powerful scenes that enchant, sadden, and satisfy.

J.K. Rowling wraps up the Potter saga with a great big bow (both meanings apply) as a gift to the readers, the filmgoers and the fans who’ve made her richer than the Queen of England.

Not a bad for a mere muggle.

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