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An end of an era: 'Deathly Hallows Part 2'

By Gordy Stillman

Section: Arts

July 14, 2011

Robbie Stillman contributed to this article.

The fight was fought, the quest concluded and the movie series that defined a decade finally ended. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” picks up right where “Part 1” left off. After a very brief recap of the previous film’s ending—about 15 seconds of Voldemort claiming the Elder Wand—it cuts right to Shell Cottage for the final leg of the adventure and the epic finale.

3D glasses based off of Harry Potter's glasses were distributed at the U.S. Premiere.

Without giving away too many details, the finale closely follows the book with few notable exceptions. Snape’s short duel with McGonagall, for instance, was a great moment of action that punctuated the film’s less exciting moments. Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) and even Seamus Finnigan (Devon Murray) get a proper amount of screen time. While the first three should be expected, Seamus shines in what can only be called an homage to his memorable scenes in the first film, though he never managed to burn his eyebrows.

Both before and during the battle at Hogwarts, the movie manages to balance its action with calmer moments and even comedic bits here and there. Neville, Seamus and McGonagall collectively provide some of the funniest parts of the movie in scenes that were both original yet fit well in the context of the film. Additionally a certain important kiss and very important battle between a mother and a lunatic will not fail to entertain fans who have waited the long four years since the book’s release. They may be slightly different from the books, but they work better considering that Hermione’s Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) was never mentioned in the movies and the battle in the Great Hall is notably different.

Perhaps my only complaint regarding the plot involves one of my favorite chapters from the books. The scene depicting Snape’s memories was enjoyable but still left me wanting more details, even though it was a great scene that is certain to leave some teary-eyed.
As in “Part 1,” the visual effects were amazing. I was particularly impressed with the Gringotts dragon and the stone statues at Hogwarts. That the visual effects were the same quality as in “Part 1” is unsurprising, since they were made concurrently.

Another interesting thing about this movie was the runtime. At two hours and 10 minutes, it is the shortest of all the “Harry Potter” films. While there were a couple of scenes I would have wanted to see, watching the movie I did not particularly miss them and never got bored.
Additionally, this movie, in connection with the first film, may very well be one of the best examples of circular narrative I’ve ever seen. Without giving away the details, it’s well worth it to watch the first film (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US, Philosopher’s Stone everywhere else) before watching this movie.

When I reviewed “Part 1,” I wrote that, after having seen it, the eight-month wait to see “Part 2” had become significantly harder. After seeing “Part 2,” all I can really say is that the approximately five-month wait until its home video release just got harder. I’m already looking forward to watching the complete “Deathly Hallows” together.

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