Monday, January 23, 2012

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

99th post, ladies and gentlemen

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

Directed by David Yates
Written by J.K. Rowling
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert "Sexual Carrot Cake" Grint
Rated PG-13

The eighth and final installment of the storied Harry Potter movie series brings the storied franchise down to new levels of uninhibited sexual depravity of the kind normally only seen at college parties in Ancient Rome, obscene vulgarity that would make Quentin Tarantino's mouth blush, and graphic violence that would give pause to Eli Roth. Nothing that I just said is true, but this movie does feature the word "bitch"... and to some people, that's equal to all of the above in badness. If you aren't one of those people, you may already like this movie, so read on. Fortunately for us, the Republicans haven't found a way to ban Harry Potter for having "pot" in his name. Yet.

They didn't like that class anyway.

Now that this movie is out on blu-ray, all the people who walked out of Deathly Hallows Part 1 confused can see how the story ends. Most of those people live in places that don't have books, so they probably never got around to reading the story itself. But I digress. This is about Harry Potter, not Alabama. This movie concludes the tale of the boy wizard who could... though now he's more of a man wizard.

Dire straits

Indeed, the cast sure has grown up a lot over the past ten (seven in the movieverse) years, huh? Especially Hermione, who continues to improve the visuals in this movie. The visuals don't need much improvement, though; the difference in special effects between this movie and the first movie in the series is huge. It makes sense - the budget went up astronomically over that time. The visual style of this movie is similar to Lord of the Rings in a lot of ways, and there is a similar pervading darkness throughout this movie. If you're looking for a lighthearted romp, you won't find it here. Harry and Ron never ride the magic subway while listening to "Coochie Dip City" by Das Racist, but it would be a hell of a movie if they did.

No one knows what it's like, to be the bad man

Instead, we get a lot of Voldemort and his minions acting like Sauron...and his minions. It's amazing that the final struggles of this movie manage to actually be more intense than the finale of Return of the King, given the smaller scale of the events taking place. That intensity comes directly from being on a smaller scale, though. When it all comes down to it, Harry Potter is the only one who can save the day, and if he falls, everyone else is screwed. The heroes being one death away from oblivion is a scary thought.

And sometimes, the bad guys win

Hogwarts has also become a bastion of evil, and dark times are afoot. The villains propagate propaganda that swirls around our heroes at all times and makes their job even more difficult, as the once-noble establishment takes a turn towards a 1984-style police state. This makes it all the more fitting that John Hurt makes a somewhat surprising guest appearance. He's only there to help Harry fix his bent wand (wrap your head around that one), but even still, the presence of 1984's star seems to send a clear wink to the older members of the audience. For a moment we're back on Airstrip One, at least in spirit. It is good to see that the makers of this movie didn't water down the darker parts of it to appease the soccer moms; maybe they concluded that most of the people watching this would be old enough to handle it. That would be a fair assumption; most of the viewers probably grew up with the series over the past ten years. This is Harry Potter for young adults, and it doesn't insult our intelligence.

Weight of the world

By and large, this movie is extremely well done and holds up to the aforementioned Return of the King in the category of "grand finale". It gives the Harry Potter series the closure it needs to be one of the great movie-verses of the past decade. Rarely do people get the opportunity to follow a group of iconic characters over such a long span of time and see them grow; only some TV shows can really make that claim and have merit. (I'd argue that the seven season Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of them.) The Harry Potter series gave rise to three iconic characters: The heroic but vulnerable title character, who has shown millions of kids that if they try hard enough, it's possible to soar right over life's low points and uncertainties. Then there's Ron, the Sam to Harry's Frodo. He has plenty of shining moments throughout this series, like his Jedi mind trick in this last movie.

I do, do I?

And then, of course, there's Emma Watson as Hermione. It should be noted that I have mostly avoided talking about the talented and nubile Frenchwoman until now. Aside from Harry Potter's ultimate task, Hermione once again does most of the heavy lifting for the good guys in this movie. At one point she even rides a dragon, which makes it the luckiest dragon ever.


Hermione may bring the visuals to this series for the men, but unfortunately the women have little sex appeal to look at because there is a distinct lack of Hagrid in this movie.

"Hello, ladies."

Women seeking the popular playboy are advised to check out earlier movies in the Harry Potter chronology. For everyone else...

Round of applause

...I'm calling it now: This is the best Harry Potter movie in an already-great series, bettering previous frontrunner Order of the Phoenix. It was a great way to go out. If you haven't seen it already, pick it up (now on Blu-Ray!) and bear witness to one of the greatest finales of the past ten years.

While you're at it, check out my review of the previous movie in the series, where I talk about Hermione a lot:

I manage to insult Alabama in that one as well. Which would be a dangerous game for me to play, but luckily people in Alabama don't have computers.

What do I rate this movie? Well, that's easy...

1 comment:

  1. Well, one thing the good guys lack in this as compared to Return of the King is an invincible ghost army to turn the tide at the end.