Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 3D Review

The Harry Potter film series featured a story about children growing up to become adults. Actors Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermione) were children when the series started back in 2001. Yet, for those three parts, there was no change in performers in all of the films. We would watch their characters grow and mature before our own eyes in the movies and in real life. I don't think we will ever see that type of chemistry again. And though the wizardry world of Harry Potter is fiction, the series is the true magic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 starts out where Part 1 left off. Harry is a fugitive and is seeking the last Horcruxes which are pieces of Voldemort's soul. Destroy them and destroy him. Meanwhile, the dark forces of Voldemort have completely taken over the magic world. Servus Snape (Alan Rickman) is now headmaster of the Hogwarts. Harry's quest leads him from a vault at Gringott's bank to the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort at Hogwarts.

Steve Kloves' screenplay focuses on Harry's quest. There's little exposition so you better review Part 1. Since Harry is a fugitive, Kloves gives the story a tense vibe. While dealing with the fiction of magic, the dialogue feels real. Director David Yates trains a lot of color from the film. This is after all, a dark time for the magic world. Special effects are fabulous. From goblins to a dragon to giant stone soldiers, it all looks wonderful. As with Part 1, Yates makes flinging spells look like something like a laser fight from Star Wars. You will believe that magic exists. Yet thanks to Kloves and Yates, they keep the themes of love, sacrifice and goodness forefront.

There's very little wrong with this film. At 130 minutes, the movie could have been longer. The movie follows the "show don't tell" maxim a little too much. I could have used more wizards and witches fighting directly against Voldemort's horde. For example, key characters die during the battle of Hogworts. It would have had more impact if they actually show them dying heroically. And there seems to be a plot hole where Harry returns from a certain place to fight Voldemort that isn't explained well. But these are minor quibbles and cannot overcome the excellence in the making of this film.

The 3D version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 is a conversion from 2D. The effects don't pop. And director Yates doesn't seem to want to use the format. Only CGI effects look like they're in 3D. There seems to be no planning of how to maximize the format. And with this movie like most 3D films especially conversions is too dark. I will say the dragon and a scene in the Room of Requirement look great. And the conversion does not detract from the movie. But is it worth the extra bucks to see it in 3D? The answer is no. You will not get a special experience by seeing this in 3D.

As for the performances, they are just great. We have seen Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grow from children actors to mature adult performers. Grint shows his maturity both as an actor and as Ron. Emma Watson as always is resourceful playing Hermione. While Radcliffe's Potter is a study in determination and courage. It's remarkable that all the lesser characters that we've grown to love also shine even when they have very little dialogue. For example, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy realistically gives his character a tortured soul. Jasson Issacs as Draco's father conveys desperation. Whereas Helen McCrory as Draco's mother shows her love for him in a key moment. Matthew Lewis displays optimism and heart as Neville Longbottom. And I could go on and on. Every performance is pitch perfect.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 is intense and thrilling. Emotional and heartfelt, it's a grand way to end the series. The grade is A-.

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