Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter is set to leave for another year at Hogwarts. Only, fate has other plans.
Hogwarts is nowhere on anyone's mind as the darkness that was threatening on the horizon is now upon Harry and his friends. In a particularly effective scene, Hermione (Emma Watson) uses her powers to erase all evidence of her existence in her family home -- including photos and her parents' memories.
This is how author JK Rowling, director Yates and the creative team managing the Harry Potter franchise let its audience know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is not your average Harry Potter film.
Yes, it is dark. Yet, that is not the only overtone thrust upon this great film. In many ways, as the first Lord of the Rings did to a post-9/11 America, Harry Potter's latest movie chapter captures the power of the simplest of story premises: With a strong leader and powerful forces of good, if we bind together we have a chance of battling back evil. In Harry Potter's case, the scourge that is chasing him is a cinematic evil icon, Voldemort.
As a seven part book series, Harry Potter managed to capture the imagination of the world over thousands of pages. As the movies have progressed, each successive film brings its audience closer to the heart of the Harry Potter saga -- a climactic battle between the man who shall not be named and the chosen one, Harry Potter.
When approaching the final chapter, Yates and the Harry Potter team wisely chose to split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two parts.
Where the first film starts off is an alarming announcement that the end is near, in more ways than one. Bill Nighy takes up the entire screen and we are off and running. The pace does not stop until the final moments of the film and even then, the vibrations over what you have just witnessed will keep you firmly entrenched in the world of Harry Potter for another several hours.
That is where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a triumph. For those who have read the books, there are still cinematic surprises that are delightful touches to the film -- actually mostly delightful and in one case, terrifyingly scary. For those who have not ingested the Rowling instant classic, as a stand-alone film, Deathly Hallows shines as brightly as any brilliant tale told through film over the last century. Sure, the genesis of the Harry Potter iconic fairy tale is widely known, but with the delicate handling of the story by Yates, the film showcases Rowling's keen storytelling abilities plus the astonishing acting talents of Radcliffe, Grint and Watson.
When the main trio first began, director Chris Columbus had to literally tell them how to act. A decade later, Watson, Radcliffe and Grint have risen to the occasion of the pop culture power that is Harry Potter. Their passion for the project has never wavered and it is evident in every second on film in Deathly Hallows. We cannot wait to see where their careers take them next.
Although easy to forget in the spotlight of all the Harry Potter blinding attention on the three leads who own the eight-part movie series, each Harry Potter director has had the luxury of a top-notch British cast to support. Whether it's Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh or Nighy (making his Potter debut) or series regulars Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes or Robbie Coltrane, Harry Potter boasts the best in acting prowess to fill in the story. In Deathly Hallows, the vat of UK talent explodes.
It is refreshing to see, also, a studio allow filmmakers to stir their own creative juices for the glory of the story itself. Whether it was sticking with the acting trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as they grew older or the casting of a who's-who of British acting accomplishments, Warner Bros has nurtured a movie earthquake that will be felt for centuries.
Out of five stars…
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