The Deathly Hallows, Part Two: Movie Review
The End of the Harry Potter Movie Series
At this point, most Harry Potter fans have seen all of the movies in the series, including the final chapter, "The Deathly Hallows, Part II." Then, there may be some who like myself and husband, wait for the DVD release, to avoid the high theater prices, and the overpriced snacks.
Now, I have never read any of the original Harry Potter books, so I cannot address how well the movies, any of them, followed the books. That is not my purpose here.
We have seen all of the movies in the series, however, and most of them were quite good, leaving the audience wanting more. That is the mark of good story-telling.
Read on with no fear, for there are no spoilers about the plot details in this review. I don't like reading reviews with spoilers, so in case there are others who have yet to see this movie, I've avoided them myself.
"What plot?" might be a legitimate question. What plot there is seems by turns awkward and contrived, or so transparent and predictable that a 5-year-old could guess 'what happens next.'
The storyline is disjointed and jumpy; alternately in the present, in flashbacks or inside someone's head, without any smooth transition between. It leaves the viewer feeling confused, and is a distraction as we have to pull ourselves out of being engaged in the action to figure out what has just happened.
These are probably the best part of the entire movie. Between stuntmen, fantastic scenes generated solely within the brain of a computer, and model sets, there are some pretty good bits to enjoy.
Mind you, these special effects pale in comparison to movies like The Matrix or Inception. However, within their own context in this movie, they are quite good; some are almost breathtaking.
This is another area where this movie falls apart. I'll agree that the plot, such as it is, deals with mystery, impending doom, and all sorts of other dark side possibilities. (And that's not a spoiler--as much is revealed or hinted at in Part I.) However, I do not appreciate struggling to even see the action because half the movie is shot in virtual darkness.
The scenes are dark, the costumes are dark, the backgrounds are dark, and the lighting is dismal. It is as if they were trying to shoot the film by candlelight. When the entire screen goes black, and all you can see are bits of black or dark gray shadows moving within that background blackness, it is not enjoyable--it is both hard on the eyes and it is frustrating. It makes the subsequent bits of action harder to place into the full sequence of events, because you couldn't really see what was going on.
Perhaps it is more visible in a theater setting, but that's really no excuse. These days, movies are made with the fore-knowledge that they will be later released to DVD's for home audiences. They should be just as visible in that medium as in the theater.
(And no, it's not our TV, which is quite new, and a big widescreen. We watch with most of the lights out--just like the theater--only enough low level light so as not to trip over one of the cats on a snack break.)
Movie Trailer--Possible Spoiler Alert
Boxed gift set of Harry Potter books
They Should Have Left it Alone...
Instead of trying to drag the series out for one more go, they should have added what few actual bits of action mattered into the "Part I" film, and ended it there. The finale, as produced, left much to be desired, was anti-climactic in the extreme, and left a bad taste in the mouth.
That's not how you want to end such a highly successful series. Even at that, the final scenes again hinted at the possibility for yet more sequels....I do hope not. They already went too far trying to wring more audience money out of the existing set.
I do not recommend this movie, but if you do want to see it, don't spend any more than rental price on it. It just isn't worth buying.