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Reviewing The Deathly Hallows, Part Two: Harry Potter and the Last Crusade
Saying goodbye in a spectacular fashion
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One opened just before Thanksgiving of 2010, I felt that it was the best of the seven Potter movies to date.
That is, until I saw the eighth and final film in this epic series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two, which surpassed it's part one counterpart.
in fact, I will go on a limb right now and be the first to say...
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART TWO SHOULD GET A BEST PICTURE OSCAR NOMINATION - IT WAS THAT WONDERFUL AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
And so exciting, as there was never a dull moment in the movie's two hours.
Please don't misunderstand - I don't know if this film version of the last part of J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book about the young wizard and his magical world would have much of a chance to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Star Wars, in its genre and style, was clearly a precursor to this series, and Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the rest of that crowd never really got any love from Oscar.
However, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which is also in the same league as Harry Potter in that it's a tale of heroic mythology, won Best Picture at the 2003 Academy Awards - so a golden statue for Harry wouldn't be completely out of the question.
Just a little something for the Academy voters to consider this Oscar season.
If nothing else, it would be an appropriate way for the Hollywood film community to recognize the impact that these eight movies have had in entertainment, not to mention pop culture; all those fans in those round glasses with lightnings on their foreheads, camping out for days to see Harry and his mates, didn't come from nowhere.
All right, enough campaigning...Here's why Deathly Hallows, Part Two was so, to coin a phrase that I'm frankly not a big fan of as it's an overused one in my view, awesome...
Directed by David Yates, who has now helmeted four of the eight Potter movies, and written by Steve Kloves, in his seventh turn at writing the script, they were exquisite at bringing to the big screen the continuation of the search for Horcruxes - pieces of Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) soul that needed to be destroyed in order to defeat him - by Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his longtime best friends Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson), as well as depicting what was essentially the Armageddon of the British wizarding world, the battle at Hogwarts School between the Nazi-like Death Eaters and Harry's supporters, plus the final all-out brawl between Harry and Voldemort.
Daniel, Rupert, and Emma saved their best performances for last, which wasn't surprising at all. They've come a long way in the ten years of portraying these characters, and like an old teacher seeing their students grow up and graduate, it's been a tremendous pleasure watching them.
Though we've seen the last of those three as the heroes of Rowling's saga, fans can take heart that they haven't seen the last of them. Dan has appeared on Broadway, notably in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying", and Emma and Rupert will be in upcoming projects, so all those fans out there can relax; the futures are white-hot bright for that trio.
And Emma's short haircut is growing on me.
Matthew Lewis deserves a special mention for his portrayal as Neville Longbottom, the nebbishy, forgetful boy who comes onto his own and becomes a full-fledged hero in Deathly Hallows, Part Two, helping to lead the battle against Voldemort's army. To see Matthew going from a dud in the early films to a stud here was cool; he definitely evolved in a way that ought to inspire all those folks in school, or wherever, who don't really fit in.
As professor-turned-headmaster of Hogwarts Severus Snape, Alan Rickman gives a touching performance. I understood why Snape was the favorite character of many Pottermaniacs as his complexity was shown in this movie, explaining why he served as a double agent - (SPOILER ALERT!) it was all due to his love for Harry's mother Lily and his subsequent anguish over her death at Voldemort's hands (which was nicely portrayed), making sure that Lily did not die in vain.
Although I've read all seven books and knew the ultimate outcome of the story for years, the last battle for control of Hogwarts and the wizarding world, and Harry and Voldemort, succeeded in putting me on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding as the fate of this epic saga hung in the balance.
It was a little surprising that no one cheered in the theater I was at when Voldemort was (SECOND SPOILER ALERT!) finally killed by his own Avada Kedavra spell, which rebounded on him when it was met with Harry's disarming spell. Yates and Kloves should be commended for making what was already known to Potter fans as exciting as it was.
The epilogue at the very end, showing Harry and Ron's sister Ginny (Bonnie Wright) being married with kids, with Ron and Hermione likewise being married with kids, sending their offspring to Hogwarts, was quite satisfying as it put a nice bow on the whole thing. Dan, Emma, Rupert and Bonnie were appropriately aged up for the scene, not looking too ancient. It was a nice touch that I liked, and a good ending.
I realize that this will sound very sappy and overtly sentimental, but much like the Beatles and Star Wars, Harry Potter will have a permanent place in pop culture and the world in general, one that will undoubtedly endure for generations to come; Deathly Hallows, Part Two certainly saw to that.
And to say that it was a great way to end an epic tale would be the biggest understatement of all time. A Best Picture nomination is the only thing that would do it justice - and it would be the right thing to do.
I hope the Academy agrees with me on this.