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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2


      

With a pop culture phenomenon like Harry Potter, there are two things movie producers have to take into account: keep rabid fans satisfied and attract mild fans. Since I am a member of the latter class, I cannot speak for rabid fans, but it seems Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 generally satisfied them.  I, on the other hand, found the final chapters in the tale to be better than the other films, but still underwhelming.

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If you don’t know the story of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), I’m more impressed than annoyed. All you need to know is Harry is the good guy, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is the bad guy and Harry’s friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), help him defeat the Dark Lord.

In short, DH1 stays true to the first half of the seventh book by being quite boring after the first thirty min (100 pages). DH2 follows the second half of the book by being somewhat anticlimactic, except the film ups the ante considerably. Naturally, I’ll start with DH1.

One thing that cannot be taken from the film versions of HP is the ever-improving special effects. DH1 continues this trend almost to a fault by making the house elves – Kreacher and Dobby – too lifelike and uncomfortable to look at. The striking visuals are all well and good until Harry, Hermione and Ron find themselves alone in the woods and on the run from Snatchers trying to capture them. Here is where the film begins to decline and loses the mildly apathetic fans, like yours truly.

They must be extremely rare and hard to find, but I am sure there are some people who only saw the films and never read the books. If that were the case, DH1 would be incredibly difficult to follow due to an enormous amount of off-handed remarks about new and old characters making the plot difficult to follow. This is partially due to an attempt to include all the information present in the book, but at some point cuts have to be made in the editing room. In any case, DH1 finds a way to make the hero of these films look like a useless character that holds the story back instead of pushing it forward. Radcliffe has always played Harry a little soft, but this vulnerability is multiplied in the final two films for some inexplicable reason.

DH2 continues the improvements of effects with scenes like the escape of Gringotts and the securing of Hogwarts. It was great to finally see some of the power the stronger wizards and witches contained. DH2 also moves much quicker than its predecessor, but at times this cuts the story down a bit. By this I mean there were moments where a scene would occur with no context, or others would simply end to allow for the next one to begin. You could get the sense that the producers were frantically trying to include the important aspects for the ardent fans with a disregard for general continuity.

If my memory serves, the war within Hogwarts and the final battles were fairly intense in the book. DH2 couldn’t be further from intense. Akin to the rest of the film, the scenes in Hogwarts are cut together in quick form with little room for suspense to be included. Once you begin to realize this may be the final battle, it’s over. Don’t even get me started on the moronic afterlife scenes with Dumbledore (this was idiotic in the book too). Couple this with a half-assed epilogue scene and the entire series ends bland and underwhelming.

Despite how negative this may seem, I enjoyed these two films more than the other HP films, so you can imagine my expectations coming in. DH1&2 played out similar to a rollercoaster with moments of high entertainment followed by boring build-up. I’m happy I never invested myself too much in the HP series because the finales surely would have disappointed me. Instead, I’m left saying, “not too bad.”

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