I am a die-hard fan of the Harry Potter books. I have devoured each book as it came out since the very first one. In fact, when The Deathly Hallows came out, I read the entire book in one day, only taking the occasional break to use the bathroom and eat something. And when I’d finished it that night, I felt satisfied at having followed this cast of characters throughout their long journey.
And so, that same feeling came over me as I watched the final film in the series.
To start out, I have to say that of all the films made based on these books, it is my opinion that this is the best and probably the closest to the original material. I have been upset with many things that had been left out of the films from the original story (including the Tonks/Lupin romance and Dobby’s entire storyline, which is much greater than the films let on). However, the final film seemed to be very close to the book, with only one or two omissions made, I am assuming, because of their omissions in previous films.
When last we saw our heroic trio, Harry, Hermione and Ron, they were searching for the horcruxes. The horcruxes were items that contained pieces of Voldemort’s soul and Dumbledore’s final task for Harry, before he died, was to find the horcruxes and destroy them.
The previous film set this up nicely, although there was a lot of camping (a complaint I had about the first half of the book, as well), but the final film is much more action-packed and sees Harry and the team finding the final horcruxes (one of which is a surprise that I won’t spoil). And, of course, as this is the climax of the story, the film is never short on action.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part 2, is action-packed from the get-go and left me clinging to the edge of my seat, even though I knew how it would all turn out. I caught myself holding my breath through certain scenes and at times, had moments of anxiousness that was akin to what Harry, Hermione and Ron must have been feeling.
To top it off, we get to see a lot of magic. And that magic is more magical than we’ve seen. But most of all, the emotional impact of this film is heightened, especially when we see the bodies of favorite characters who have fallen during the final battle. This is where I felt the film actually did better than the book. In the book, the characters who die are mentioned, almost in passing, but I felt more of an emotional connection for their deaths here (although these characters still did not have their full storylines told in the films).
But this is war, and in war, people die. And this is something that Harry has to come to grips with, as well as us, the audience.
This movie isn’t a happy go-lucky romp in the playground. At times, it’s devastatingly sad and also, a little scary (be warned if you are thinking of taking small children to see this). But in the end, you know that good must win out over evil and when it does, you will let out a sigh of relief and cheer for the good guys.
The acting is as brilliant, as always. It’s hard to believe that these actors started out with this series as young as they did. We have watched them grow in front of our eyes on the silver screen, as we’ve watched their characters do the same. The scenery is breath-taking, as expected, and the writing is, again, extremely faithful to the original vision that J.K. Rowling had for the story.
I also felt that the epilogue worked better on screen than in the books. It felt satisfying and nostalgic, reminding us of how this whole journey started and what the story is about. And that’s just it: this is not a story about magic or wizards. It’s a story about what one can do when they have friendship and love.