Featuring the best special-effects and performances of the series, the final Harry Potter film really does have the sense of occasion that befits such a movie. The 3D is well executed, giving the battle sequences a suitably epic feel, and the direction rarely misses a beat. The boy (wizard) done good.
The hype…The eighth film in the ever-popular Harry Potter series, the conclusion of the two-part finale is the first to be delivered in 3D. It gives fans the chance to wave goodbye to characters that we have all seen grow up on screen, and also hide the tears behind darkened spectacles. However, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up and the danger is that those not familiar with the previous films will be left behind.
The breakdown…The unsung hero of this franchise is director David Yates. The juvenile outings by Christopher Columbus got things off to a rocky start and the Mike Newell film (the one with R-Patz) is considered by many as a missed opportunity. Of course there was the series highlight sandwiched in between, but although ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ director Alfonso Cuarón made a great film, it didn’t really feel like a ‘Potter’. Yates, however, fully understands the material. And whatever your take on his style, there is no denying that it feels as honest to the source material as anything we’ve seen. There are also moments of terrific cinematic spectacle. The huge battle at Hogwarts is the best sequence of its kind since the second ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie. It manages to convey a very real sense of danger, which is hard to do in a film so full of magic and mysticism. The ongoing mantra for this series is still in place: “Best performances from the kids to date”. Although they really aren’t kids any more. The younger members of the cast have proven, over time, to be up to the task, but it’s the added gravitas of the veterans that keeps you watching. There is a superb moment early on when Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) is acting as if she is Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), perfectly capturing all her peculiarities.The relationship between Harry, Hermione and Ron is as enthralling as ever but we’re still not sure if the on-screen chemistry between them is as electrifying as it is in the books. The convenience of the romantic sub-plots can grate at times, and it’s one of those elements that require several films to have the impact it yearns to deliver.Elsewhere the finale checklist is ticked off in a far more accomplished manner. We see several familiar faces from earlier movies return and, most impressively, one of the best-loved characters is given a complete resolution as Alan Rickman’s dour Snape has a brilliantly executed story arc. The violence is upped from the previous films, with a couple of genuinely shocking deaths that help the final scene feel as grand as it should. It’s a fitting conclusion, and one that will have audiences weeping.
The verdict…A sharply directed final chapter that manages to do so much in a relatively short space of time, even the weary will find it hard not to be moved as the epic story draws to a conclusion. As a complete saga Harry Potter is tough to beat, and one that will deservedly define a generation.
Oh my god I actually can’t wait.