The Boy Who Lived
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a fine movie, and the best of the series. It is well directed, with fine performances from its cast- there are enough British legends in it that you forget momentarily about the main trio- who, by the way, have not done a bad job themselves. One of the most memorable lines that Albus Dumbledore utters in the Harry Potter books runs thus: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, more than our abilities”. In the final movie of the Potter saga ( a word that is not misused here) these choices are clearly highlighted, and the viewer is reminded of what makes Harry so different from his antithesis, Voldemort.
There is enough acting talent in front of the camera, and equally good ones behind it, and very smart people in the studio to make it all magical. The special effects are excellent as always.The 3D was convincing, although the movie is not more spectacular for it – too much of the movie is set in the dark for the 3D effect to completely overwhelm the viewer. But where it can, it will- some of the duels are spectacular, though the best duel I have seen in the movies remains the one between Dumbledore and Voldemort in Order of the Phoenix.
The movie begins where Part 1 left off, with Harry burying his friend, Dobby the elf (or as it says on his epitaph, “a free elf”) and making plans to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes that will lead to Voldemort becoming mortal. However, there are many problems to overcome, and as Harry asks Hermione during the course of events: “When have our plans ever worked?”
Potter and his friends enlist a rather unwilling help: Griphook the goblin, whom they have just saved from Malfoy Manor. Griphook, like any self-respecting goblin, has his price: the sword of Gryffindor. After rather haphazardly getting Harry and co. into Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter as the Hermione-Bellatrix imposter gives us a few laughs) vault, Griphook naturally turns traitor (“I didn’t tell you I’d get you out!”) and Harry (with the help of some wild thinking from Hermione) escapes on the dragon that was guarding the vault. The trio decide to return to Hogwarts, after Harry has a vision that the next Horcrux has something to do with Ravenclaw. We finally meet Aberforth Dumbledore (played by Ciaran Hinds) who rescues them from the Death Eaters and helps them get into the castle along with Neville Longbottom, who is now the leader of the student resistance within Hogwarts. The Aberforth Dumbledore character is however a surprisingly more timid version in the movie.
After (Headmaster) Snape runs from the castle, our heroes are able to destroy two of the remaining Horcruxes with a Basilisk fang that the enterprising Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint, who is my favourite actor among the three main characters) has managed to take from the Chamber of Secrets. The romance that lingered between Ron and Hermione finally comes out in this movie. Harry, who learns from a dying Snape that his destiny is to be killed by Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes, as menacing as always) willingly gives himself up to Voldemort, who proceeds to kill himself – or so we think.
As I watched the movie, more than anything else, the overwhelming feeling was that it was finally over: I knew how the movie would end- everybody did, since 2007- but it didn’t really matter. I first read the Potter books as a high school student, and after exactly ten years, I was watching the last movie of the series. There would be no more sequels, no more magical return to Hogwarts, no more Avada Kedavra. We have watched the characters in the movie grow: from the innocent spectacled Boy Who Lived to the young man who kills the greatest dark wizard of all time, to the father of three (in a very cute “After 19 years” epilogue). We have all lived and grown with Mr. Potter. Most of the audience in the theatre were of my age group- and presumably, Harry Potter was a part of their school lives too. In any case, they seemed to share my strange sense of content- things had ended the way they were supposed to. I suppose you can choose to see Pottermania as all hype, but then, that’s your choice, and on the evidence of things, probably not the right one.
The best thing about reviewing a Potter movie? Everyone knows the story – and it has a happy ending. And who does not love a happy ending?
Four stars on Five for the best Harry Potter movie.