July 21, 2011 -- A big improvement over “Deathly Hallows Part 1” this final movie in the Harry Potter series brings to a conclusion a multi billion dollar publishing and movie phenomenon. It is a bit overlong and slow-moving at times, and so relentlessly downbeat that even the celebration of victory of good over evil is almost as muted as a funeral, but at least now it is over and done with. It should have been over last year, but you can't fault the studio financially for wanting to wring an extra billion dollars out of this fat franchise. The last film was a dud artistically, but a brilliant moneymaker. In this final film, at last, we have the long-delayed final battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, with its attendant pyrotechnics.
This film is dark in both mood and lighting. A lot of the scenes look like scenes out of “The X-Files.” Many scenes are so dark they probably look better in 2D in most theaters. Most films look darker in 3D for technical reasons because most theaters don't run their projectors bright enough to get an adequate level of illumination in 3D (or 2D, for that matter). The same film with the same projector will look brighter in 2D, all things being equal. The 3D effects in the movie are nothing special anyway, so you won't be missing much in 2D. As for the story, it is a continuation of “Part One” with Harry and his cohorts (mostly the same actors as in the other movies, Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint, Emily Watson, Alan Rickman, et al, playing the same parts they've played before) hunting and destroying Voldemort's horcruxes, leading up to the Big Showdown at Hogwarts.
The film tries to give some exposure to many of the characters introduced in previous films, and it is long enough to do that successfully (130 minutes). A few minor characters even come to the forefront and play key roles in the story. It is not all about Harry Potter and his inherited talents. Others have a role to play in the Big Battle as well. The story is strong, and so are the performances. The story is strong enough to patch over the weaker bits and make a whole which seems greater than its parts.
The film's main characters were children 11 years ago when the first movie in the series was being filmed. Now they are adults. In fact, these kids have been acting like adults most of the time in all the previous films anyway, so now their characters seem more normal than they have in past. Still, it is a bit shocking to see Emily Watson's cleavage in one scene. It just doesn't seem right, somehow. The movies, and the books, stopped being kids books and movies a long time ago, taking on the dreary shades of existential ennui. They became progressively dark, depressing, brooding and focused on evildoings by evildoers. In truth, this whole series of films has been a very odd combination of child's play and darkest evil. That spiral down into darkness turned me off.
Some have called this the greatest film franchise in history. It has made huge amounts of money and has been managed very professionally, but give me “The Lord of the Rings” series any day over this, and the James Bond films as well. At least it is a hell of a lot better than those “Twilight” films and books, and the books got millions of kids into reading. That is a wonderful thing. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.