The Other Half and I have seen all of the Harry Potter movies, and I have read all the books. The final installment in the movie franchise is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which was also released in 3-D. I wasn't that enamored with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 but since I had read the books I knew that more than 2/3rds of the action in the book was going to happen in Part 2. We decided to splurge for the 3-D since it was the last time we would be seeing a Harry Potter movie in the theaters plus it was garnering rave reviews from most critics (96% on Rottentomatoes.com).
Surprisingly, the last movie in the Harry Potter series is also the shortest in the series, coming in at a zippy 130 minutes. Also, another surprise about this installment is that it is basically a war movie. There are two competing armies, a large one on behalf of the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort and a small one on behalf of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, called Dumbledore's Army. This movie is so different from the early Potter films which were filmed with the hijinks of school children and featured games of Quidditch.
For the last two movies we have been following the quest of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they chase down magical objects called Horcruxes, which contain the soul of Voldemort. If the horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort will cease to exist. We think that there are six horcruxes, but one of my major quibbles with the the movie adaptation is that it doesn't really do a very good job of keeping the audience on track on how much progress is made on destroying all of the horcruxes.
Another aspect of the story is that when the audience discovers that Harry Potter must die (spoiler alert) we also see that he has the Resurrection Stone, but Harry drops the stone to the ground instead of carrying it with him to his death. It's unclear to the audience (or at least, me) why Harry couldn't just use the stone to die and then be resurrected and the movie doesn't do a good job of answering that question either.
There are several things that the film does do very well. I did think the 3-D effects were used sparingly but very effectively. Alan Rickman, as always, is excellent as Snape, although some have complained about the nature of his character's demise. My favorite character has always been Hermione, and Emma Watson plays her well. Daniel Radcliffe has most definitely grown into the leading role of Harry Potter. Rupert Grint has also grown, and is no longer cringe-worthy.
Overall, the final movie in the series works well as an action film and also has an excellent pay off for those of us who either read all the book or saw all the movies (or both). It is doubtful we will see a more successful adaptation of successful fantasy novels into successful fantasy films in my lifetime.
Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
Director: David Yates.
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes.
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Release Date: July 15, 2011.
Viewing Date: July 17, 2011.
Overall Grade: (4.0/4.0)