Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

 

It’s hard to review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 without getting a little nostalgic. How can you reflect on the ten years we’ve spent with the character without feeling just a little sentimental? When we first met Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, they were just little kids entering a world of magic and adventure with wide eyes full of wonderment. There were always dangerous situations from time to time but for the most part it was still all good fun and appropriate for the whole family. As the movies went on the dangers heightened and the movies became more serious and mature. We watched the trio grow from kids, to sexually frusterated teenagers, to adults with something to prove. We watched Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson evolve from very talented child actors into iconic figures that are sure to end up being just as respected and well-known as their elder co-stars. Radcliffe, whether he knew it or not at the time, had an extremely heavy burden playing one of the most popular fictional characters of all time and he grew into the role amazingly well. He comes full circle in this final instalment, as does the character, and he gives it his all. There are emotions and fears in Deathly Hallows Part 2 Radcliffe conveys that we’ve never seen before. He sends off this character with his wand full blast.

And the supporting cast, my God, how wonderful they are. In both the young talent and the acting legends. This film and the series as a whole plays out as a veritable “who’s who” of accomplished English actors, including but not limited to Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Brenden Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, and a noseless Ralph Fiennes. Over these movies we’ve met some great characters that all add to the overall charm of what makes this series so fantastic and what will keep audiences coming back to it for years to come. Some of these characters are kindhearted and good, some are just pure evil, and there is a large amount finding themselves somewhere in-between.

I think my favourite supporting character would have to be Dumbledore. An interesting, flawed, wise, brave, tragic character. Maybe the biggest tragedy of Dumbledore is that we had to mourn his death twice: in the story of the novel and film and in real life as well, as Richard Harris unfortunately passed away after making Chamber of Secrets. Michael Gambon took over and was a fine replacement but I would say I sort of prefer Harris’ portrayal just a little better. His Dumbledore came off as a more wise and tender elder figure and his contribution to the first two films was essential in introducing the character. But as the story progressed the danger became more crucial and Dumbledore needed to have a little more edge and determination and Gambon brought all that into effect wonderfully and to be honest I don’t know if Harris could have pulled it off quite as well. It’s like the actors were two sides to a coin playing him. I’m sure Dumbledore’s death made a lot of fans sad but maybe not moreso than J.K. Rowling herself, who apparently was in tears when the time came to write his murder scene. I suspect no one could feel closer to that character than the writer herself, she had details worked out about him that even the biggest fan couldn’t conclude after studying every last sentence. I wonder what it must be like to have all these fully realized characters living inside your head, like parts of your soul scattered about in Horcroxes hidden in secret rooms.

Dumbledore makes one final appearence in Deathly Hallows Part 2 near the end when Harry is killed and awakens inside a sort of purgatory. It’s strange and hard to describe but I felt like in that last scene we had the Harris version of Dumbledore back. I felt the wisdom and tendernous I admired so much alive again, as if Gambon was channeling the incarnation we met all those 10 years ago. It was an oddly transcendent scene, and I suppose for more reasons than one.

I saw the movie in IMAX 3D. I usually go out of my way to see the 2D version of any movie, but for this case my decision was based purely on time convenience. The 3D screening was at 6:45 and the 2D was at 8:00. I wanted to be home by a sensible time, so 3D won. And I figured why not? I can buy the movie when it comes to video and watch it in 2D as often as I like but there will be only one shot to see it in IMAX and in 3D. I have to say, the 3D was pretty damn good. It didn’t knock me out of my seat completely but when it really worked, it really worked. This is of course the only entry in the saga to have a 3D release and naturally it felt like the most suited for it. There are plenty of intense battle scenes that go on for practically the last half of the movie, which, if we’re going to get technical, would actually be the last quarter. That is a fair amount. There’s ghastly creatures attacking, there’s characters having their stand-out moments of glory, and there’s characters meeting their deaths in battle. It’s as good as this stuff gets.

By the time it’s all over it’s almost exhausting. And when Voldemort is finally defeated by Harry it’s almost like a relief and a necessity to the story. It’s not entirely satisfying. But then again neither was seeing the Eye of Sauran crumble to pieces or Darth Vader sans mask take his final breaths. When these characters die it hits you that the story is over and with all that build up with movies like these I don’t think there’s anything that could be done that would be completely 100% satisfying. It’s like the journey is more important than the destination. By that same merit, our heroes can have the happiest of endings, the sweetest of bookends, absolutely every loose end could be tied up, but the fact that it’s all over is kind of…disagreeable.

Having said all that they did a great job with this final instalment. And as a whole, this is a classic series for the ages. I would give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 a 10/10, not that ratings really mean all that much in the long run. Hell, I would give every single Harry Potter movie a 10/10 rating. They all have some flaws and some I found more interesting than others but they’re all stitchings in a rich tapestry of an incredible movie series that has brought us many years of excitment and magic, so why shouldn’t I? Who am I trying to impress?

 

 

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RE: Star Wars in 3D

Those CGI-laden prequels were bad enough. Now the Star Wars saga is going to be released in 3D? Are you kidding me? George Lucas is the fucking Anti-Christ. He’s a greedy, money-grubbing asshole who is squeezing every possible dollar out of the Star Wars franchise possible, and taking advantage of the loyal fans. With every change he makes to Star Wars, a little part of my childhood dies.

Nah, that’s a little too easy, isn’t it? Not to mention melodramatic and uninspired.

You know, I’ll never forget the first time I saw Star Wars. It was 1997 and the special editions were starting their theatrical run. I was 10 years old, and ready to let the wonderful world of Star Wars into my life. My dad took me to a bargain matinee. I had my big bag of stale, movie theatre popcorn (it never really tastes as good as it does at the theatre), and the house was packed. A group of mentally handicapped folk were sitting in the back. They would clap and cheer at inappropriate moments. It was magical.

There’s no denying how much of a cultural phenomenon the Star Wars saga has become. It doesn’t even need to be spoken. The original movies, in my opinion, are some of the finest achievements in cinema history. The prequels…not so much. But while they were out, it was nice that Star Wars was once again prominent in our culture’s consciousness. It was nice to see all the merchandise in stores, commercials with Darth Vader, Burger King kids meals, etc. It’s nice to revel in and celebrate these movies on such a large scale. So when Episode III was ending its theatrical run, I felt a little saddened. That was it. That was the last Star Wars movie to be released in theatres. It’s like the party was over.

Just on their sheer awesomeness alone, I think the Star Wars movies should be re-released theatrically at least every decade so we can once again have the opportunity to bask in all things Star Wars, and introduce this great series to a new generation of fans. So, when I heard the news of Lucas’ plans to release the films theatrically once again and in 3D, I was excited by the possibility of Star Wars, yet again, becoming this big event. I could practically see all the commercials and posters and Burger King meals all over again.

I guess there were a lot of people who did not share my excitement. The typical complaints: George Lucas is a greedy prick, he’s ruining the movies, 3D sucks, etc. etc. I get that Star Wars fans are as passionate as fans get, but I just don’t understand the resentment. How exactly are re-releases ruining these beloved movies? This isn’t 2004. It’s not like the original cuts are being withheld. They’re readily available on DVD. You can watch them and enjoy them. The only- and I stress this, the ONLY- valid complaint is that the DVD editions of the original cuts are not presented in anamorphic widescreen and not compatible 16X9 Widescreen televisions. That truly is a dick move, which will hopefully be rectified with the upcoming Blu-ray release.

So with the original films perfectly accessible, I don’t see why there is so much hate for all the little tweeks and changes made to the movies. They’re being released for the umpteenth time, so why not get a little something new and worth your money? I can’t tell you how many editions of THE EVIL DEAD I’ve purchased over the years, while the movie is exactly the same each time, except for maybe a new special feature here and there. And people say George Lucas rips fans off? If you’ve seen the movie 100 times already maybe it would be a nice change of pace to notice a CGI spaceship flying around in the background or something. I’m not saying all the changes made to the movies are good, but it gives you the chance to see the movie a little differently. I’m all for the sprucing up of certain scenes with improved technology so some of the effects look more convincing, and I don’t mind seeing a new creature added in like a thinner, mobile Jabba in A NEW HOPE, some more of the Wampa in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and the Sarlaac in RETURN OF THE JEDI. But I’ll tell you this right now: Han shot first, and Hayden Christensen’s ghost can go fuck himself.

The original, theatrical versions of the films will always be the truest. All the rest is novelty.

And that’s what 3D is: a novelty. There’s nothing wrong with novelty. If you’re shelling out your hard-earned cash, why not see the movies through a different perspective? If you’re not interested in seeing them in 3D, then stay at home and watch the DVD. You’re not being forced. Stop acting like George Lucas is fucking robbing fans at gunpoint. Last time I checked, you have free will to do whatever you want. George Lucas’ team is putting a lot of time, effort, and money into the project. It isn’t a double-dip DVD edition with different artwork and a new commentary. It’s a multi-million dollar operation. God forbid it should attract enough people to make, uh, watcha-ma-call-it, profit? Yeah, there’s show and there’s business. If you don’t want to see the movies in 3D, then you don’t have to. I can’t stress that enough. I have no interest in seeing the Twilight movies, so I don’t see them. They have not affected my life whatsoever. Yet people still complain about those movies, too. What is it about human nature when people would rather complain about things they hate than praise things they love?

One concern I do have is whether or not the 3D effects will be any good. They were not filmed with 3D cameras, obviously, they’re being converted to the format. That has many people skeptical. But if you consider some of the lousier 3D movies of late, you’ll know that they were hastily converted in order to ride the coattails of AVATAR’s enormous success. If it takes an entire year to convert each Star Wars movie, then you can be sure they’re doing something right. Lucasfilm has the best technology at their disposal. Keep in mind, before Blu-ray, and even before DVD, it was Lucas’ THX that was setting the standard in digital film restoration. Maybe Lucas will set the standard in 3D conversions.

My biggest problem with the whole idea is that they’re sequentially releasing the movies, starting with Episode I. I’m not entirely on board with that, especially since they’re basing the releases on the other movies with how well the first release goes. I suppose Lucas knows what people really want to go see is the original trilogy, and he’s testing the waters with the prequels. What if Episode I bombs? And do you really want to sit through Episode II again? If these make less money than expected, it just may be the ultimate test of how much Lucas really loves his franchise.

I’m also baffled that they haven’t taken into consideration the fact that 3D is very much a fad, and people are already getting sick of it. If it’s really going to take a year to convert each film, we’re looking at 6 years of annual Star Wars 3D releases. Do you really think 3D will still be popular in 2018, let alone 2012???

The smarter move would have been to just release the original trilogy. Not only because the prequels received less-than-stellar reactions from critics and fans, but they still feel fairly recent, don’t they? Episode III was released in 2005…that feels like last Thursday to me. I don’t think I want to wait until 2015 to get a chance to see the original Star Wars on the big screen again.

On the bright side, the world may end in 2012, and everyone will finally shut the fuck up.

Reference: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i677c428c4dc16c2c03ba2f1f01214c4d