Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Well, one of the most successful book and movie franchises has come to an end. If you haven't already guessed it, we like Harry Potter, especially the wife.  In our reviews below, there will be spoilers, FYI. This quote from the great Stephen King sums up the series perfectly (sorry if we offend you, Twilight fans):

"Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend." — Stephen King

The Wife: Truly the end of an era. That's how I felt after seeing (and sobbing my way through) the final film of the Harry Potter franchise: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. As those of you who follow this blog know, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Call me a nerd, I don't care. The Harry Potter books and "The Boy Who Lived" changed my life and the way I view writing, character development and more. The books and movies were a huge part of my youth. The way J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter characters, especially the core three, makes me feel like they are family. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true. I have never in my life been so emotionally attached to characters from a book/movie franchise. While the books will always be dearest to me, the films are no slouch either. We really got to see the core three Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermione) grow up. As they grew up, I grew up.

I came into the theatre with mixed feelings of excitement and sadness. I knew this was truly the end. Bittersweet, really. Of course I knew the plot as I've read the books multiple times, but the final film marked the last Harry Potter thing to look forward to (except for my next trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a must because that place is amazing!).  For the past several years, I've had either a Harry Potter book or movie to anticipate...and now it really is all over. Sadness aside, the film met almost all of my expectations and is easily the BEST movie of the summer. It picked right up from Part 1 and was action packed all the way through! When Ron and Hermione FINALLY kissed, I clapped and cheered as loudly as I did when I first read the kiss scene in the books. I cheered again when Mrs. Weasley majorly owned the evil Bellatrix! I also clapped during Neville's (my favorite side character) ownage. I sobbed when my dear Fred died (yes that's right...sobbed not cry!). I sobbed some more when Harry said goodbye to Ron and Hermione and of course during the Snape redemption scenes. And in the final scene, as cheesy as the epliogue came off on screen, I sobbed some more because it was OVER. Watching the core three (plus Ginny) say goodbye to their children who were off to Hogwarts 19 years later was emotional (even though the actors totally didn't look old enough to have kids haha) because at that point the series came full circle and it really was the final "goodbye." I am not really a big movie cryer... but I sobbed during this. I came out of the theatre emotionally drained for sure.

On a side note, Alan Rickman (Snape) deserves an Oscar for his performance in this film. I am sure that will never happen, but his scenes were so amazing in such an already emotionally-packed movie.

That being said, as soon as we were walking out and people were looking at me as if I was insane due to my puffy eyes and tear stained cheeks,  I convinced the husband that I had to see the movie AGAIN. So we grabbed some dinner and marched back to the theatre for a second viewing. I was able to keep my tears to a minimum this showing, but still enjoyed the finale of a series that has truly impacted my life. I guess I still have the Blu-Ray of the film to anticipate... so that's good! I am sure I will be re-reading my Harry Potter books soon too. That certainly seems in order.

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love. By returning, you may ensure that fewer souls are maimed, fewer families are torn apart. If that seems to you a worthy goal, then we say good-bye for the present.” — Albus Dumbledore

Hobo Dan: Let me get this out of the way before I say anything else; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the best movie I've seen this summer. My sincerest apologies to Thor, but this has everything. From opening credits to close it's packed full of action. There is never a dull moment. The emotions running through the film are not only strong, but real. Anyone who has seen all the previous editions of the franchise should feel something during this movie.  It does occasionally fall victim to it own heavy story. If you haven't read the books there may be a few places that just don't add up. It's not really a deal breaker, especially given the length of the source material, but it does happen. There are times in the movie that just seen too convenient. Those are much better explained in the books. I would highly suggest to anyone who has only seen the movies to now go back and read the books. I seen no reason why the books will not be thought of in the same breath as The Lord of the Rings in fifty years.

I didn't dress up or bring a wand to the showing. I can't quote the books endlessly. I actually have forgotten more about the books than I care to mention. I'm just not the super Harry Potter fan like so many others. That said I do feel a close bond with the characters and world contained here. I think that is the true mark of quality entertainment; a connection with the characters and their struggles. It has been a true pleasure to go on this journey. Unlike so many others I'm not sad. The true beauty of books and movies is that you can always go back and visit.


  1. Awww... I love this review! And I'm so happy that you enjoyed the movie... twice! I think I'm going to break down and go see it by myself. I've never done that before, but I really really want to go see this movie! I totally hear you about growing up with these characters... it will be a sad day when I watch the last movie... :-/

    PS. Connor watched HP 7.2 in Italy... in Italian... and he STILL said it was really good!

  2. Oh Harry Potter. :) I saw the movie last night and I literally wept. (Not at the Fred part as much as in Snape's flashbacks) It was epic, and I agree that it will be one of the greatest stories of our generation. (I was actually talking about that today with one of my students)

    I've never been too much of a Potter-head myself, but that doesn't mean I don't adore the story, and I think it has a lot to offer, especially in terms of story-telling, narrative etc (and I make all my advanced students read it!) Seriously, it's like an English teacher's godsend.

    Anyway, I think it's interesting that Stephen King compares Twilight and HP. (Should preclude this admitting I read Twilight, and enjoyed it, although it leaves me wondering what happened to our society, that Bella should replace heroines like Buffy and Xena) While there are obvious differences in yanno... quality of writing, depth of characters, ability to follow a compelling arch for the span of the series (and omg, I think Harry Potter must be one of the best crafted hero's journeys ever!) and well, everything, I think one major way in which HP truly owns Twilight is in the way they handle death.

    Both stories are, in my opinion, quintessentially about death. And both main characters confront and defeat death. Where HP leaves twilight in the dust is that death is a rite of passage into adulthood. So when main characters die (ie Sirius), Harry Potter (both the story and the character) really grows up. Bella never faces this. All of her friends magically survive. The second death rite of passage is coming to terms with your own mortality, which, clearly, Bella completely fails to do. When Harry becomes the master of death, he decides that no one is meant to be immortal. (Taking Dumbledore's words to heart, no doubt)

    In the end, while Harry Potter was JK Rowling's deeply inspirational allegory for overcoming the death of her mother, Twilight is superficial. I think Meyer is simply mourning the loss of her youth (beauty) and wishing she had found a "great love" herself.