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    Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

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    Paeter
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    Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 15th 2011, 7:22 pm

    After eight movies, the Harry Potter epic storyline is finally over. As someone who read and enjoyed the books once when they came out (but isn't a "fan" in particular) I wondered how the last movie in this franchise would wrap things up.

    I can definitely say it went out with a bang. Action and effects were numerous and the best I remember in the series. Character mortality rates were higher than ever. (In fact keeping track of deaths almost requires pen and paper!) The stakes were higher than ever and the epic battles do not disappoint.

    The supporting adult cast does the heavy lifting and engaged me emotionally in ways this series never has before. Alan Rickman (and Severus Snape's story) is certainly the standout dramatic element and nearly brought me to tears.

    The visual design is appropriately dark, sinister and even depressing, while still captivating and fantastical. A far cry from the bright colors of the earlier films in the series. Every character looks ragged and worn.

    The music also contributes a lot to the mood, sounding almost like a creepy horror flick at times (though without the cheap "jump scares").

    All this work put into mood still only helps to offset, rather than contribute to, the performances of the three heroic leads. It's great that the studio ended up with passable adult actors considering they were cast as kids. But I would still place the calibre of their performances alongside or below most TV guest performers, rather than movie actors or even TV regulars. And whether because of their performances, the script, or both, I didn't find myself the least bit invested in their well-being. A very big problem, given that they are the center of the story.

    Speaking of story, this movie, like the last one or two, is unforgiving toward those who do not watch previous movies in the series (or know them very well) right before seeing this one. Few or no reminders are given about who people are, what things are significant and what all the objectives for victory are. Although I've read all the books once and seen all the previous movies, I felt lost in a number of ways. My guess is that this movie (and others in the series) will be more greatly appreciated for its story on home video, rather than in the spaced out theatrical release schedule.

    I personally doubt that much worthwhile conversation will come out of seeing this movie. But a few topics that you could squeeze out of it (if you have strong hands) would include: The afterlife, sacrificial love, the death and resurrection of Christ (as subtly modeled in this movie in a way I won't spoil further) and doing right while being villainized by others. Those points are all present, but would have come out much more strongly had the performances been more emotionally engaging.

    This flick is a good end to the franchise that would be stronger in the immediate context of the previous films. Although key performances are lacking, supporting actors and good direction make up enough ground to provide an enjoyable experience.

    Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images.

    Quality: 8.0/10

    Relevance: 5.5/10

    For information about my rating system, visit spiritblade.net/reviewscores.

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    Re: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Guest on July 16th 2011, 3:24 pm

    I got the impression that the parallels you are alluding to are not remotely subtle at all, but in fact highly explicit and purposefully constructed. Then again, maybe the inspiration goes back to the monomythic themes and ideas that Joseph Campbell tried to categorize.

    I won't go so far as to say that Potter lacks character, but in some ways he is almost an avatar for modelling displays of perfect or near perfect love (for friends, family, adopted family, and romantic). The flaws he exhibits that are most pronounced in the final story of the series are almost functions of the plot (obsession in the book), and in one case are more serving of another character's development (relationship conflict). There are a few actions that Potter takes that one could ask, "Does that qualify as righteous anger? Does Harry have to have a dark side, or are his rare moments of 'fighting fire with fire' allowed?" Those moments beg us to examine if these actions fall within the realm of societal rules and law, or if some form of true universal justice is in play. I think those odd moments are there for a reason; when I read the book it struck me as very carefully crafted and considered, in some cases very responsibly (for young readers), in other ways it reflects how pure ideals clash within the context of the more cynical superficial realities of the world we live in.

    In one sense sacrifice, death and immortality can only play out the way it really plays out in our world. Potter's parents are only immortal in Harry's world the way they would be in our own non-magical world; Harry is an extension of them; the more perfect aspects of their personalities amalgamated into a person who will make his mark on the world in a lasting way.

    J.K. Rowling has said in a few interviews the religious parallels are a conscious, intentional design for the story's set-up. Without getting to deeply into the politics of religion, you can take her at her word and embrace those elements and interpret them to mean that she intended the story to be Christianity-inspired, or not. I think there's a certain amount of diplomacy there; her story is meant for a very broad audience (especially once you get to those larger volumes), but it's not meant for (and she doesn't seem too preoccupied with) those who she calls out on for being, in her regard, extremist.

    My rambling thoughts are a case for relevance. Life and death, love and sacrifice, morality versus legality. Also, from a perspective outside the story, the work has relevance from the standpoint of reflecting on how Christianity as a whole approaches fiction and debates the harmfulness or divine purity-of-intent of the story's content; not too mention how Christians respond to, embrace, discriminate (I mean in the positive connotation of the word), and censor.

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    Re: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 18th 2011, 7:09 pm

    Desert Kris wrote:I got the impression that the parallels you are alluding to are not remotely subtle at all, but in fact highly explicit and purposefully constructed.

    SPOILER WARNING!!!!





    I think you're right that they were purposeful. I think their perceived subtlety will depend on the individual. For me, it seems like the Christ metaphor of a "sacrificial death" has been so over used in fiction that I've become numb to it unless there are additional elements that also parallel Christ.

    In this case we also have a "resurrection" of sorts, but since it wasn't a "real" resurrection, it didn't come across as strong to me, compared to say Superman's death and return in comics (which readers only learned much later was not a true death) or Neo's death/resurrection in the first Matrix film and even more obvious sacrificial death in a crucifixion pose in the last movie.

    Those are more my standard these days for a clear crucifixion/resurrection metaphor, and anything less strikes me as "subtle".


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    Re: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Hackmodford on July 19th 2011, 9:36 am

    Paeter. IF you click the other button while making a message there is a "spoiler"

    Spoiler:
    This is a spoiler... you've been spoiled and it is your own fault.


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    Paeter
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    Re: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 19th 2011, 7:00 pm

    Hackmodford wrote:Paeter. IF you click the other button while making a message there is a "spoiler"

    Spoiler:
    This is a spoiler... you've been spoiled and it is your own fault.

    Hmm, your words mystify me. But I'll try to poke around and do something like that next time. Thanks for the heads up!


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    Re: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on July 24th 2011, 11:09 pm

    Can someone explain what happened with the Malfoy's sp? It just seemed weird for them to just walk into the sunset like that.

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    Re: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Movie Review)

    Post  Guest on July 25th 2011, 4:04 pm

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "sp" that's a new one on me. But you hit on one of my favorite moments of subtle, sublime characterization. Beautiful stuff, IMO.

    Spoiler:
    My reading of it is that for the entirety of The Deathly Hallows, The Malfoy family have a better appreciation of the situation they're in, as Death Eaters and also as a family. The Malfoy parents have lived in civilized society as a family, occasionally having fun playing rough with rivals, and revelling in the dark glamour of their old connections to Voldemort's reign of terror (from the first time around).

    But they realize that it's just not the same, when Voldemort returns. They care about each other as a family, and are not fanatical like Bellatrix about sacrificing their loved ones for the Dark Lord's cause. Draco faces the prospect of being forced to murder, and this reveals a truth about his character: despite all his cruel boasting and talk, killing is something different. His father still has a nastiness about him, most pronounced in The Order of the Phoenix when he leads a party of Death Eaters in a potentially murderous attack on school aged witches and wizards at the Ministry of Magic.

    In the end, though, Voldemort plays games with their loyalty to him, versus their love for the family they've been for years. For mother and son, it's no contest; there's an interesting mislead when Narcissa beckons Draco to leave the Hogwarts contingent, Draco's hesitation is because of how it looks superficially; ultimate he crosses over because his mother is there waiting for him, he is not crossing the lines as a show of support for Voldemort.

    When the fighting breaks out, they all slip away; it doesn't matter who wins, Voldemort can go hang for all they care, and mother and son don't look back even once. We see Lucius take one last look back, the last remnant of divided loyalty, a final remembrance of when it had been good, worth it. But he's hot on the heels of his wife and son, he is choosing family even as he looks back.

    That's just what I read into the scene, I found it very moving.

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