Saturday, 15 March 2014

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011)

"You've been raising him like a pig to the slaughter!"

And so it ends. At last. Deep breath.

It's no secret that I preferred the earlier films in this franchise, more whimsical and childlike in their charm and the fun they have with the concept of a school for spellcasters. I didn't exactly welcome the shift into being Big, Serious and Epic. Still, I supplies by this point it had to happen. And, to be fair, it really really works.

We begin on a downer, after Dobby's recent death, and the whole effect of the cinematography, the colours and the mood of the film is to tell us this. Harry and his friends have such a steep, uphill calm ahead of them. 

There are still a good few Horcruxes to go; I've lost count. And there's also another MacGuffin, the Sword of Gryffindor, which now falls into Harry's possession. If that isn't enough, there's Draco Malfoy's wand, now loyal to Harry. And there are, of course, the three eponymous deathly hallows: the elder wand (Voldemort's), the invisibility cloak (already Harry's) and the resurrection stone. That's a lot of MacGuffins.

The scene in the bank vaults, with the besuited goblin scribes, is visually beguiling, reminding me for some reason of the sort of thing we tended to see during Walt Simonson's amazing run on Thor back in the '80s. If that isn't enough, we get to see a dragon, first guarding treasure and then being ridden all over London. Awesome.

But the focus, inevitably, has to turn back to Hogwarts, where Snape truly seems to have instituted a reign of terror. Much violence ensues there, but a Horcrux is ultimately destroyed. There's a big, epic fight but, more importantly, Harry and Ginny finally kiss. At this point we know they're going to be together. Aaah!

There is still one last Horcrux, though: Voldemort's snake. There's also a boy revelation: Snape is killed by Voldemort, and it conspires thatcher was secretly a goody all along, inspired by his love for Harry's mother, and that killing Dumbledore was always part of Dumbledore's plan. I knew it! Not only that, but the Malfoys were always in on it, too. That I was not expecting.

But, ominously, Harry must die for Voldemort to be destroyed: it seems he always was a sacrificial lamb, which puts Dumbledore and other "goodies" in quite a different light. 

However, a dream Dumbledore has a way out, and rumours of Harry's death have been much exaggerated. And Neville Longbottom, no less, is positively inspiring. Harry's return turns the tide; I never thought I'd ever see Helena Bonham Carter being killed by Julie Walters. Voldemort dies at the "hands" of his own wand, Neville kills the snake and gets the girl (Luna, in his case), and we flash forward a generation to see everyone with age make-up.

I hate to say it, not liking my Potters to be too epic, but that was bloody brilliant, with the plot twists reaching absolute perfection. A triumph of an ending.

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