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A Fitting Farewell

After making the tough decision to avoid the late night crowd and attempt to fit in a non-festival film during the Indianapolis International Film Festival, my wife and I made what felt like a last minute decision to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Around 6:00, we decided to start checking for tickets and pondering a nap prior to the showing. After searching our first three choices of theater, we found out that there were no tickets available for any of the combined thirty screenings. I was disappointed that we couldn’t go but a bit relieved. In what I can only assume was a final effort, my wife remembered a theater that we don’t normally frequent, she picked up a pair of tickets for a 12:01 showing.

Rather than catch some sleep, as a sane person would have, it was determined that we would watch Part 1 to get in the mood (for the second part, geez, is that all you think about?).

When we arrived at the theater, I did not expect the number of people that were out at 11:00 at night. I did, however, expect more costumed attendees. There were a few Harrys and several Gryffindor scarves and ties, but those in costume; I could count on both hands. It appeared that those that had grown up with Potter had in fact, grown up.

The film begins a few moments before Part 1 ends when Voldemort obtains the elder wand. Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue on their mission to track down and destroy the last three remaining horcruxes. Director David Yates draws us, once again, into the world of wizards on the brink of war, the battle of good against evil.

Even though most of the characters looked the same as they did in Part 1, I was struck by how much everyone has grown up. Of course, not everyone was with us from the beginning, but a great many of the actors have grown up or aged, as I know I have over the course of the past ten years. The fact that so many have been with the films since the beginning or near the beginning is testament to the cultural impact of Harry Potter. Love it or hate it, Rowling’s creations have a place in our society and I believe that is due, in part, to being able to identify with the characters. Unfortunately, this film was where I stopped being able to identify with Harry. I don’t necessarily count that as a negative. If character identification was necessary for film enjoyment, I would have written off many drama or adventure flicks. I think it is Harry’s ascent to the place as the one who defeats evil that made identifying with him difficult. This time, I more identified with Ron or Neville.

If you read the books, you know the plot. If you haven’t, you don’t want to hear the finer points from me. From this point, there will be minor spoilers, but nothing that should ruin any enjoyment you receive out of this film.

I loved the dragon (shown in the trailer); for me, it was perfect. I especially enjoyed the movement and behavior of the dragon. By comparison, we get to see some serious magic in this film. I enjoyed the way they paired magical and non-magical combat. I understand this has been done in previous films, but not on the same scale. The end brought tears and some laughter, though not at the same time. I think the film lingered on the sad bits long enough, but not too long as to break those that don’t normally cry at movies. I’m not going to say that I didn’t roll a tear, but it wasn’t a cry fest for me, even in the saddest moments.

If you liked Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, you will probably like Part 2. If you have spent the past ten years complaining about all of the things they left out of the books, maybe you should skip this one.

How much would I pay to see this again? Out of $10, I would pay $10. Maybe it’s part nostalgia, but I found it a fitting end to a decade of Potter.

Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? podcast

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  1. Kedj says:

    @RO Ooor the Weasley’s family ginger gene is supercharged w/ magic! @HK, musta been really brief cause I missed it. Doesn’t help that I haven’t seen the actor for Percy in such a long time, and even then is was only fleeting in the Half-Blood Prince. 🙁 @Josh I did REALLY enjoy the battle for Hogwarts though, that didn’t need to be changed, I agree the Boathouse did seem like a better place for Snape’s death. The wand thing really does annoy me though, seems like a crap end for such an old wand, especially when they show that the wands are sentient. And emotions CAN be conveyed it’s called ACTING! These people have been doing it for at least 10 years, should be good at it by now. :p

  2. RO says:

    Great finale’ I thought as well, but did anyone else catch this “nerdist’d” tidbit? Hermione and Ron’s kids were gingers. The ginger gene is recessive so this movie finally revealed that Hermione is a ginger gene carrier (or she’s not the mother).

  3. Josh says:

    I loved it. I thought the changes from the book were appropriate for its adaptation into a film. All the little bits they kept out that seem to be annoying people would have been tedious and bogged down a film and they might have even been confusing to people who never read the books. People need to remember that books cannot translate 100% to film. In books, we can plainly read characters’ thoughts and emotions and you just can’t do that on screen. And little details that the printed word allows just can’t be carried over to film with the same effect. I love the Battle of Hogwarts in the book, but I think it would have been somewhat slow if translated exactly into film since most of it is lost in Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s adventure. The visual medium requires things to be much more dynamic than a book can provide. The new/expanded Battle of Hogwarts was amazing and I loved every second of it. It was brought out of the background and made the star of the show. And I REALLY loved the new scene in the Great Hall before Snape fled. Maggie Smith rocks my socks.

    Again, I think the little alterations and deviations from the book made it work great as a film. Even the new fate of the Elder Wand worked, I think. And Snape’s death was brilliant. Why does the where matter? In fact, I think the movie’s version is BETTER. Why would Voldemort be all the way in the Shrieking Shack? The film showed him personally leading the initial attack. Of course he’d be commanding his forces from somewhere on the castle grounds. I thought the boathouse was a great location.

    Just my two cents’ worth.

  4. HK says:

    @ Kedj You do see Percy briefly a few times, one being I believe when they are all outside gathered when Voldemort is talking to them.

    I wasn’t as big on Deathly Hallows Pt. 1, but I was glad to see how much better Pt. 2 was and how much we got from the book. This movie was closer to the book than many of the previous movies have been, especially after their atrocious job on the Half Blood Prince. They touched on most of the major plot points, and it was exciting to see everyone back, even the tiny glimpses of minor characters in the Room of Requirement like Oliver Wood, Lavender Brown, etc. Neville was bad ass, which is what we all needed, and damn I love so many of the adult actors including Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Alan Rickman, etc. Speaking of Mr. Rickman, his work was AMAZING – especially the flashbacks.

    The ending with the trio and the wand was a little uneven and I was really hoping for the resolution of fixing Harry’s wand and seeing Dumbledore’s portrait at the end. Which reminds me, seeing Dumbledore again at King’s Cross was no where near as emotional as in the book, and that was also a bit disappointing.

    All in all, I really enjoyed the movie and it left me pretty melancholy for the rest of the day after seeing it. I’ve read all the books several times and I love the story. Seeing the final on screen really brought it to the end.

  5. Rachel says:

    I enjoyed the movie but I am still wondering why they bothered leaving out the whole Grindelwald/Dumbledore back story.

  6. jake says:

    I am annoyed at how they changed the timeline around, and *spoiler* where snape died kinda was stupid. More SPOILERS, why did they hardly use the invisibility cloak? they didn’t even mention that his cloak was a hallow. For Hallows being the title of the movie, they were in it less than this much (squeezes fingers together). Everything in the movie fit, but it was annoying and to me far less epic than the book.

  7. Kedj says:

    For me it was a $6.75, which is what I payed for my hometown matinee. I’m one of the book readers that find the movies ruin the characters w/ what they leave out. The fact that they left out Harry’s choice to talk to the goblin first as to say he’s not racing for the elder wand was a big thing, as well as him finding out more about Dumbledore. Also him giving Tom the chance to repent was a VERY big thing about his character. Drawing out Neville’s destruction of the snake was a weird choice to me as well as having Petunia call Lily a freak but not show that she was in awe of the magic, o r show that Petunia wanted to go to Hogwarts as well that showed far more of the character, made her real. More complaints, no Grawp, the fact that Harry talked to Hermione and Ron about killing the snake instead of Neville, the fact that Harry broke the elder wand instead of using it to fix his and place it back in Dumbledore’s sarcophagus. little stuff that made these characters but turned the movie into a rush that irritated me. Course I did enjoy seeing all the spells flying, giants attacking, spiders skittering, oh and no Percy! The spiders reminded me that we didn’t see Percy come back crack jokes while protecting Hogwarts w/ his brothers. Also I don’t recall reading anything about the bridge being destroyed. Did like the Piertotum Locomotor spell, very well done. Many may disagree, but I felt annoyed w/ a lot of these later movies, especially since the last 2 books were my favorite.