‘Harry Potter’: A wonderful end to the spell

(L-r) EMMA WAT­SON as Her­mi­one Granger, DANIEL RAD­CLIFFE as Harry Pot­ter and RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weas­ley in Warner Bros. Pic­turesÕ fantasy ad­ven­ture ÒHARRY POT­TER AND THE DEATHLY HAL­LOWS Ð PART 2,Ó a Warner Bros. Pic­tures re­lease.

Muggles, grab your in­vis­ib­il­ity cloaks and your dark-rimmed, round spec­tacles and head to the theat­er.

It’s the end of era. The re­lease of Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows: Part 2 means tears if you’re the sen­ti­ment­al type, cheers if you’ve been with Harry, Her­mi­one and Ron all the way, and say­ing good­bye to those kids you watched grow up over eight movies dur­ing the past 10 years.

I was pleased that HP 7.2 is a good deal short­er than Part 1. The books are long, but a four-and-a-half-hour movie to tell a single story (com­bin­ing the run time of the two films) is push­ing it for me.

The ul­ti­mate battle of good versus evil fi­nally cul­min­ates in HP 7.2. Once again, there is no back story or ex­plan­a­tion. The movie jumps right in where Part 1 ended with Harry (Daniel Rad­cliffe) and his bud­dies, Her­mi­one (Emma Wat­son) and Ron (Rupert Grint), still look­ing for the sev­en Hor­cruxes (dark ma­gic­al ob­jects) that he needs to take down the evil Lord Vol­de­mort once and for all. 

Search­ing for the Hor­cruxes really bogged down most of Part 1, which some­times was a bit too slow for my taste (hence it’s graded A- on my re­view back in Novem­ber). Since they’ve already found most of them, dir­ect­or Dav­id Yates was able to re­fo­cus the story to make it more ac­tion-based. In par­tic­u­lar, there are some en­joy­able battle scenes to­ward the end.

Vol­de­mort (Ral­ph Fiennes) and his fol­low­ers (known as Death Eat­ers) are also seek­ing to find and elim­in­ate Harry.

Each of the Harry Pot­ter movies has got­ten pro­gress­ively dark­er, and this one is the darkest, gloom­i­est movie yet. Even the Hog­warts School is a shell of its former self, look­ing war-torn and rav­aged. Only at the very end does the audi­ence fi­nally see some day­light.

Harry’s long­time foe, former pro­fess­or and cur­rent head­mas­ter Sever­us Snape, rules the school, and act­or Alan Rick­man really rocks his scenes, just as he has in all of the movies. 

Snape is one of those char­ac­ters the audi­ence has loved to hate over the years. By the end, all of that dis­like will be for­got­ten. Snape’s scenes in HP 7.2 are some of the most emo­tion­ally mov­ing in the movie.

Minor char­ac­ters such as Neville Long­bot­tom (Mat­thew Lewis), Luna Love­good (Evanna Lynch) and Bel­lat­rix Lestrange (Helena Bon­ham Carter) have small but im­port­ant roles. Harry’s ment­or, Pro­fess­or Al­bus Dumble­dore (Mi­chael Gam­bon), shows up in flash­backs.

One of the best things about Harry Pot­ter is that it nev­er really ex­per­i­enced any kind of se­quel slump that be­falls many movies. The movies also fare well in com­par­is­on to the books. Rad­cliffe, Wat­son and Grint have grown more con­fid­ent in their roles with every movie; they really seem like true friends. 

Au­thor J.K. Rowl­ing first cast a spell on audi­ences in 1997 with the re­lease of Harry Pot­ter and the Philo­soph­er’s/ Sor­cer­er’s Stone. She and the vari­ous movie dir­ect­ors have man­aged to make words like Quid­ditch, but­ter­beer, hor­cruxes and Muggles seem like every­day ver­nacu­lar. Sev­en books, eight movies and 14 years later, it’s fi­nally time for the spell to be broken. ••

Movie Grade: A

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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