Cast: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), Ollivander (John Hurt), Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs), Helena Ravenclaw (Kelly Macdonald), Professor Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Remus Lupin (David Thewlis)
Director: David Yates
Theatrical release: 07/15/2011 DVD Date: 11/11/2011
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 130 minutes
Note(s): The screenplay was adapted from the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.
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Review: Sometime over the past decade — from the release of the first Harry Potter movie to, well, now — the producers of these film adaptations and I parted ways, entertainment-wise. I can't really say when it was — it was likely a gradual transition — but I can say with certainty that I greatly enjoyed the first films in the series, and have been very disappointed in the most recent ones.
I found the first part of "Deathly Hallows" to be tedious, accomplishing very little in well over two hours of screen time. I had hopes that the second and final part — also the final film of the series — would be better and I have to say, it is. It doesn't compare favorably to any of the early films, but Part 2 is a significant improvement over Part 1, due in no small part to the fact that it is far more briskly paced and comes in at under 2 hours. (The listed running time of 130 minutes includes over 10 minutes of titles and credits.)
It's probably pointless to do a plot summary here, as everyone will have seen the the previous film and will know what's going on; no one is likely to start fresh with this one, nor should they. But be advised: I may include some spoilers below, so if you haven't seen the film and don't want to know how it ends, read no further!
The action picks up where Part 1 ended, with Harry and his friends searching for the remaining horcruxes. Several backstories lead Harry to the inescapable conclusion that, if he is to save everyone he knows, it is not enough to simply destroy the horcruxes; he must allow Voldemort to kill him.
I think my disappointment in this film — and several that precede it — is that somewhere along the way the producers — and I include here the directors and screenwriters — lost the magic that is Harry Potter. The latter books are dark, to be sure, but dark doesn't necessarily mean dreary and depressing. But that's what the producers here seem to think "dark" means. The action scenes seem overly staged and aren't visually exciting. Worse, there's no joy or wonder in this film; indeed, even the characters express no feeling of happiness or excitement or relief when Voldemort is killed. Probably the only touching moments are shown in the epilogue that takes place 19 years after Harry defeats Voldemort.
I suspect most people will see this film for the same reason I did; I had seen all the others and wanted to bring some closure to the process. But like its predecessor, I don't recommend it as a one-off viewing; see instead any of the early films in the series and be awed by what once was a terrific series.