Let me make one thing clear: I’m too old to see the midnight showing of anything. Even seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II Thursday night at midnight was arguably a mistake. One: Too many teenagers. Two: No good seats. Three: I have to pay to see it again because I missed some of the lines. Okay, now that we’re clear …
I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II Thursday night at midnight, and it took me days to recover. (No, the movie wasn’t bad; it was brilliant, actually.) I had to recover from a creeping, overwhelming depression. Being in the woods beside Bear Canyon Lake for the last three days helped. I could even pretend I was camping out with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. But I was still really depressed. Like … really.
I’m better today. Again, camping helped, as did lots of good beer. I’ve had time to think back on Deathly Hallows Part II, and the general conclusion is that it was not my favorite Harry Potter film. Although they’re back at Hogwarts for half of it, the easy answer is, I miss the innocence of the first four films. Deathly Hallows Part I and Part II are heavy, heavy, heavy. I expected to cry, and I don’t like going into a movie expecting to cry.
To recap: in Deathly Hallows Part I, Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave Hogwarts and head off into the woods in search of Lord Voldemort’s missing Horcruxes (items that hold pieces of the dark lord’s soul). In order to kill Voldemort, they have to kill the Horcruxes first. Much of Part I takes place in the woods. It’s depressing, especially when one of my favorite characters dies at the end. Part II starts right after this favorite character’s death. The hunt for the Horcruxes continues, culminating in the battle to save Hogwarts, along with the lives of every character in the series.
JK Rowling had a hell of a task before her, ending the Harry Potter missive. She did a great job in the books, so how did director David Yates fare? As good as he always does, of course. He did a great job with imagery, actor-coaching, and plot flow. The movie is not slow, but it also doesn’t move too fast. A lot happens in the last Harry Potter, and Yates miraculously fits it all in.
What makes Harry Potter movies work so well is the comedy and the romance. No matter how awful things get, there are still moments of laughter. One of my favorite lines in Deathly Hallows Part II is from Neville Longbottom: “Have you seen Luna? I have to tell her I love her; we’ll probably both be dead by morning.” We have watched these kids grow into adults; this final film is the culmination of their development—the teenage love, the bravery, and the realization of their mortality.
Daniel Radcliffe blew me away. The boy who could barely act in Sorcerer’s Stone has become an emotive genius. Most of the times I felt the need to sob uncontrollably happened after a dramatic camera angle right in his face. He is and will always be Harry Potter to me. This may be a deterrent to his acting career, but he nailed it, as did Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) and Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), most notably.
I can’t tell you much more about the plot, because I don’t want to give anything away for you non-reading folk. I will say the battle scenes were akin to the best firework show I’ve ever seen. The script was well-written and manageable, even if you haven’t read the books. The actors did stellar jobs, and “catharsis” is an understatement in regards to this emotional roller-coaster of a film. It was just like I pictured it would be. In that, I would like to congratulate everyone involved for a job well done.
The Harry Potter series is now complete. The books are done; the movies are done. The children are now adults, and they’re off doing things like Broadway. Where does that leave the rest of us? We are Hogwarts alumni, too. We also feel as though we’ve been fighting Lord Voldemort for ten years, which is maybe why I was so exhausted Friday morning.
Now, it’s time to graduate, get married, have babies (or puppies, in my case) … but let us not forget Harry Potter: the lonely kid who taught us dedication to friends, astounding bravery, and the beauty of imagination and magic—at any age.