I can’t believe it’s over. After years of running to see the latest Harry Potter movie in the theatre, we’re here at the end of the saga, and there won’t be another one. That makes me feel terribly sad, and I know I’m not the only one to feel this way.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch the last installment in the Harry Potter series and I will share some thoughts on the film here. Here is a warning that ‘there be spoilers ahead’ so if you haven’t yet watched the film (regardless of whether or not you’ve read the books), you can stop reading here. But if you have watched the last movie, read on.
When the film started with Snape standing in Hogwarts, with the very emotionally captivating ‘Lily’s Theme’ playing for the opening credits, I knew I was watching something historical. Snape is undoubtably one of the best characters in the series (books or movies) and to start with him for the first time in HP film history was a good move.
Our story picks up from where it left us the last time. Voldemort has taken Dumbledore’s wand from his tomb and this wand happens to be a part of the Deathly Hallows and is the most powerful wand in existence (the Elder Wand).
At the other end, Harry and his friends are trying to work out where the other Horcruxes are. A Gringotts break-in with the goblin Griphook helps them get through Bellatrix’s vault (where they suspect another Horcrux is lying – and they are right). The trio then head to Hogwarts to destroy the other Horcrux (after Harry has discovered from his ‘visions’, that the other Horcrux is in the school somewhere).
As Harry destroys one after another Horcrux, witnesses Snape’s demise, collects Snape’s memories and then goes into them, he realises that he is the last Horcrux and that he must sacrifice himself so that Voldemort can be defeated.
We then go through some epic battles and pretty scary moments before we reach the heart-tugging ending.
Before I move onto my thoughts about this film, let me first say that I loved the film, but somehow I was also slightly disappointed. And here is why.
Yes, the beginning was definitely good. We had Snape, Dobby’s grave, and then Harry questioning Ollivander about the Deathly Hallows. In fact, I thought the film was quite alright until the trio proceeded to Hogwarts.
Firstly I don’t know why the ‘feel’ of this film was so different from its predecessors. Somehow I did not find a connection between Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Deathly Hallows Part 2 in terms of ‘mood’. Of course, the story is connected, but in terms of ‘feel’ it felt as though some other director had made this film.
One of the problems I had with the film is that it felt too rushed. There was very little time to actually get over one situation and then move to another. I agree that David Yates had to pack in a lot of information into this one because Part 1 doesn’t really reveal anything. So in Part 2, there was everything to explain, from the remaining Horcruxes to Snape’s story, to the Deathly Hallows. However, I think that better pacing was required to make the film more emotional and keeping the film longer would have worked well.
Whereas Part 1 took its time and had some emotional scenes (including Hermione casting the ‘Obliviate’ spell on her parents, Harry visiting his parents’ graves, and Dobby’s death), Part 2 does not wait for you to reflect on such moments.
I thought that the rushed pacing in this film contributed to less emotional value. Yes I cried when Snape was killed but Voldemort’s voice took over immediately after that, leaving little time to take it in. I wish Yates had made the film longer and spent more time on some of these other central characters, because, after all, it is the last film.
Snape, who is probably the most complex character in the series, gets a short farewell, and his memories, though emotional, are simply not long enough. Let’s not forget Fred’s death and Tonks and Lupin’s deaths as well. I wish there had been a better goodbye for them as well as they are central characters (well at least Fred is in the films). Instead we don’t see what happens moments before their deaths, and we are unaware of how they died.
Secondly, I feel that though Harry is the namesake of the series, it doesn’t mean that he is the only important character. Though the previous films show his friendship with Ron and Hermione as extremely crucial to the series, in this film I felt that Ron and Hermione ended up being almost secondary characters. There was too much focus on their falling in love, which is alright, but it isn’t the only thing. It is almost as if they became a different team after falling in love.
For instance, after Voldemort is defeated and Harry walks into Hogwarts, I expected Ron and Hermione to run and hug Harry, but the two were simply holding hands. After being childhood friends, I would expect them to be completely ecstatic to see that Harry is alright and that he has defeated Voldemort. In short, Ron and Hermione were important, but Harry overshadowed them greatly. I mean all of this in terms of filmmaking and not the story itself.
Also, I don’t know why Voldemort seemed less menacing in this film. He’s been scary since The Goblet of Fire and in this film, he does not even seem that frightening. Since I haven’t read the 7th book, I don’t know if this was an intentional decision, but I found Voldemort more intimidating in Part 1.
One other issue I had with the film is that we were introduced to some interesting mysterious questions about Dumbledore and his family which were built up during Bill and Fleur’s wedding in DH Part 1. However, Part 2 film does not really answer those questions. I know it is pretty impossible to pack in all details, but introducing a concept and leaving it hanging is kind of frustrating. The last film also had Grindelwald making an appearance, but in this movie there is no further elucidation.
Leaving that aside, I have to admit that the epilogue sequence made me cry, with the Platform 9 3/4 part being identical to the scene from The Philosopher’s Stone. They even had John Williams’ Leaving Hogwarts track playing there.
I have mixed emotions about this film, and though I would never say that it is a bad film, I wouldn’t rate it as the best Potter movie ever. I still think that position belongs to Prisoner of Azkaban, followed by The Deathly Hallows Part 1.
I think DH Part 2 could have been a lot better. Also, I suppose that the fact that I’ve read all the books except The Deathly Hallows could also have contributed to this ‘incomplete’ feeling.
Having said that, I will miss the Harry Potter film series tremendously, and I’m sure this film requires another watch. Hopefully I’ll like it more the second time around.
And now that this is all finally over, I, like many fans, grieve the end of such a wonderful story. It is difficult to imagine that such a thing has finally come to pass and I cannot help but remember the first time I stepped into the Harry Potter universe and was welcomed there. Jo Rowling is a genius and there is no way I can express my gratitude. Thanks to Rowling for these lovely books, and thank you to 4 different directors and 2 different screenwriters for bringing the books to life.
The end is finally here. But before I go back to my tears and get ready for a bittersweet goodbye, I’d like to say one last thing:
“It is an honour to have lived and loved at the time of Harry Potter.”