God bless the kids who can follow this whole story. The books have several thousand pages more mythology than Lord of the Rings, and the movies have 6-7 hours more than even the extended cuts. The final Harry Potter movie had more action so I liked it. The real fans will love it.
Still looking for the final horcruxes, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) return to Hogwarts. The school defends itself against the final attack of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) while Harry searches for the last piece of his backstory that will reveal how to finally kill his nemesis.
The siege of Hogwarts gives Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II real momentum. The forces of evil wizards keep progressing closer as the students fortify themselves. This film’s flying broom chase is more thrilling than any game of Quidditch before. There’s some stellar dragon action too, and it’s hardcore. He fries some goblins.
The character moments are effective too. Snape’s (Alan Rickman) final action, Professor McGonagall’s (Maggie Smith) defense of the students, Harry’s final face-off against Draco (Tom Felton) all have serious dramatic weight. The kisses feel genuinely romantic, although a few supporting characters who I didn’t know get killed. That will upset the true fans more than me.
I still zone out when Dumbledore’s brother (Ciaran Hinds) starts explaining but that’s minimal in the finale. It’s almost a good thing to have a lousy Deathly Hallows Part I to get all the explaining out of the way, and leave all the good parts for kick-ass Part II.
The visual effects seem to be at their peak. Maybe the 3D hides the seams, but the stone guards, the light blasts attacking the Hogwarts shield and the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw (Kelly Macdonald) all look fully ingrained in the scene and believable.
The epilogue totally works. It’s heartwarming, and the age makeup is so minimal it looks more like kids pretending, which fits the denouement of the child wizard franchise. I can’t wait to have kids and show them all eight movies. They’ll ask me questions and I’ll be like, “I don’t know, you’re watching the same movie as me.” I’ll show them Labyrinth and Neverending Story first, but then the eight Harry Potters.