Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part Two" by J.K. Rowling - a contemporary movie review by Robert Steven Mack

In the ripe old year of 1997, a phenomenon was born; his name simple but direct was Harry Potter.

J.K. Rowling began writing the first in a series of record-breaking books about a young wizard in 1995. Seven years before it was published: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, aka Sorcerers Stone, in America. It was soon to be adapted into a film released on November 4, starring the relatively unknown British child actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson… whose wealth and fame exceeds that of the wildest imagination. With a multi-mega-popular series came the books and with the books came the movies. How faintly I can remember when the sixth and pen-ultimate book was about to come out.

While still quite young, I don't think I've ever seen such a fuss over a book. Somehow I don't think we ever will again! I also remember reading the first and second book in a day. They were so superbly written, with such class, elegance, humor, yet whimsy. It is not so difficult to see why Harry Potter has made the permanent mark it has in literature. I read the third book and loved it! While the other books I believe have a slightly different feel to them as the countdown begins, I am very fond of all the books. I was furthermore enchanted by the first film, and Imust praise Chris Columbus’ slick filmmaking and the performances of both, the lead and supporting cast. Chris Columbus got the film series off to a fine start. He got it going again with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Both are quite lighthearted and innocent compared to the later films. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” directed by Alfonso Curtan, is a stylish yet somewhat darker film than its predecessors. It is noteworthy that the first two movies are in a matter of tone and style different from the films to come. The fourth film based on the book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was directed by Mike Newell and featured the return of Voldemort. I do recall reading about the planned release of the final three films in '08.

Yesterday, on July 15, 2011 the saga ended as the last of the Potter films were released. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” begins subtly and quietly. You sense no triumph nor glory - only defeat and loss. We are reminded of the events of “The Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” the long journey, the unbearable tragedy, and only to be reminded that it will continue. Still, the lonely subdued tone from Part 1 gradually transforms into a triumphant preparation for “the show-down of a smile” which will form on your face as you settle into your seat, ready for the ride of your lifetime. As the movie plot builds, we get to see old friends with new faces. Mathew Lewis as Neville Longbottom returns for this film as a heroic supporter of Harry and somewhat of a leader of the Hogwarts clan. So does Evvana Lynch as Luna Lovegood. As the film carries on, the tension builds. It moves with dignity and class. The epic final battle is one to remember, and by this time the film has build up an incredible amount of steam and let it go…

In summary, the film, loaded with magic and bravado, is sure to meet your highest expectations on a boundless journey to defeat Voldemort once and for all! The story-line is well-crafted and well-executed, exploding on the screen with imagination and heart. It is almost hard to imagine the time and effort put into the film by its players and makers. The special effects will surely dazzle the eyes and the performances are too good to describe. The plot plays out in front of you like an opera of epic proportions, while seemingly effortless the effects, direction, and acting of the films by many creditable players is incredibly moving and openly touching.

My honored father asked me in the car while driving home Sunday after we viewed the film a second time (the first was on Friday July 15, 2011) that with all the fuss, and big headlines lines urging us to see the film and all and asked me if I thought it was worth it. I truthfully replied that it was worth it and more. In truth, I believe this to be the biggest understatement to have ever come out of my mouth! I also told my father that although seeing films in 3-D is usually not my first option, that I was more willing to see the movie as such at a 3rd screening...

As a side note, Matthew Lewis's performance does stand out as one of the most rewarding to see, as we witness that bumbling fool we knew turn into a hero of extraordinary proportions. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grunt give performances that I believe will be regarded in Hollywood cinema history years from now as some of the finest. Maggie Smith, Evanna Lynch, Tom Felton, Michael Gabon, Helena Boham Carter, Ralf Finnes, Julie Walters, Alan Rickman among the other players who contributed so much to this film. Although I was not entirely impressed with the afterlude that introduces us to Harry’s off-spring – who simply did not seem to be quite the Harry-type and I suppose that beside bad casting they should have focused more on the children…but this is but the only small detail that I found wrong in this film and I can barley tell you how much I enjoyed it.

The action just right, the humor while realistically accurate and clever when sometimes devious is more than you can ask for of a "Grande Finale." The experience pampers the viewer with effects beyond reality, acting beyond technicalities and a story based on the final book in a series of majestic realms. The film delivers a stunning breathtaking edge-of-your-seat adventure of both beauty and style. In short, “Harry and The Deathly Hallows, Part 2” is a ravishing conclusion to a truly epic series that will put a satisfied smile on your face. Copyright 2011 by Robert Steven Mack (all rights reserved!)

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