Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2


Harry Potter 7.2

Although Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was not one of my favorite novels in the Harry Potter series from J.K. Rowling, that didn't lower my expections for the pair of movies, particularly the one opening in theaters this weekend, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. After all, I didn't like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at all the first time I read it, and I thought the movie was better than the book overall (my review). And I did enjoy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, as you can see from my review last year. Still, I was wary of how the movie would be able to represent what I considered a very jumbled and confusing set of climactic sequences, not to mention an epilogue I could have done without.

I did enjoy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 while actually watching it -- but for days afterward, I found myself picking it apart in a way I haven't done with the previous movies, or at least not since the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I found rather rushed. In fact, some of the problems I had with this latest movie are the same ones I had with Goblet of Fire: the sacrifice of character time in favor of action and spectacle. (Hell, that's the problem with the first two movies as well, now that I think about it.)

For those of you who haven't read the book but would like a relatively spoiler-free summary, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 starts right where Part 1 left off, with only the most cursory reminder of where we were when we last saw Harry and the gang. There is no way you could watch this movie without having seen the others and no pretense that you should even bother. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) are still on the hunt for the Horcruxes, the objects that keep evil Lord Voldemort immortal. Their quest ultimately seems to point to Hogwarts, but will that help or hurt their magical friends and fellow students?

The movie is an improvement on the book in some ways -- in fact, I like an adaptation to digress from its source in a few interesting ways to surprise the readers while they're watching. Many sequences that seemed to go on a little long in the novel are admirably shortened, such as the plans to break into Gringotts and the novel's epilogue. The action overall moves continuously, and once the quest has started, there's barely time to draw a breath -- no stopping for long explanations, except for a sequence of flashbacks that could have ground the movie to a halt but is instead handled quite deftly.

The difficulty is that when you are condensing a large book into a movie that lasts just over two hours, of course you are dropping things by the wayside. This movie covers only the last third or so of the book but the problem still stands. And as with the previous movie, what writer Steve Kloves and director David Yates chose to cut were the times with supporting characters, the moments of compassion and affection. This might make sense on paper, but the whole point here is that this is a movie people have watched after enjoying these characters for seven previous films. That's why the filmmakers don't bother to set up the previous events for you. It's assumed that you know who all these people are and what they've been doing.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is just a shade over two hours long; I think it would not have disturbed the rhythm of the third act to have added just a little more time with the supporting characters, many of whom are relegated to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment onscreen. Professor Trelawney (Emma Thompson) has a brief but delightful moment in the book; here she pops up to do little more than have us wonder how much they paid Thompson to be on set for such a throwaway glimpse. Tonks and Lupin, Fred and George ... I would have rather seen slightly more of these characters in action and less of the unnecessarily long "setting up the defenses of the area" magic that looks very impressive in a theater but adds no value to the story itself.

In fact, the entire climactic battle sequence of the film is poorly filmed, with a focus on long shots of masses of people we don't know and don't care about. My cynical guess is that there's a longer version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 out there, which Warner is saving for a second theatrical release or an expensive Blu-ray box set, in an attempt to get as much money out of Harry Potter fans as possible. After all, look at the success of the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings adaptations. If this is true, it's unfortunate for the actual movie we are watching in theaters this weekend.

Only one new character gets significant screen time in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- Aberforth, played so well by Ciaran Hinds that I heard some audience members saying they thought that he was being played by the actor who plays Aberforth's nearest relative. Hinds is unrecognizable but he manages to create a compelling character in a few brief scenes. The rest of the cast is up to its usual high standards: despite my carping about not enough screen time for many supporting characters, I admit Maggie Smith gets some of the best moments in the movie.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a perfectly fine way to say goodbye to Harry and his friends. I think it could have been better, but I'm pleased the series has maintained a high quality and entertainment level throughout eight films.

I loved it, but had the same

I loved it, but had the same issue with how they cut out the secondary characters. I have a feeling they filmed more with them in battle. I'm sure everyone would have liked to see the DA members and Order battling with Death Eaters, as well as Bellatrix doing more during the battle. I just wonder how long we'll have to wait to see an extended version of the films. I would hope they would start it with the release of Part 2 by Christmas, but they'll probably just do a standard version. DH Part 2 is the one I want to see most in an extended version, though I'm sure they'll do it for all of them.

I have some quibbles...

...with the adaptation, not with your review. Excellent observation about the secondary characters. My quibble with the adaptation has to do with the scenes written for the movie that take place after Voldemort brings the supposedly dead Harry back to the castle. They delay the encounter between Neville and Nagini, while they add in the ridiculous flying/falling scene between Harry and Voldemort. Neither added to the film--in fact, I was quite worried that they'd decided to not allow Neville to deal with Nagini at all. Thank goodness they didn't skimp on the flashbacks, or the whole thing would have been a waste.

(We just watched part 1 again last night, and there what I missed most was Harry's internal conflict. I don't know how the film makers could have dealt with that differently. They used the other characters to express a little of it, but I don't think we see Harry struggling as much as we could.)

Despite my quibbles, I love the films as much as the books, just each in their own way. It's a great way to end it all. The 3D version is great, too. Nice to see that technology improving by leaps and bounds.


Lisa, I thought the same thing about Neville and Nagini ... sat there thinking, "If they give this to Ron or Harry I am going to be extremely pissed off." That was one moment where I did not need any extra surprise suspense that was not in the book.

Adam, I didn't even think about the fact that WB could release ALL the HP movies in extended editions in theaters. And then do a giant hideously expensive boxed set. My feeling was that they would just do a very long seventh/eighth movie, but I believe you should never underestimate a movie studio's ability to find another way to get more money from you.

Movie was good, but overall series were mediocre

I thought the movie was well done, although my problem with the movies has always been the way they extract the interesting portions, the heart-stopping information and the epic untanglements and throw them on the trash can. Many people praise prisoner of azkaban as one of the best films, but while reading the book, the setting is that Hogwarts is the most safe place on earth for harry anbd its even protected by dementors, and yet, Sirius Black manages to sneak in somehow. In the movie, they take away all that setting and diminish it to more about spells, effects and no backsotry is given to understand sirius better and the way the 4 marauders were friends and knew the school.

Same lame stuff happens on the 4th movie. The 5th one is actually the best adapted one in my opinion, and the 5th book is the book I like the least, although they still left out the entire profecy explanation, or they diminished it to a couple of lines.

Dont even get me started on Half Blood Prince. All the interesting stuff, revelations and backstories were cut off and the 2 most stupidedest memories were left on the movie. Nothing about inferis, about Voldemort's quest for objects and backsotry, nothing about horcruxes in amore detailed way, i dont know, it was imply dissappointing.

Deathly hallows part 1 was good although the most important part of the 7th book (which the movies completely miss) is that no one is safe and everything you think you knew about Dumbledore isnt actually true, Suddenly, you start learning that Dumbledore may have been a dark young person and nothing to what the reader used to think he was. The hallows are portrayed are real since the first moment in the movies, and in the books there is always doubt about wether they are legend or not until almost the very end.

Throughout the movies, there is one thing I hate about Voldemorts portrayal. He isnt portrayed as the cruel, temerary person he is in the books. The one scene that most closesly resembled to the real voldemort was on the Part 2 movie when he simply kills off a guy for saying "my lord" right after an horcrux was destroyed. The movies truly missed giving that essence to voldemort as he was not portrayed as dangerous and mortal as he should have been. They should have shown off more of his killings and random mad reactions killing people for no reason or torturing them.

In my opinion, the last movie (part 2) was great, but i think that WB put on a mediocre show simply because they knew that fans would still go watch them anyways. I do praise the Prince's Tale scene though, it was exquisitely done, but the thing is that a normal viewer who did not read the books wpould not have understood the importance of it because no backstory was ever developed to further detail characters in the books and so this great moment is captured very well and emotionally, but simply does not make sense from the perspective that it is not linked to anything said before in the movies. The Snape-Harry hate was never developed to understand why it existed or why Snape simply hated him so much and the setup is simply not right as to conclude his story with this scene... too many gaps in the story that would not make sense to the average person who knows nothing about the books but who has followed the movies all along..

The whole filmed series were dissapointingly made. I am glad its over, although I hope one day someone rmakes all of these movies and truly captures the essence of the real books and their characters, something that simply isnt done in any of these films even though there is plenty of oppotunity. Even Dumbledore being portrayed as someone who didnt know what was going on in the fourth movie, almost asking harry for advice, or even getting angry is not accurate at all. I wish they would stick with the books portrayal and I am all abot surprising deviations from the book, however, I am not against defiling the characters and personas establoished by the cannon as it happened thoughout the series.

Dissapointing, and I am glad its all over.


This movie was to be a totally lifechanging, emotional event and it was more of a "here you go, this is the last movie" feel. I obviously read the books, so I know the basis of how the movie should have went and I'm slightly disappointed. So many of the commercials for the movie made me pee my pants full of excitement and watching the movie put my hopes down. I wanted Mrs. Weasleys wonderful line to be more emotional, I wanted professor Macgonagal (yes I spelt it wrong, I'm on a phone) to have the flying tables and chairs, and I wanted little Reamus to be snogging a girl at the end, but there was just action and scenes with only the main characters. I love all of the supporting actors and they should have been portrayed stronger and more often. Yes, the main characters are insanely talented,and I love them for it, but I like Neville and Seamus and the Weasley twins too. I think every character should've been equal in acting, but we got the obvious characters rockin it on the big screen with the others behind. I really want to commend Snape on his acting. His role made the hair on my arms raise and made me happy :) if you haven't read the books and/or you don't plan to, then this would be pretty good, other than that, as Harry potter freak, I give it a 3.5/5. It's a exceptional plot with great actors, but they left out too much for my taste. (: