Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 3D (12A)
From a safe house on the coast via Gringott’s Bank to a climactic battle at Hogwarts versus the ultimate evil, the finale to the Harry Potter saga never stops.
This is a thrill-a-minute rollercoaster ride as the boy wizard and his chums prepare to face Voldemort and his legions in a struggle that will seal the fate of mankind.
From the early days of Harry’s entry into Hogwarts to his stand-off with the dark lord, the Potter movies have grown progressively darker. In this last tale a state of civil war exists within the wizarding world that requires each person to choose sides.
For Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) it is the moment that he has been waiting for all his life. For Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes giving it big licks as a Shakespearian villain par excellence) it is a last chance to kill his nemesis.
Devotees of the books (and the films) will know that Harry, Hermione and Ron must seek out and destroy three Horcruxes that each contains part of Voldemort’s soul. Only then can he be defeated. To do so Harry must call on his friends to back him. It leads to the deaths of several central characters and a terrific face-off between good and evil in the shadow of the shattered school.
A vast cast of familiar faces brings closure to this series, though several seem to have not a lot to do. Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint drive the action onward with assistance from Maggie Smith (who smites oily colleague Alan Rickman), Matthew Lewis (who really comes into his own as Neville Longbottom) and Michael Gambon as a ghostly Dumbledore.
Screenwriter Steve Kloves makes the decision to tell a significant amount of his back story as a lengthy flashback that includes a deal made between two teachers that effectively seals Harry’s future.
There is a Narnian feel to a confrontation between Harry and Voldemort – it resembles Aslan giving himself to the White Witch. Even Conan Doyle makes his presence felt in a Reichenbach Falls moment that seems to have been plucked straight from The Final Problem. The push towards destroying Voldemort even has a whiff of Star Wars about it.
Like The Hobbit, this story had to be bifurcated into two films. Unlike the Lord of the Rings (and, one assumes, The Hobbit) it misses that vital epic feel. Perhaps that flaw is due to the weakness of Radcliffe’s performance; he was never the strongest actor.
However the power of the ensemble that surrounds him ensures that the tale reaches its conclusion with genuine punch, bringing the franchise to a conclusion that should satisfy all.