Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 picks up immediately after the previous film. Dobby has died, and Harry and company must find the remaining horcruxes in order to make Voldemort mortal again so he can be defeated. Voldemort has gathered his supporters, and they are marching toward Hogwarts.
I really enjoyed this film. The pacing throughout it worked very well, with everything coming together nicely at the climax of the film. I especially loved how several of the secondary characters were given heroic roles. My favorite was that of Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), who got to participate directly in the defeating of Voldemort, and thereby avenged his parents’ deaths. Neville and Luna are my two favorite secondary characters in the books and in the films.
The soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was composed by Alexandre Desplat, who also did the soundtrack for Part 1. I really enjoyed how music from a number of the previous films really worked to tie everything together. Mai Fujisawa, daughter of one of my favorite composers, Joe Hisaishi, also worked on the soundtrack (she performed “Lily’s theme”). Desplat really invoked a sense of urgency in this score, mixing together the despair and hope felt by the characters throughout the film.
The special effects were off the chart. From the protective shield spell to the golems used to protect Hogwarts, the effects teams had their hands full in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Nagini was more realistic than in previous films, too, which helped with all the scenes in which she appeared. The destruction of Hogwarts felt entirely real, and it was very hard to tell that it was mostly digital damage (and digital background sets).
I also liked how the Malfoys were portrayed. Narcissa was only concerned about her son, which lent a human element to the terrible things done by Lucius. It also showed that evil never supports its own in the end, which is a good lesson to see in film. Yes, yes, “honor among thieves,” which is not actually true when things get down to the wire. Voldemort regularly turned on his own followers, killing them, manipulating them, and so on. Lucius was right to be scared to death for the whole film. I really hope Draco learned from his father’s mistakes.
Contrasted with Dumbledore and his ragtag “army,” it is very clear to see why good triumphed. So much more can be accomplished by truly caring about each other, and that point was driven home over and over in this film. Caring enough to sacrifice yourself in order to bring about the destruction of really nasty people is a hard thing to do. Since Harry knew he likely would not live through it, it took some real strength of character and faith to go out to face Voldemort.
In the end, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ranks right up there with Chamber of Secrets, perhaps even edging it out as my favorite of the eight films. It provided a very satisfying conclusion to an excellent film series. I plan to rewatch this series regularly, and one day introduce it to my kids.
Release Date: July 15, 2011 (UK/USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: 1 (minor)
Violence: 3 (some brutal violence, wizard battles, death)