out of Five
Running time: 130
Continuing the darker and scarier tone set by the previous film, this delivers the action-packed finale fans have been hoping for and the required emotional kick, even if it can't quite convincingly pull off the various romantic couplings.
What's it all about?
Directed by David Yates, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part Two picks up immediately where the previous film left off, with Voldemort having found the Elder Wand (one of the Deathly Hallows – pay attention at the back there) and Snape (Alan Rickman) installed as the new head of Voldemort-controlled Hogwarts. Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) find another Horcrux (no, really, if you don't know now, it's best not to ask) and realise that in order to destroy the remaining two, they will have to return to Hogwarts and face off against Voldemort's forces of evil.
The main difference this time round (aside from one of the shortest running times of the series at a mere 130 minutes) is that the film has the 3D effects that were hastily dropped at the last minute for Part One. As such, they're pretty good, with a couple of nice things-jumping-out-at-you moments (mostly involving snakes and dragons), though there's so much going on that the 3D is largely superfluous.
Splitting the final film in two pays off handsomely, because it allows 7.2 to be pretty much all-out-action from the get-go, with Yates orchestrating some terrific action scenes and set-pieces, such as the escape from Gringott's bank or a fiery chase scene in the Room of Requirement. The performances are excellent too (Radcliffe delivers his best performance of the series so far), with Rickman the obvious stand-out – his flashback scenes and final moments are genuinely moving, while a couple of the supporting characters also get their chances to shine, most notably Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom.
The main problem, as with most of the previous films, is that several of the best moments in the books get brushed over too quickly (for example, the duel between Molly Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange), but even with that in mind, it seems a bit unfair to deny audiences the comedy gold of watching Emma Watson change into Helena Bonham Carter; as a result, that entire sequence isn't nearly as much fun as it should have been.
Similarly, the film finally has to face up to the fact that there's just no chemistry between Grint and Watson or between Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright (as Ginny Weasley), so the supposedly emotional romantic couplings are unconvincing and actually rather embarrassing to watch.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is a fitting and enjoyable end to the Harry Potter series, delivering both genuinely moving emotional moments and superb action scenes. Recommended.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (M)