There was a lot to live up to. One could say that about every movie that came out in the Harry Potter series. Tackling such a beloved group of books would make any screenwriter and director cringe. From the beginning, it was important that the movie studio and all involved in the making of the movies get it right. There were more than just a few people whose obsession with the material would pick apart every mistake, every nuance of the film that didn’t match up exactly with the books. The question is, does the last installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 live up to what we Harry Potter fans expect?
It was tradition that my mom, grandfather and I would go opening day. We battled the crowds and folks who would dress up as their favorite character, thankfully, I was never one to cosplay, there were limits to my obsession. My grandfather never read any of the books, but he appeared to appreciate the movies for what they were and wanted to have a part in the hoopla, like the rest of us. My mom was like me, she read the books a couple of times or more and it was just recently that we both reread and watched the series before Part 1 of Deathly Hallows came out in theaters.
Now that I have seen the final movie, I believe they did a pretty good job. While watching, I thought about why a movie made from a book is either good or bad. In regards to Harry Potter I wondered why do I feel that this particular movie is good. I think it was relatively faithful to the source material, but I don’t think that alone makes it a good movie. In some cases it makes me wonder if a movie can be good if it’s faithful to the source. Why convert a book to a movie if a perspective isn’t going to be taken?
I recently watched a making of Harry Potter documentary on Bio. It went through each of the movies and talked with directors, producers and actors about the making of the movies. How each of the directors took a specific point of view and tried to put their individual stamp on the series, yet stay true to the story. I think about this newest movie and I wonder, what stands out? How does this movie differentiate itself from the other movies in the series? The action was good, but is the action better than the other movies? The acting? The special effects? The script?
I like to think of the striking difference we were met with when the “Prisoner of Azkaban” came out. This was the movie that changed the tone of all the other movies. It was the one that took a chance and showed that these kids were growing up and they were going up against real evil. Everything about that movie was darker and more sinister. Gone was the vibrancy of the previous Harry Potters, this was the Harry Potter that I looked forward to, the one I imagined and the one that set the bar for all the Harry Potters to come.
How does Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 compare? I sit here watching the cursor blinking because I don’t know. I feel like the movie met the status quo. I think expectations were met, but I don’t think my expectations were exceeded. I wonder if they could ever have been exceeded. As I was watching the movie, I was checking off list items in my head. Did they do this? Yes. Did they do that? Yes. Did they do this justice? Yes. Overall, I impressed, but not surprised.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is a good movie. It’s scale is epic and you will get lost in the frenzy. There is so much they do right and very little done wrong. It’s non-stop action and you will have a great time living vicariously through these beloved characters for the last time. It’s a fitting end to a series that many of use have grown-up and for some, grown-older with.
This is bittersweet for me. I was looking forward to this movie. Possibly not for the same reasons as many others might have been. I lived and breathed the Harry Potter books and movies for nearly 13 years. I can scarcely remember a time when my nose wasn’t glued to one of the books. I read through the series a couple of times, and have read my favorites more times than I can remember. It was a series of books that revitalized my interest in reading, and as far as I could remember, before the Harry Potter books, there weren’t many books that were written that appealed to boys. Harry Potter brought an imaginative world to an entire generation of not just boys, but girls and adults too. Literally watching it all come to an end is sad, but also liberating. I know now, I can move on.