Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (David Yates)

The much awaited confrontation with 'You-Know-Who'.

At last, we reached the end. The final Harry Potter film. The final adventure of the characters we both loved and hated. The heated conclusion. The teary-eyed farewell. As I see the vicinity of Hogwarts in complete rubble and places such as the Forbidden Forest nothing but abandoned, although I never followed the "Harry Potter" saga that much closely, there's this subconscious childhood reminiscence of the wondrous universe that these films have once created, and how it's extremely saddening to see these faint memories of colorfully magical places turn into a grayish limbo-like battle arena. But then again, like Voldemort's villainous return to form, this transformation is purely inevitable to reach the peak of the story's ultimate crescendo.

Going with the tradition of the last 3 films of the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" remained at ease with having small in-between adventures before it goes relentlessly full-speed to the much-anticipated final encounter between the Dark Lord and our hero, whose bravery is put to the greatest test.

A particularly well-made scene is the initial action sequence of Potter and company escaping from the vaults while riding an obviously exhausted and aging dragon. From these wonderfully computer-generated dragon alone, one can easily see the sense of magical realism that the film is heading into. It's not your usually 'bold' representation of the said creature where it flaps its enormous wings like it's a perfect god of the skies. Like how the "Harry Potter" film franchise has grown and aged, the dragon shows the passing of time and its attachment into a serious, more visually conscious fantasy film whose emotional core is also very much attended to.

The film, like the previous ones, is littered with great performances all around that are more or less fueled by a common dramatic baggage that senses both victory and defeat in a constantly contradicting fashion. But Alan Rickman, who portrayed Severus Snape with pitch-perfect indifference and apathy all throughout the saga, was highlighted by the film (finely integrated into the film with rich visuals) using a clever flashback that has put into exposition both a startling plot twist and an unexpected heroism.

All of that, enhanced by Rickman's best performance in the series yet, greatly contributed in properly depicting maybe the best character of the whole J.K. Rowling wizard universe aside from Harry Potter himself (though some may passionately argue that he's merely a monotonous poster hero).

Countless times it has been said that the entirety of Harry Potter's story isn't for children in the first place or are there little to no purely kid-friendly subjects in it save for the occasional awes and wonders. But "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" simply takes the cake as the most matured by way of how it has subtly analogized Dumbledore and Snape's relationship to that of Jesus Christ and Judas' and its realistic contemplation about death and sacrifice (highlighted by the scene where Harry Potter, Radcliffe saving what maybe his best performance for last, asks Sirius Black whether or not dying hurts).

Judging from its overall positive reception by audiences, comparisons with "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" is a given, but unlike the aforementioned Peter Jackson film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is much more narrow in its conclusion, preferring simplistic summation rather than full, overlong and seemingly endless walk towards a very satisfying end.

But sadly, it is also short in its much-hyped duel between Potter and Voldemort, which I think would have made the film a perfect one if only it would have been a minute or two longer. And Is that epilogue really necessary? Is Neville Longbottom really that essential a character to be a full-fledged hard hero? Like Voldemort's strategic positioning of his Horcruxes, this film proves to be very, very powerful yet particularly flawed.

But needless to say, it's still a fitting end to a decade-long cinematic display of love, magic and friendship that has undoubtedly left a mark to each and every one's imaginations who had the chance to witness it all from the innocent start until the very end. But as we see Potter's tranquil smile in the end, something tells me that sadness is all but absent. Somewhere, there's still heaviness. A feeling that channels ours. Somehow, we never really wanted it to end. There's a reason why "Pottermore" was created.


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