It All Ends Now
10 years and 8 films, that was what it took to tell the saga of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, the boy who survived as an infant against the evilest of wizardry villains, bringing a generation up through its novels and films and had sealed itself as a genuine cultural phenomenon, finally bringing itself to a close through a resounding finale on the silver screen. It had made a success of a writer, and had made stars of its young cast in creating a franchise which many had tried to emulate along the way, but failed miserably.
Was the decision to split the final film into two parts justified? Simply put, yes, as it allowed some room to breathe in its pulsating pace toward the inevitable showdown between its David and Goliath, and in doing so provided plenty of emotional resonance with the audience who had been followers from the start, developing together with story and characters, and allowing many to cling onto just one more film before the much talked about epilogue. At least it wasn't long drawn out and hard to let go, like how The Return of the King had suffered for its reluctance and multiple false endings.
David Yates had come onboard since The Order of the Phoenix, and in that provided some consistency as the storyline made a turning point to address its main threat head on, becoming darker and bleaker and continuing for much into this film as well, with the sense of dread and hopelessness hanging on every frame. It's "Part 2" and it doesn't dilly dally with unnecessary (or some say customary) recaps, so nobody needs to remind you to watch the earlier installment first. Even then you would probably lose count of and not be interested in the number of Horcruxes left to destroy as part of the quest of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson),since you'll be rooting for the trio to come out of each challenge unscathed despite increasing complexities and finding themselves cornered more often than not.
It's atmospheric down to a pat, with death at every corner leaving those who have not read the book wondering just who might bite the dust next, since Rowling has no qualms with ridding major characters if there's a need to emphasize the dangerous times that the story had made a turn for. A key battle takes place at Hogwarts between the forces of good and evil, with Harry Potter as a beacon shining that sliver of hope, that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) constantly tries to snuff out through mass psychic messages. I've always been impressed by the special effects employed in almost all the Harry Potter films in not being flashy for the sake of, but serving their purpose well to make magic believable, yet having enough pomp and flash to treat audiences to an SFX extravaganza that doesn't disappoint in its The Two Towers inspired full scaled assault involving rogues, wizards, witches and magical giant beings.
Many have encouraged me to read the books for they are far richer than that of the films, since there will be subplots dropped in the interest of running time. I may get down to the books one day, but suffice to say the films are sufficiently self-contained, extremely well made especially in its build up in the last few films given the ominous look and feel, and worth the bang for your buck. It isn't everyday that a strong film franchise gets developed through to its intended finale, and does so while packing an emotional punch, especially when the entire scheme of things get unravelled and revealed, throwing up how manipulative some can be for the greater good, and how powerful love can be, either of the tragic unrequited sort, or the various declarations made in the face of annihilation.
Sure there were some scenes crafted to bring back the dearly departed characters and cast members, for fans of the movie saga to allow for some fitting send off to those whom we've come to dearly follow in their adventures and come to grow fond of. Recommended to say the least, and for those who have yet to watch any of the films, perhaps you may want to do so on DVD and top it all off with a cinematic outing.