Friday, 22 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two

It's hard to talk about Harry Potter films in a critical way, as for me and most of my generation the Harry Potter Corporation is much, much more than a series of films and books. The final film of the eight-long, multi-billion-pound series is a heartbreaking film, and not just because of the storyline. July the 15th marked the end of a series, the end of an era, and what seems to be the end of our childhood. Since the first book was published in 1997, when I was just six years old, Harry Potter grew in fame and age at an alarming rate. By the dawn of my sixteenth birthday, coincidentally the publication date of the final book in the saga, still awake after a party with my equally sycophantic friends, the hyperactive excitement we felt was akin to that before... well, it was incomparable. In all honesty, as an English Literature Student, I find it difficult to praise the books themselves, although I adore them. Fair enough, her writing improves as the books go on, but that's beside the point. We don't read the books for the lyrical prose, it wouldn't have mattered if they were written monosyllabically - we want to know what our friends have been up to. We would have been in their year at Hogwarts (and how we prayed on the eve of our eleventh birthdays), we may even have been friends. We know them, we like and dislike them as we do our own peers, and we desperately need to read the next instalment of their lives. And so the final book was a full stop to a part of our lives we had taken for granted, and so we clung to the films to fill that gap. And now, as the advertisements all too poignantly point out to us, 'It All Ends Here'.

The second part of the Deathly Hallows has to be one of the most frantically anticipated films of the decade, and so it was never going to live up to the unfathomable expectations of die-hard fans. At midnight, on the very edge of the day, the lights in the cinema dimmed and the film began to disappoint. It is, to all extents, an excellent film. There are lavish battle scenes, tearful death scenes, heart-stoppingly tense confrontations. But it's not enough, it never had a chance of being enough. To be so anticipated also means to be brutally scrutinised from the Warner Bro's logo to the end credits. And they didn't even try their best- by making adjustments to the book, they open their arms to the blows from avid readers, but as the films have gone on it has become clear that they area a separate monster, and in many ways they have as much of a right to change the story as if they were writing it afresh. To some extent. To change the climactic, spectacular battle scene between Harry and Voldemort was the biggest mistake they could possibly have made, and they made it. The film also allows itself to fall flat unless it is propped up by it's prequel- in essence the films can only be appreciated as a single, very long film. Warner Brother's money making efforts were evident and foolish- all character building is left to part one, resulting in part two being a slideshow of shallow characters who often have no screen-time devoted to them at all, until it's too late. 

However, that is all I have to say about the film in a negative way. Criticisms aside, the film is good, it is exciting and it is, most importantly, the end. Whatever any review says, you will go and see it because it has become a societal imperative, claims of disinterest are met with horror and often with incredulity. The films, viewed as an octet building the talent of actors, the lives of the characters and the rise and fall of evil within society are perhaps unmatched.

I loved the film, but it wouldn't have mattered if I had despised it. I would have gone to see it, twice (once in 2D, once in 3D) and so would the rest of my Pottermanic generation. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part two is an amazing, terrible thing, and all we can feel at the end is genuine grief. 

What do we do now?