The best for last

July 18, 2011, 8:36 p.m. | By Langston Taylor | 12 years, 9 months ago

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” brings it all together

For those of us who have followed the magical saga for the past decade, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is a movie that simply cannot be missed. The finale, possibly the best installment of the Potter series, ties up every loose end as tightly as Professor McGonagall's hair.

But be warned: this is not your little brother's Harry Potter movie. There is no Quidditch. There is no cheery Christmas music. The sun shines only in memories. As Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) proclaims, "Hogwarts has changed.”

"Part 2” picks up exactly where "Part 1” left off – with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) hiding from the uber-evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters. The film follows the three young wizards as they continue to hunt Horcruxes, parts of Voldemort's soul that, once destroyed, will make the man mortal once more.

In one of Harry's visions he sees that one of the last Horcruxes is at Hogwarts, the school from which the trio dropped out after the sixth movie, which is now run by Harry's old foe, Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). The teens return to find the Horcrux, and when Voldemort discovers what they are up to he brings his army to the castle, leading to a battle that will determine the fate of the wizarding world.

Those who have read J.K. Rowling's "Deathly Hallows" will be pleased with the degree to which this film sticks to her book, and will smile as they recall some of the more dramatic lines recited almost word-for-word. Those who haven't will enjoy it just as much, if not more, as they see characters such as Snape, Longbottom and Voldemort in a brand new light.

Though the main draw to "Part 2” is far-and-away its intricate plot, the acting is, as always, superb. Again we see incredible performances from the supporting cast. Fiennes' Voldemort shows a new side to the dark wizard, fear, and Helena Bonham Carter (as Bellatrix Lestrange) is a pleasure to watch.

In addition to its phenomenal acting, this is also the most visually stunning movie in the series. The blurry white ghosts from "the Sorcerer's Stone” are replaced by extraordinarily life-like apparitions, and the magical protective dome placed around Hogwarts is a sight to see. This is the first "Potter” film shot in 3D, and seeing it in the extra dimension certainly does not distract from the movie, yet is probably not worth the extra cash unless you really want the opening title to be as awesome as possible.

The movie is tantamount to a television series finale – the plot is explained fully, there are flashbacks to previous movies and when it ends, as the slogan says, "it all ends.” Viewers will walk away knowing, and more often than not, saddened, that this story is over. Get ready for the best Harry Potter movie of them all.

"Mischief managed."

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” (90 minutes) is rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images. Now playing at theaters everywhere. 3D and IMAX 3D at selected theaters.

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