HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1 starts the one-two knockout finale to the beloved decade-spanning series, wisely dividing J.K. Rowling’s 2007 book into twin offerings, with Part Two coming eight months later. This 2010 opener runs a hefty 146 minutes as it is; glued together they would’ve made for 276 minutes (4.6 hours), a bit much for most muggle rumps to manage. The numerous plot threads get a swell setup here for the big settle-all battle to come. This opener, though it has its share of darkness and death, has a little more humor and lightness going for it to leaven the perilous road trip taken by our heroes.
Joining for the outing is Bill Nighy, and back from the very first entry is John Hurt, two more crown jewels in a cast already packed with Britain’s finest. Another worthy volunteer is lanky Domhnall Gleeson, adding his clout to that of burly father Brendan.
David Yates directs for his third go, and he has cinematographer Eduardo Serra give things substantially more color than the last installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where Yates and cameraman Bruno Delbonnel had too much of that chapter overly dim: it’s a smart call and a big improvement (my humble grumble).
As ever, the special effects, art direction, costuming and all other visual and aural goodies are top tier. Alexandre Desplat wields his baton to wand a keen score. We get the brief return of Imelda Staunton’s ‘Dolores Umbridge’. Rhys Ifans is a neat choice as ‘Luna Lovegood’s equally lunar dad, ‘Xenophilius’. Once again, all hail Helena Bonham Carter’s ravenous fiend.
Box-office racked up $960,300,000, and Academy golden goodies were nominated for Art Direction and Visual Effects.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART TWO apparated in 2011 with 130 minutes that shared the production cost of $250,000,000 with the earlier slice. This fiery and emotional finish, also directed by Yates, boasts the same genies on technical duty, as the films were shot back-to-back. Once more, the marvelous Visual Effects and Art Direction were Oscar-nominated, as well as the Makeup, and mammoth crowds turned out to lay down one billion, three-hundred forty-one million, five hundred eleven thousand, two hundred and nineteen bucks. Engorgio!
“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love.”
Ciaran Hinds appears as ‘Aberforth Dumbledore’. Among the swarming cast of regulars, Warwick Davis gets a chance to be quite effective; his nasty, obsidian-eyed ‘Griphook’ gets a share more to do this time. Hogwarts castle is pummeled in a suitably desperate and spectacular battle, casualties mount, sound effects go ballistic, Good meets Evil and all ends as it should. “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Very, very good stuff, with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, David Thewlis, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Timothy Spall, Evanna Lynch, Maggie Smith, George Harris, Matthew Lewis, Hazel Douglas, Kelly McDonald, Gary Oldman, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson, Helen McCrory, Natalie Tena, James and Oliver Phelps.
“Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that it’s not real?”
J.K. Rowling’s imagination is stupendous, light & lilting, dark & devious, an ever-blossoming gift to billions. The crystal ball luck of the draw was with the children perfectly picked for the films, literally charmed as they grew into their roles. Then there’s the dazzling array of Acting Royalty backing them. The colossal efforts of thousands of artisans, craftspeople and technicians. You can sum-up this wise and witty, majestic and moving, truly magical series in one word: “Brilliant!”