HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2
(dir David Yates/130 minutes)
When I first heard of the plans to split JK Rowling's final Harry Potter book in half and release it as two separate films, I was unhappy. Cynic that I am, I saw it as a greedy money-making ploy by the film-makers to get people to fork out for cinema tickets twice. However, now that I've seen the results, I am happy to admit that I was totally wrong. The extra running time that the split permits really opens the narrative up and allows for much more depth. The story is given the opportunity to breathe and the grand finale isn't rushed. A problem I had with some of the earlier Potter movies, especially 2007's disappointing Order of the Phoenix (a 700+ novel truncated to a little over two hours) is that they felt like a string of set-pieces and scenes thrown together and didn't really gel as a collective whole. Deathly Hallows, both parts, fares much better and there's a real sense of pace and momentum sustained throughout. After the `road trip' feel of Part 1, it's wonderful to return to Hogwarts for the final epic battle between Harry and Voldermort. Even though I've read the book (so have a few others, I believe) and knew exactly how everything was going to play out, the film was still exciting, captivating and, well, magical. Harry, Ron and Hermione are all grown up now (and give their best performances of the series) and the epilogue ending (which I was fairly ambivalent towards in the novel) made me go all tingly. Previous instalments, although I've enjoyed all eight, never quite managed to equal the books on which they were based, but this swansong pulls out all the stops, and absolutely does.