Top critical review
a tame end for the final chapter
on 15 September 2011
This is a disappointment, though as others have said the score for part 2 is far better than for part 1. Alexandre Desplat's cinema work has often been good, and it's usually sufficiently genre-idiomatic; e.g. the score for The Golden Compass was very different in scope from that for The Queen. OK, so he's a good, self-effacing professional film composer who usually tries to write to the drama rather than for his own (ego's) benefit. And there are many good moments in DH2, including echoes of the previous Potter composers' contributions: for example Nicholas Hooper's Gorecki-like invocations of dark mood, coupled with Desplat's more obvious melodic gift, can be really effective, and there are also echoes of Patrick Doyle's strong pulse, as well as of John Williams's clever orchestrations and melodic quirkiness. The Lily theme and its repeated use - in the Snape memory sequence and the Ressurection Stone sequence - is very effective. So why is the work for Deathly Hallows, in the end, disappointing? Chiefly because too much of it isn't like the Lily theme, but seems like reach-me-down: the slow repeated big drum strokes may raise tension, but they may also confirm that the composer can't think of something more original to do the same job. Of course film composers are pressed for time, and maybe the film-makers are to blame for working with their usual assumptions about jobbing film-music composers who can do miracles in a few weeks. Not this time - which is a shame. The final part of the adventure needed something more consistently original.