Starring Daniel Radcliffe & Ralph Fiennes
Directed by David Yates
Time 130 minutes, PG-13
Release date July 15, 2011
The blockbuster saga of the world-famous boy wizard comes to an end in the eighth and final movie of the most lucrative film franchise in Hollywood history.
If you haven’t read the J.K. Rowling books and seen the previous films, well, it’s a tad late to hop on the Harry Potter train. At this point of the endgame, a pretty good base of knowledge is essential to making heads or tails of the dense, wrap-it-up details in Deathly Hallows: Part II.
Latecomers, who might buy a ticket just to see what all the fuss has been about over the past 10 years, will be hopelessly lost in a maze of hocus-pocus horcruxes, chambers of secrets and a magical, make-believe world where any wizard is only as good (or bad) as his wand.
But the Potter faithful won’t have any trouble latching onto the plot as the pieces finally come together for the final, epic showdown between Voldemart (Ralph Fiennes) and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), the only obstacle impeding the hiss-ably evil lord on his relentless quest for immortality.
Most of the characters from previous HP movies make appearances, if only for a moment or two—with special “afterlife” sequences for those killed off in earlier installments, including professors Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Snape (Alan Rickman), and Harry’s murdered parents, James and Lily.
Harry’s childhood friends, bosom buds and Hogwarts soulmates, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), are also, of course, along for this final ride. But Harry has so much to juggle, and there’s so much going on, that his chums are often relegated to the sidelines—but they do, finally, link up and lock lips for the passionate kiss fans have been pining for years to see.
The movie is awash in visual delights, with spectacular sets, eye-popping special effects and a world teeming with fearsome giants, devious goblins, fire-breathing dragons, flittering pixies and one particularly monstrous, murderous, nightmare-inducing snake.
Harry Potter fans have known the end was coming. And now it’s here. Watching the movie’s sweet, “19 years later” epilogue will be an emotional, have-a-hanky-handy experience for many viewers as characters they’ve come to know, love and care about make their collective exit—and transition to a new phase of their now-adult lives.
When the credits roll on this operatically sweeping, emotionally rewarding send-off, it’s hard to imagine any HP lovers leaving disappointed. After all, Harry may be gone, but the magic he brought to the screen (and the page) will be around forever.