Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part II ReviewA column article, Shot For Shot by: Amelia Ramstead
I feel like I should preface this review with a disclaimer. I have lived and breathed Harry Potter for the last ten years. I have absorbed myself deeply into the universe that J.K. Rowling created and I have fallen in love with these characters. I read the last book in a furious 48 hour session fueled by caffeine and tears. Would it be possible for me to see this book brought to life and not love every minute of it?
I loved every minute of it. Pure and simple. Even when it broke my heart. The joy of the Harry Potter movies has always been how well they take the scenes that I saw in my head and translate them to the screen… just the way I imagined them. This one was no exception, and thank goodness for that.
As soon as the first scene opened, I had tears in my eyes. Was it really possible that it all came down to this? It was hard to believe. I was transported back to the beginning, when I first laid eyes on Harry Potter. Everything was new again.
Unlike Part I, which many people griped about and called “two hours of wizards walking in the woods,” this one was action from beginning to end. When I first read Deathly Hallows, I wondered about the movie and worried. Could they possibly do justice to this book in two hours? When I heard the decision to split the movie in two, I breathed a sigh of relief.
That decision paid off in spades (and I’m not talking about financially, although the movie is breaking box office records left and right). The filmmakers were able to take their time and develop all the important pieces at the end, to lay them out, word for word, and bring us all to an understanding of what happened, and, most importantly, why.
Alan Rickman. What can I say about this man that hasn’t already been said? Snape finally gets to tell his side of the story, and the emotion and depth behind Rickman’s performance left me weeping. In the end, this story is just as much about Severus Snape as it is about Harry Potter. They both provide the sacrifice, but it is Snape that gets the redemption.
In all fairness, I spent a great deal of the last half of this movie weeping. The battle at Hogwarts was incredible. Perfect. Giants roared and nightmarish acromantulas skittered across the screen. Characters who had always seemed shy and retiring stepped forward with bravery. The word “epic” gets bandied about so frequently these days that it has almost lost all meaning, but this battle was one of the epic fantasy battles of all time. The scope and feel of it was huge and overwhelming.
Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall had me smiling through my tears. Julie Walters as Molly Weasley had me sobbing then cheering out loud. Familiar and friendly faces fell, and each time it was just as hard as the first. Old friends already lost returned, and I grinned like a fool to see them.
I left the theater in a daze. I felt worn, exhausted, like I had fought side by side with my friends at the battle (and, perhaps, I had). I felt drained, like I had walked through the Forbidden Forest on my way to die at Voldemort’s hand – to offer myself as the willing sacrifice (and, perhaps, I had). I felt exhilarated, like I had overcome all the odds and fulfilled all the prophecies (and, perhaps, I had).
But most of all, I felt completely grateful to J.K. Rowling for introducing us all to these brilliant characters, for her wonderful storytelling, and to the directors and actors for bringing these characters to life in a way that will be impossible to forget and impossible to replicate. And I’m excited for all the children who are just now arriving into the world and will also one day get to experience Harry Potter for the first time. I hope they have just as much fun as I did. Thanks for the ride.
Check out Amelia's look back at the Harry Potter film franchise here!
Amelia Ramstead has been playing games since her family first received an Atari 2600, lo these many years ago. She continues to play, primarily on PC these days. An avid World of Warcraft player, Amelia writes about WoW topics for her blog and as a guest poster on WoW Insider. Especially interested in how gamer culture reflects in family dynamics, Amelia herself has two kids, one of whom has two WoW characters and can barely keep his nose out of his DS. Amelia is excited to join the staff of Comics Bulletin and is looking forward to the chance to converse with others on one of her favorite topics! Find Amelia on Steam as ameeramstead.