After making the tough decision to avoid the late night crowd and attempt to fit in a non-festival film during the Indianapolis International Film Festival, my wife and I made what felt like a last minute decision to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Around 6:00, we decided to start checking for tickets and pondering a nap prior to the showing. After searching our first three choices of theater, we found out that there were no tickets available for any of the combined thirty screenings. I was disappointed that we couldn’t go but a bit relieved. In what I can only assume was a final effort, my wife remembered a theater that we don’t normally frequent, she picked up a pair of tickets for a 12:01 showing.
Rather than catch some sleep, as a sane person would have, it was determined that we would watch Part 1 to get in the mood (for the second part, geez, is that all you think about?).
When we arrived at the theater, I did not expect the number of people that were out at 11:00 at night. I did, however, expect more costumed attendees. There were a few Harrys and several Gryffindor scarves and ties, but those in costume; I could count on both hands. It appeared that those that had grown up with Potter had in fact, grown up.
The film begins a few moments before Part 1 ends when Voldemort obtains the elder wand. Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue on their mission to track down and destroy the last three remaining horcruxes. Director David Yates draws us, once again, into the world of wizards on the brink of war, the battle of good against evil.
Even though most of the characters looked the same as they did in Part 1, I was struck by how much everyone has grown up. Of course, not everyone was with us from the beginning, but a great many of the actors have grown up or aged, as I know I have over the course of the past ten years. The fact that so many have been with the films since the beginning or near the beginning is testament to the cultural impact of Harry Potter. Love it or hate it, Rowling’s creations have a place in our society and I believe that is due, in part, to being able to identify with the characters. Unfortunately, this film was where I stopped being able to identify with Harry. I don’t necessarily count that as a negative. If character identification was necessary for film enjoyment, I would have written off many drama or adventure flicks. I think it is Harry’s ascent to the place as the one who defeats evil that made identifying with him difficult. This time, I more identified with Ron or Neville.
If you read the books, you know the plot. If you haven’t, you don’t want to hear the finer points from me. From this point, there will be minor spoilers, but nothing that should ruin any enjoyment you receive out of this film.
I loved the dragon (shown in the trailer); for me, it was perfect. I especially enjoyed the movement and behavior of the dragon. By comparison, we get to see some serious magic in this film. I enjoyed the way they paired magical and non-magical combat. I understand this has been done in previous films, but not on the same scale. The end brought tears and some laughter, though not at the same time. I think the film lingered on the sad bits long enough, but not too long as to break those that don’t normally cry at movies. I’m not going to say that I didn’t roll a tear, but it wasn’t a cry fest for me, even in the saddest moments.
If you liked Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, you will probably like Part 2. If you have spent the past ten years complaining about all of the things they left out of the books, maybe you should skip this one.
How much would I pay to see this again? Out of $10, I would pay $10. Maybe it’s part nostalgia, but I found it a fitting end to a decade of Potter.
Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? podcast
Follow Jay on Twitter