Friday 15 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two
Starring: Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson
Director: David Yates
Warner Bros. Pictures

In Cinemas Nationwide Now
Review by Kelly Prior

The setting is grim; Harry, Ron and Hermione have sought temporary refuge in an Order of the Phoenix safe house. However, the magical trio have no time to rest. With more horcruxes to find and destroy, and not to mention a dickhead of a dark lord to kill, their adventure is far from over. With fear and uncertainty having never been more prevalent, the seventeen year-olds set off again on their quest to save the wizarding world from the ever present threat of Lord Voldemort.

Having heard the famous prophecy, Harry knows that the next time he and Lord Voldemort meet face to face, one of them must die. With this knowledge laying heavy on his shoulders, Harry needs his friends more than ever before. As they battle Death Eaters and search for the last four severed parts of Voldemort’s soul, the stakes have never been higher. After several months of travelling and searching, the trio finally comes out of hiding to fight. The Harry Potter saga comes to an end here, with the climactic battle being held in the very place where it all started; Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

This final instalment of the now world famous franchise is the most exciting and most harrowing yet. With Hogwarts under the new militant rule of Severus Snape, and people all around them dying, this truly is the trio’s last chance to get things right. Early on the in the film, after a plan to retrieve a horcrux goes terribly wrong, the friends admit to each other that their plans never actually work. They decide to go all in and hope against hope that Harry comes out the victor.

This film smashes straight into the action with a tremendous scene at Gringott's wizarding bank. With rollercoaster rides and a massive fire breathing dragon, it is not long before you realise this film was made for 3D. However, while I normally have an issue with this, I have to say the 3D was actually really impressive. What better way to experience 3D than dodging curses and hexes from your seat?

The movie wastes no time in getting to the good bits. My initial worry as a Potter fan was that, like the battle at the ministry in The Order of the Phoenix, the battle at Hogwarts would be rushed and somewhat diluted. I jokingly said to my boyfriend that if the entire film wasn’t devoted to the battle of Hogwarts, that I would walk out. Well, I didn’t walk out. For the second time in the movie franchise’s history, the producers actually listened to what the fans wanted (The first example being, of course, the acknowledgement that Deathly Hallows needed to be filmed in two parts.)

The movie makers are on a roll, it seems, as they continuously please us by prioritising the fan’s needs. All our beloved characters are there, and new characters are presented to us completely how we imagined they would be. Of course, to ensure a wider viewing spectrum, the film makers did need to make the film more acceptable to those who have not read the books or followed the films. They do so in a way that is not offensive to Potter fans, and everyone wins.

Well, you Potter fans are probably anticipating several vital moments to be brought to life in this film. No spoilers here, but yes, they are all there. Do they get every iconic scene perfect? No, of course not. Have they ever? But they really come close.

As with the other movies, ...The Deathly Hallows: Part Two is laced with a star studded cast. Some of our all time favourites are there (Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane) as well as some veterans from way back when the first films came out (Mathew Lewis, Devon Murray, Miriam Margolyes) The casting for Dumbledore’s bitter and scorned brother Aberforth is perfect. In Dumbledore’s absence, Aberforth (Jim McManus) provides the physical similarities and the reminiscent characteristics of his brother to help Harry remain strong, while also maintaining his individuality as a separate entity to Dumbledore. As usual, Daniel Radcliffe’s appallingly bad acting means he is carried by the rest of the cast. With their jobs cut out for them, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint really shine in this film as two fully matured actors who no doubt have great futures ahead of them now. Radcliffe, on the other hand, will probably live off his one claim to fame from here on in. He might even run into Mark Hamill at a couple of conventions.

The actor who really shone for me, this time round, was Alan Rickman. No spoilers, of course, but I’m sure everyone knows what I’m referring to when I say he pulled it off without a hitch. Snape’s flawed and demoralised existence is played out brilliantly by Rickman, and his last scene with Harry is possibly one of the most traumatising and tear jerking things a Harry Potter fan will ever have to watch. Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory and Tom Felton return in this final instalment as the family everyone loves to hate, the Malfoys. While we are let down slightly in the fact that Isaacs does not get the screen time he deserves, McCrory and Felton play their roles to perfection. The Malfoys are a family torn apart by questioned allegiances and their duty to the dark lord. With nothing left to lose, Mr and Mrs Malfoy concentrate all their remaining efforts on surviving with their son. But does Draco really want to follow in mummy and daddy’s Death Eater shoes?

As always, it’s the little comic moments that keep people coming back for more. Even in the darkest Harry Potter film of them all, the comedy is not neglected. With Dumbledore’s Army together again, we are spoilt with comedic moments from Neville, Luna and Seamus, to name a few. Of course, when Harry Potter movies make you laugh, you know a good ol’ cry is just around the corner. I’m not going to lie, this movie is going to make you blub like a baby. We lose some treasured characters (not telling), and there is a lot of heart ache. There are also scenes that will make you happy-cry. So, no matter what, you’ll be crying. Have fun!

The film is action packed and one unrelenting fight after another. The choreography for the battle is spectacular, and the 3D really adds to the action. This film doesn’t pussy foot around anything. There is a lot of violence, and we see a lot of death. We’re not being baby sat here. Neville kicks ass as “the boy who could have been.” (Nerdy Potter reference alert) Even more surprising and entertaining is Maggie Smith’s portrayal of a hardcore fighting machine Professor McGonagall. Molly Weasley disappointed me, actually, and our sadistic princess Bellatrix Lestrange deserved a much better fight scene. But you can’t get everything right, I guess.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part Two is a dark and harrowing fantasy film. Somehow, it still manages to be child friendly. This is the appeal of Harry Potter; it is accessible to all ages and doesn’t require any compromise to achieve it. As far as accuracy goes, this film doesn’t do a bad job at all. There was always going to be flaws. Potter fans are very demanding, and any final battle was not going to be perfect, but this film really does come close. The infamous epilogue is actually quite satisfactory. It gives us a real sense of closure.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Plenty of wizard fighting and some graphic death scenes.
Sex/Nudity: None
Swearing: “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Summary: It is as accurate as can be expected, and entertaining for both fans of Potter, and fans of the fantasy genre. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part Two is the perfect way to end to one of the world’s most beloved franchises. Now, J.K Rowling, LEAVE IT ALONE. 9/10


With spectacular, sweeping battle sequences and an exhilarating tale of one man's fight for justice against a mighty despot and his Viking armies, Army of Valhalla is an epic tale of vengeance in a brutal medieval setting.

Towards the end of the 9th Century, the bloodthirsty Prince Popiel murders his family and subjects to ensure his son inherits the throne and embarks upon a barbarous regime of terror over the people of his lands. As his subjects rebel and rise to oppose him, the Prince calls upon a Viking army to quell the uprising, bringing with them an onslaught of bloodshed and chaos.

But as Popiel's darker crimes are revealed, one lone warrior seeks vengeance for the bloodshed, starting all-out war between a ruthless Viking army and his own legendary people.

Thanks to our friends at Metrodome, we've got three copies of Army of Valhalla to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Friday 22nd July, making sure to put "Army of Valhalla" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Army of Valhalla" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Army of Valhalla is available on DVD from Monday 18th July, courtesy of Metrodome.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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