Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 – Review

It all ends. It all ended. And so did my heart.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 also known as the movie that tore my heart and soul into oblivion. Never, ever have I been inside a movie theatre and brought this close to tears. The hell with it, I CRIED. And it happened so many times. If you thought goosebumps was the criteria for a good scene, then mix those goosebumps with emotional upheaval, coupled with your hands almost shaking and this is Deathly Hallows part 2 in its entirety.

Harry, Ron and Hermione are still on the pursuit to collect and destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes. They believe the next one is hidden away in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault in Gringotts, the wizarding bank. But going into the bank is near impossible – unless you know a goblin who worked there, which they do. And so a deal is stricken. At Gringotts, they are discovered to be impostors. Hearts will race as they try to escape with the horcrux and as Harry soon finds out the next one is hidden inside Hogwarts and it’s something that belongs to another founder of the school.
And it is to Hogwarts that he goes. But Hogwarts has changed. Snape is the new headmaster. The Carrow brothers are forcing students to practice the cruciatus curse (torture) on first year students.
But there are many things that Harry doesn’t know, the ultimate secret being one that revolves around his every being. Things are never as it seems. People will show their true colors and they will come out as triumphant even after years and years of hatred.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is such a beautiful movie that you cannot move your eye off the screen. Checking the time? Dream on, my friend. Dream on. The moment the movie starts, picking up exactly where Part 1 left off, you are mesmerized. It starts abruptly and takes you right into the story. And it doesn’t let you go. It grabs at you with all the force in the world and drags you everywhere the movie goes and you hopelessly go with it like a rag doll.

Dan Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have done the impossible here. They are possibly the only set of actors that you have seen grow up on the big screen and as the actors grew up on a personal level, they added their maturity to their characters. It’s very fascinating to watch them interact. And in Part 2, they bring out the big guns. Their acting is relentless, captivating and charming as it should be now that they have mastered the characters they’re playing. You cannot imagine other actors portraying Harry and Ron or another actress to portray Hermione. It simply doesn’t make sense. And this trio simply proves this beyond doubt.

Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith as Snape and Professor McGonagall respectively gave their all in this movie. You cannot help but be on the edge of your seat whenever any of these two actors are doing their thing. Rickman has a part of the movie entirely dedicated to his character’s personal story. It is also one of my favorite parts of the book. The Prince’s Tale is transferred so magnificently on screen that it WILL bring you to tears. Many times at that, in the space of about five minutes. If you don’t feel absolutely overwhelmed at one point in that sequent of memories, then you are not human. There, I said it.
Professor McGonagall takes a stand – several, actually – in Deathly Hallows as well. She stands up for Harry and when she does, the whole theatre will explode in applause. Maggie Smith fortifying Hogwarts and then cracking a joke to lighten up the mood… Just the way I like it. You cannot but share the pain in Smith’s eyes as she sees her beloved school crumbling around her, as she sees all the work that they’ve done go to waste… absolutely stunning.

So Hogwarts is now fortified. They have one hour before Voldemort’s powers attack. And what better actor to portray this generation’s most bad-ass villain than Ralph Fiennes. People, just give him the Oscar for best supporting actor already. There will be no one more worthy. Him or Alan Rickman.
Ralph Fiennes gives his character an extra dimension in this movie now that he has the room to spread his wings so to speak, seeing as he’s one of the movie’s main pillars. Lord Voldemort is all evil. But in this movie, another side of him shows up: anguish and misery. And yet, there’s this subtlety to the nuances of the portrayal that make up the overall result to be very epic, indeed.

Michael Gambon has one scene in the movie as Albus Dumbledore and to say that his part sticks to the book would be an understatement. They uttered my favorite line. I was on cloud nine. “Of course it’s happening inside your head… but why should it mean it’s not real?” It’s also my twitter bio! And this is truly the world that this movie and the books have created. It is imaginary but it feels so real that you just don’t care that it’s all in your head. Shattering the lines between reality and imaginary is not just for eccentric, high or mentally disturbed people. For two hours, this movie will get you to strut those boundaries as well.

Steve Kloves is the movie’s screenwriter. And what can one say about Steve Kloves and give him enough credit. He captured the movie’s essence perfectly. He presented J.K. Rowling’s work in such a brilliant way that even the slight deviations from the book (and they are very few) do not even matter anymore. He portrays the gravity of the situation to the letter: the deaths, the destruction, the revelations, the build-up…. His version of the story is so well done that it would be incredible not to see an Oscar nod (and a win!) for him in the Screenplay category. He added his touch while keeping Rowling’s magic. Some of the lines from the book are transferred to the movie as they are and for someone who has read the book over and over again, I was ecstatic to hear them on screen. “Look… at…me.” Enough said.

Director David Yates has helmed the last four Potter movies and while I had my doubts about him at first (Order of the Phoenix was not exactly great), he more than surpassed my wildest expectations in this. The pace he sets for the movie never dies down. It keeps on building up and up like a beautiful orchestral crescendo. He guides his actors and actresses with confidence. He’s working with a marvelous script based on a terrific book. And he has the green light to give it all out. What do you expect from a very talented director with those options? Something not less than magical.

And throughout the movie, you listen to this satisfyingly rich and haunting score by French composer Alexandre Desplat, who also composed the score for the first part. As the score opens with the epic “Lily’s Theme,” you are captivated by the music on top of the visuals. The score doesn’t let down as well. It fuses itself into the movie perfectly and grows as the characters advance with the plot. It incorporates elements from all previous Harry Potter scores, giving homage to all previous composers. And what better way to end this than to salute those who worked on the series before you?

On top of all that, the movie is such a nice sight to see that it’s ridiculous at times how perfect the cinematography, the make-up and all other technical aspects are. They are so well-done that they are simply the cherry on top of this marvelous cake. Summer blockbusters usually rely on these elements as their forte. Not with this movie. While any other movie would dream to have this quality on it, Deathly Hallows Part 2 has these coming with the territory of being the movie that it is.

Critics and fans alike are raving about this. I had posted earlier about the early reviews the movie was getting and they set my expectations so high that I was afraid the movie would not meet them. It not only met them, it shattered them and rendered them useless dust. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is magical, magnificent, elegant, pure, heart-breaking, eye-popping, insanely brilliant, enchantingly captivating and sensationally grandiose. It is one of the best – if not THE best – cinematic experience you could hope for. It’s a perfect movie, if there ever was such a thing.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 provides you with a sense of catharsis as it ends. It lets your senses go. It lowers your inhibitions more than alcohol. You cannot help but see your hands automatically clap at some points in the movie. You shout in desperation without even controlling your voice and you root for your characters like they’re really in front of you. Tears flow down your face without any power of you to stop them. There isn’t any better way to end the epic series that was Harry Potter. If only it weren’t ending…

I was going to start putting a grade to movies that I review, based on requests. So let me attempt this now:

13/10

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The Godfather – Movie Review

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” has become one of the most popular and famous phrases to come out of a movie – ever. And that movie is The Godfather.

Set in 1940s New York, The Godfather tells the story of the Corleone family, a mafia, and their struggle to protect their legacy as rival families seek out their demise.

I will not write out a more detailed synopsis because it is near impossible to do so for this movie without ruining some plot moments. However, The Godfather is a tale that extends over many years without making it feel overstretched or even segregated into different time epochs.

The Godfather is a body of outstanding performances – and not only acting wise. The movie’s score, by Nino Rota, is haunting. Francis Ford Coppolla, a relative unknown at the time the movie was made, is absolutely brilliant in directing. The cinematography, run by Gordon Willis, plunges the movie’s character’s in their world perfectly.

The acting performances are beyond top-notch. Marlon Brando embodies the head of the Corleone family, Don Vito. His performance lets his character strut along the line of good and evil without blinking. As you watch Brando’s performance, you start remembering the many instances when you saw a character similar to Don Vito being acted out – be it with the voice, the attitude, the context…. And the many imitations of this character, after watching the movie, are justified.

The movie is also propelled by an outstanding performance by Al Pacino, as Don Vito’s son Michael, a returning war hero and a character that is even more fascinating that his father – wanting out of the “family business” because he thinks he doesn’t fit well with what they do. Diane Keaton is unrecognizable at first as Kay, Michael’s love interest and Robert Duvall is as mysterious as his enigmatic character Tom Hagen, Don Vito’s adopted son.

The Godfather is a movie in which, scene after scene, those making it prove they know what they’re doing. Be it the long wedding scene which sets the tone for a Machiavellian patriarchy, a character’s “bed” discovery, the many deaths that plague the mafia families, a character combing his hair in a restaurant nervously, etc… it keeps you attached, wanting to know how these characters would interact with what life throws at them.

It is no wonder The Godfather is considered one of the best movies ever made. There is an amount of ingenuity and creativity at work here that is unapproachable. Keep in mind this is a movie released about forty years ago (1972) – and there are movies today, with much better technology and resources available to them – that fail miserably at making something that would transcend the ages.

127 Hours – Movie Review

I watched 127 Hours about two weeks ago but didn’t have a blog to share my ideas about it. To say this is a must-watch is an understatement. Brought to you by the same crew that gave you “Slumdog Millionaire” two years ago. And if you thought that movie was brilliant (which most of us did), wait till you watch this. It is one of the most breathtaking, exhilarating, awesome, amazing, brilliant, captivating movies I have ever watched. It was beyond perfect. The movie is James Franco and James Franco is the movie. No one else matters. Nothing else matters. You live the movie with him. You share the emotions he’s going through in the movie and at one point, you’d be holding on to dear life when he does the act that would ultimately save his life.

However, unlike Slumdog Millionaire, this doesn’t look like a surefire hit at the Academy Awards this year. But don’t let the lack of awards fool you. It’s a brilliant movie that simply got lost in the momentum of other movies out there (The Social Network comes to mind).

James Franco got nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for this performance. He is said to be Colin Firth’s main competitor for this year’s award season. He lost the Golden Globe and I believe that, even though this was a more raw performance than Firth, he will lose the Oscar as well because The King’s Speech (Firth’s movie) is building momentum. I will post my thoughts regarding The King’s Speech later.

I won’t go into the plot here but I have to say that Danny Boyle did another great job with directing this. And the overall result is a movie that, as I said, will probably get you to take a look at your life differently – at least for a while.

The score is done by A.R. Rahman. The movie’s theme song is titled “If I Rise” and was co-written with Dido. It is a beautiful tune, representing the movie’s tagline: There Is No Force More Powerful Than The Will To Live, and calling you to rise above the little things in life to lead the best life possible. Check it out: