PART II in 3D Imax
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Review by Ross Anthony

It’s a nice enough film, but aside from a few prize moments, it could use more emotive force. Since this picture is so embedded in the book/film series (the final one, in fact), you (dear reader) deserve to know that I (as the reviewer) haven’t read the books (though I’ve heard they’re excellent). I’ve missed a couple of the films as well.

That said, it’s my purpose here to review the film as a standalone piece of art. Hence, this article will be of use to viewers who are likewise not quite conversant in Potter lore.

Voldemort (the evil lord) is nasty, but his badness is never uniquely defined in this installment. New viewers will be left only with a nebulous idea that he’s a pretty bad guy. Thankfully though, the connection between he and Potter enjoys rich exploration in action, mood and word. Also, despite not being impressed with Ralph Fiennes in this role prior, I enjoyed his performance here. Kudos, also to Daniel Radcliffe as Potter. He is Potter. It’s hard to imagine someone else incarnating Rowling‘s likeable protagonist.

Only minimal time is given to establish the students/teachers as worthy of being saved. Zero time is given to establishing how Voldemort’s evil threatens the world outside of the school. That gives the film a bit of a claustrophobic feel. In fact, in this picture, magic is everywhere, therefore it loses some of its charm. We aren’t given the regular world to show the edgy contrast. Nor does the production take time to show us how malicious and foul Voldemort is as a leader of his own dark followers. They’re just pawns. We don’t fear them, we don’t even pity them (despite the Dumbeldore’s dreamy comment). We just don’t care, and that makes Voldemort less worrisome.

On a thematic level, aside from that one beautiful, but “lonely” line regarding “love,” the film wanes in the depth department. I’m left asking myself what exactly the film had to say. Is it only that decent wizards sometimes have to kill bad wizards? Nonetheless, there were two prize moments that rose above the “fighting action” with big lush heart. I was moved. I liked that. I would have liked to be moved more often. And while the film did attempt to move me on other occasions, it didn’t quite succeed. To read those specific occasions … continue into the “Spoiler Alert” zone below.

Btw, my filmmaker buddy who joined me, more or less concurs … and he’s seen all the films plus read a couple of the books. Additionally, he adds, “I wanted a bit more big action. Plus, I didn’t think the 3D added anything.”

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SPOILER ALERT
Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear about the ending.
I mentioned that the film failed to SWELL at two KEY moments near the end, here they are.
1) Neville’s stand played far weaker than it ought have. It’s a brilliant idea, just not realized well in the film.
2) Even as a standalone, but certainly as a series-ender, the final face-to-face of Potter and Voldemort is anticlimactic. Personally, I would have loved for them to have tossed down the wands and gone hand to hand, fist to fist, man to man. This is “hinted” as they grab each other by the head and jump off a high place. Sadly, that close-in duel isn’t realized well at all on film -- and falls kind of flat. And then, when Voldemort finally does die, it’s not Harry that kills him. He just sort of falls apart. I guess I would have liked to see Harry do the nasty deed and learn to live with it. OR have Harry show the same compassion he showed to Snape. But, admittedly, I’m a sap for the “win over your enemy rather than kill” theme. They could have at least utilized something along the lines of the dragon scene, where the beast is conquered simply by being “used” and let free.

Lastly, I’m confused.
1) Did HP die? Did he not die? I see no reason to leave this unclear. Does it make the experience more enjoyable? Does the uncertainty add to the film as a piece of art?

Overall, despite some serious flaws, the film also displays some serious cinematic agility in pacing, editing, special effects, direction, and score.

Again, I am not at all reviewing the book, or even this film as part of the series. This review is for people somewhat new to the Harry Potter and just looking for a film to take in for the night.


  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PART II in 3D Imax. Copyright © 2011.
  • Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes ,Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Bonnie Wright. Directed by David Yates. Written by Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling. Based on the book series by J.K. Rowling.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)



-- Books by Ross Anthony, Author/Illustrator --


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Friday, 15-Jul-2011 15:39:42 PDT