Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday's Flick Picks

New Release - Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part II (2011)

Sitting in the theater I waited surprisingly patient for the conclusion of the end.  The end of an epic, the end of an era, the end of something rather big.  Heck, you might as well call the Harry Potter series this generations Star Wars.  Yeah, it lasted two more movies than the latter did but still, it’s that big a deal.  I got there pretty early, finished up my nachos and reluctantly listened to the mixed crowd of mostly young and quite annoying people count down the time until the final installment began.  Finally, the lights lowered, the speakers awoken and we were met with about almost 10 minutes of previews.  The only one I was really, really, really (did I use enough really’s) looking forward to was The Dark Knight Rises.  Yeah I saw it already but I was actually a little nervous to see it on the big screen.  After it was over, I kind of felt like my evening had reached its climax.  I realized I was more looking forward to this 1:36 teaser trailer than the actual feature film I had paid money for.  It was then that I knew what a woman felt like whose partner didn’t quite last as long as she had hoped.  But, thankfully, that all changed about a half hour into the movie.

Harry (Danielle Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are still looking for the Horcruxes.  For those of you who don’t follow, these are seemingly random items that are the keys to defeating the Dark Lord known as Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).  He has recently gathered the Elder Wand (a wand that makes its owner unbeatable) and is gaining strength.  The crew as I call them must desperately find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them in order to have any shot at defeating this wizard.  Throughout the film, and book, they enlist help from any and everywhere they can possibly find it.  All the way up to the point where You-Know-Who comes gently knocking on the walls of Hogwarts castle looking to kill “the boy who lived”.

That’s pretty much the plotline in a nutshell.  Obviously the majority of the fans who went as far as to attend a midnight showing have managed to read all of the novels.  For those who can’t see themselves scouring through line after line, word after word, I won’t spoil it for you.  But it’s your basic fantasy story, good versus evil.  This was the shortest Harry Potter movie running at about 2 hours 10 minutes.  All of the others were on average 2 and half hours to 2 hours and 45 minutes.  The “short” runtime might explain why they dove so quickly into the action.  That and they did shoot both parts together. 

Director David Yates knew exactly what needed to be done to send the legendary Harry Potter series off on the right note.  With a screenplay by Steve Kloves of course adapted from the book written by the now literally stinking rich J.K. Rowling, it had to have been hard to go wrong.  From the score building the suspense and raising the intensity of just how serious the battle in this movie was to the countless special effects used to bring the book to life, Yates presented The Deathly Hallows as it was meant to be.

The special effects fueled-magic scenes were vivid and crisp.  They may have been the best out of all of the films.  No doubt because this was the biggest battle that had ever taken place in Harry Potter history.  They contributed to the dark tone that consumed the movie from beginning to end.  The wand usage was lightning quick and sometimes even dazzling.  I had to purchase 3D tickets due to my lack of common sense to purchase 2D ones in advance.  Although I don’t think 3D made that big of a difference, it was still pretty cool to see.  The CGI created portions dipped off of the screen and really stood out in 3D.  Another aspect that impressed in 3D was a scene where the crew is fleeing for their lives on three flying broomsticks.  They seemed to almost zip right out of the screen.

I always felt that none of the main characters were tremendous actors.  Actually I felt that they were kind of bad but served their purpose.  This time around was indeed no exception.  But I did enjoy Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and Voldermort’s (Ralph Fiennes) performances.  They were those characters.  The way they drew out their dialogue and were a presence no matter how long they were on screen was the way that I envisioned them to be while reading through the books.

Possibly the best aspect I loved about the film was the build-up.  The growing suspense for the final battle between Harry’s squad of friends, professors and skillful wizards and Voldermort’s Death Eaters, practitioners of the Dark Arts.  You could feel Voldermort’s desperation grow as the war carried on as any truly evil villain does when he started killing members of his own clan whom got on his nerves.  Sort of reminiscent of other epic battles between good and evil like Lord of the Rings as the two sides clashed against one another.  Only that franchise had many more wars within its pages.

This final chapter saw unsung heroes rise to the occasion as well as a few surprises in the story.  Well they’re only surprises to those who haven’t read the books, whom I am a little jealous of.  Experiencing the unfolding of any great plotline the first time won’t ever compare to anything.  Somewhat sad and happy at the same time to see it go, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this last film of Harry Potter.  I know I’ve said this before and might even say it again but the crowd that I saw this movie with just might make me reconsider anymore midnight releases for a while (thinking to myself: “please shut the **** Up!).  Some people shouldn’t be allowed out after their bedtime, seriously.  But on a borderline overkill/creative note, the 3D glasses were replicas of Harry’s own specs.  Anything for a buck I guess.  I give Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part II “4.5 million trips straight to the bank for J.K. Rowling out of 5”. 

-“We need a new plan”
-“What’s wrong with the way we do things do now?”
-C’mon Hermione, that really isn’t a plan.  We suspect something, show up and all Hell breaks loose”