'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2' Review & Spoilers

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsIt's incredible to me that the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 represents a culmination of a world that was first introduced to us all the way back in 1997. Children as well as their parents have grown up alongside the series, with this final film being a bittersweet testament that all good things must come to an end.

That's what makes a series like this one so good. You've become so attached to all the characters and the world in which they live, and you're suddenly faced with one question that will make or break the time and emotion you invested: How the heck is it all going to end?

Okay, here's the time to warn you all that there are MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD. If you don't want to know anything about this movie or its plot points, I beg you, STOP RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE AND GO DO SOMETHING ELSE. RIGHT NOW. For those of you who want to read the review, proceed at your own risk.

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I hate to state the obvious right off the bat, but newcomers to the series should probably see something else (and if you are a newcomer, I'm sorry to say you've really missed out).

On the whole, the movie stayed very true to the book. Certainly there were moments that were dramatized -- the Death Eaters charging at Hogwarts reminded me a bit too much of the battles of The Lord of the Rings -- and much of Dumbledore's backstory was eliminated for pacing (thank God). The movie flows quickly, sometimes in a whirlwind, from the trio breaking into Gringotts to riding a dragon to getting to Hogsmeade to Harry breaking into Voldemort's mind to the threesome finally finding themselves back at Hogwarts.

Along the way, all the familiar faces made a reappearance, however briefly, for the finale. Some of the best actors Britain has to offer stole each scene they were in. You can't go wrong with a cast featuring Dame Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), James Broadbent (Horace Slughorn), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney), even Kelly Macdonald (Helena Ravenclaw). The entire montage featuring Alan Rickman as Snape and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore while flashing back into Snape's memory was so well edited and, for lack of better words, freakin' awesome.

What I particularly enjoyed about the film was its ability to make the audience chuckle during the more scarier moments. No one was better able to accomplish this than ... Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort. Folks in the theater actually laughed out loud when old Voldy was shown giggling (yup, he giggles) as well as when he throws a hissy fit after "killing" Harry in the forest toward the end.

Still, the heart and soul of the movie and series -- strong, enduring friendships, a mother's love and sacrifice, good vs. evil, courage, the folly of trying to conquer death -- pervaded each scene. I will fully admit to becoming a bit teary-eyed when Harry used the Resurrection Stone to bring back those he loved most, a moment that represented all of these things. Kudos to the geniuses who were able to pull this off without it seeming contrived, unrealistic, and cheesy.

The one scene that made my left eyebrow fly straight up in terms of cheesiness? The epilogue. I honestly had no idea how the producers were going to pull this one off, and even though they did their best, everyone in the theater started chuckling when Daniel Radcliffe showed up "aged" by 19 years. Watching Radcliffe and his costars act -- and try to look -- like they were in their mid-30s was oddly jarring and ... laughable.

But the epilogue was only a fleeting moment in comparison to the rest of the wonderful, heart-wrenching storylines in this movie. Though some will say that nothing could ever beat the experience of reading the final novel, this movie succeeds in every way in bringing that experience to life. It's a fitting, emotional, final farewell and tribute to this beloved series.

Are you going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2?


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