It’s time to wipe a tear away from the eye as the doors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry close on the most successful film franchise in cinema history! No more jaunts through Diagon Alley or trips to the Leaky Cauldron for a refreshing tankard of butterbeer! No more exhilarating broomstick rides through London’s dominating skyline and how we will miss cheering on our heroes from towering stadia during a brutal game of Quidditch! But as the credits role & thousands of broken hearted Potter fans leave the theatres, it may well be the executives at Warner Brothers who are the prime candidates to be crying into their popcorn!
The final instalment sees us rejoin Harry & co as they search for the remaining horcruxes (the ubiquitous objects containing elements of Voldemort’s soul). The quest sees us return to the confines of Hogwarts via pit stops at Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Hogsmeade. We are introduced to a number of new characters along the way, most notable of all Aberforth Dumbledore, before we settle down to witness the final act – The Battle of Hogwarts!
The spectacular visual effects, the epic score & the stunning design will probably yield bags of gongs come awards season. The most impressive set piece sees a shackled dragon break his confines & climb the rocky walls of his prison before crashing through a glass ceiling - stunning stuff! The chemistry between the young principles is charming & genuine; though you can almost sense the awkward tension between Rupert Grint & Emma Watson before their long awaited snog! However the real triumph of the entire series has been the virtual who’s who of British character actors who have added a real gravitas to proceedings. Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Ralph Fiennes, John Hurt, Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds – the list is endless. It’s the deliciously eccentric performances from these thespians that lingers in the mind long after the credits role!
This is what the UK film industry does best. This is what British storytellers do best. In the spirit of Charles Dickens & Roald Dahl the Potter films celebrate tradition, history, myth, legend, fable and glories in all the wonderful human idiosyncrasies. It’s a way of storytelling that Hollywood simply can’t match and is why Warner Brothers were prepared to let David Heyman produce the films without too much interference!
Potter fanatics may be disappointed that the final instalment does leave out a number of exciting episodes from the book and some characters are woefully under developed. The script at times is clunky and messy but you can argue that this laboured dialogue is essential! The first 15 minutes acts as a series recap as Harry, Ron & Hermione inexplicably begin to tell each other what they have just been doing & why they have been doing it. However irksome this is; the information is vital to any cinemagoer that has missed a previous instalment or is unfamiliar with the Potter universe.
The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a fitting end to Harry Potter’s ‘on screen’ story! It provides all the thrills and excitement you have come to expect from JK Rowling, and with David Yates (directing his fourth Potter) you have a director who is having fantastic fun with the source material.
The Harry Potter series has conjured up $6.4 billion over the last 10 years. It’s an understatement of monumental proportions to point out that this will leave returns at Warner Brothers a little lighter over the next few years! Although extra energies will be focused on upcoming projects such as The Dark Knight Rises; Dark Shadows; Clash of the Titans 2; Superman: Man of Steel and Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films – the loss of Potter will still be severe. Not that Warner’s are quite ready to let go of Harry’s cloak tails! The marketing team will already be putting plans together for the DVD launch; the launch of the DVD series compilation, all the computer/video games and of course the many theme park ride spin offs! However I imagine it will probably not be enough to persuade executives to stop praying for Miss Rowling to dust off her quill in order to cast her spell over future generations of young muggles!