Review – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II 3D (12a) [2011]

Star Rating: 3.5/5

So, after more than 1,048 mostly tedious minutes, the boy wizard, Harry Potter, finally comes face to face with his arch nemesis, Lord Voldemort, in this epic final volume of the Harry Potter series. Better than the previous seven films by a considerable distance (not that that is much of a feat), Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II reaches all expectations in predictable fashion.

Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) secretly leading Harry, Hermione and Ron back into Hogwarts.

Part II follows on from where Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part I finished off. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter I-VII(i), The Woman In Black), Hermione (Emma Watson – Harry Potter I-VII(i), My Week With Marilyn) and Ron (Rupert Grint – Harry Potter I-VII(i)) must find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. Only by wiping them out will the trio weaken Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes – Harry Potter IV, V & VII(i), Prince of Egypt, Coriolanus) sufficiently for Harry to stand a chance of defeating him, especially now that the former is armed with the powerful Elder Wand.

But the journey to locate the Horcruxes – not to mention battling it out with the fearsome villains – is fraught with perils. All will end where it began for the staff and pupils of Hogwarts: the school itself. What cost will Harry have to pay for finishing the task set for him by his deceased tutor, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon – Harry Potter III-VII(i), Ali G Indahouse, The King’s Speech)?

Unlike Part I, the plot for Part II moves at a decent pace without being intense. (Although, one is subconsciously urging the film to quicken so he/she can see how the final duel plays out.) There are flaws in the storyline; however, it would be unfair to criticise director David Yates (Harry Potter III-VII(i)) for these because he has a duty to accurately follow the book, written by JK Rowling, that the film is based upon. Indeed, Yates would have been chastised if he had dared not kept to the book almost to the letter.

Voldemort, Belatrix (Helena Bonham Carter – Suffragette) and Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) leading the Death Eaters to the perimeter of Hogwarts, ready to lay siege to the school.

Whilst the plot cannot be criticised, the acting certainly can. Once again, the majority of the cast flatter to deceive. One can clearly see that the position for Hogwarts, besieged by Voldemort and the Death Eaters, is dire for much of the movie. But because the acting is by Radcliffe, Watson and Grint is so poor it is hard to empathise with the situation. (The lack of a moving music score does not help either.) Moreover, if Harry’s return to Hogwarts was supposed to inspire hope in the beleaguered school’s pupils and staff, Radcliffe fails miserably to achieve this. (If one thinks back to how well the actors portray the desperate situations in The Two Towers and The Return of the King – parts II & III of The Lord of the Rings series, – or how much confidence Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen, arouses in the peoples of Rohan and Gondor just by his presence, it becomes embarrassing to compare the acting by the cast of those two films to that of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II.) And what’s with those spontaneous kisses in the midst of combat? Viewing such kisses was awful and cringe-worthy in Pirates of the Caribbean III: At World’s End, and (unsurprisingly) watching them here was just as awful and cringe-worthy. Yates must have been aware of this, so why did he do it? Surely, there were better places to stick in the smooches than at a time when someone’s head could have been zapped into oblivion?


Voldemort and Harry battling it out one last time with their wands in the ruins of Hogwarts.

Nonetheless, the acting was never going to be the most important aspect of Part II. The success of the film was always going to hinge on the CGI and the final duel between Harry and Voldemort. Neither of these let the viewers down and are highly impressive. What’s more, the 3D adds considerably to the spectacle.

So, the Harry Potter series concludes with aplomb. If the acting by the protagonists would have been better, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II may have rivalled The Return of the King. Still though, in Part II, one is treated to a feast of CGI as well as an epic duel that ensures eyes remain glued to the screen. Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike have waited ten years for Harry to face Voldemort. Few will go home disappointed. Finales do not often end on such a high.

PG’s Tips

6 responses to “Review – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II 3D (12a) [2011]

  1. You are of course entitled to your own opinion. The fact that is so at odds with the opinion of so may others makes it unlikely I would go to, or not see, a film based on one of your reviews

    • Thank you for reading my review. I would like to say that nobody, including yourself, should see a film based on what I think of it. I merely review a film as I see it, and do my best to analyse it fairly and in a moderate, nuanced way. I would say to you, and everyone else, that if you want to see a film, do not let anybody’s opinion stop you from seeing it. That includes the opinions of critics and bloggers.

      Nevertheless, may I ask you as to what aspects of my review were so different from other critics/opinions that you’ve read? Where did you read them?

  2. Thanks for telling me about this review, but to be honest it left me confused in places:

    “There are flaws in the storyline” You didn’t really explain what those flaws were, at least as far as I could tell.

    As for the kissing in the middle of combat, I honestly felt (and I still do) that all of those moments were played for laughs, that Yates was well aware of the spontaneity of those moments.

    “Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike have waited ten years for Harry to face Voldemort” To be honest, I don’t think non-fans could have cared less about Harry or Voldemort.

    “Few will go home disappointed. Finales do not often end on such a high” Wait, I thought you disliked the plot, the acting, the music, and pretty much everything else except for the special effects?

    Just some thoughts of mine. Take care!

    • Thank you very much for taking the time to read my review and for the lengthy comment. Both are appreciated.

      In answer to your first question (about the plot), the storyline did not completely add up; however, the reason I don’t explain this is because that has little to do with the film, but rather the book itself. As I said in the review, it would be unfair to criticise the director for plot problems created by the original author.

      Regarding your second point (about spontaneous kissing), I cannot see how this was done for laughs. I, personally, found myself shuddering, and HP die-hards were cheering. Nevertheless, you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that. When I next watch the film, I’ll bear this point in mind (although I cannot say when, if ever, I’ll watch this film again).

      About your third point, that is a fair one. Non-HP fans are unlikely to care, but still they may want to see the hero trump the villain.

      Reagrding the last issue, one cannot appreciate/enjoy a film, even if it has (many) flaws. As a blogger, I try to be as objective as I can, highlighting the good and bad parts of movies and always justify whatever point I make. I never said I did not enjoy the plot; I just wrote that it has deficiencies. Indeed, I have had many HP discussions over the years about the storyline and its pros and cons. Yes, I did think that the acting by the protagonists was very poor (although, that was in stark contrast to the acting by the villains, with perhaps the exception of Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy). The CGI was superb and so too was the final duel. Those scenes are worth treasuring as so much care was put into them.

      You do not have to agree with me and I hope I haven’t sounded like I’m forcing my opinion on you. I am only attempting to answer your questions.
      Do you believe I have done so sufficiently? If not, please say so. I always look forward and enourage debate.

  3. I suppose this will do, thanks, but my question was more of ~*what*~ plot points in particular you thought were flawed, whether with the book or the movie, and ~*what*~ pros and cons you thought the series’ overall plot had. I am honored, and I appreciate your at least considering my “for-laughs” idea regarding the romances. As for non-Harry Potter fans, there may have been some who decided to watch the eighth film in a series that I would say requires at least a working understanding of the other seven parts, but to be perfectly honest, if these people weren’t huge fans and weren’t intimately familiar with and fond of the source material, I’m not sure if they could or would appreciate the significance of the heroes triumphing over the villains here. Thank you for answering my questions; God bless.

  4. I thought the movie was dreadful. I reviewed the movie as part of the dvd release which you can read here –
    I’d also be interested in reading what plot points you thought were bad mainly because I think they’ve changed enough of the plot in the films beforehand that made it difficult for this one. Even things like for example Helena Ravenclaw was a completely different character in the movie and how Harry realised he needed to talk to Helena was different from the books, for me it made the film worse. The dialogue was often bad with lots of info-dumps.
    For me the last half-hour or so was bad as well in terms of story and plot in the fact, that it took so long to kill the snake. In the book its much more shocking, powerful, emotional and crucially shorter. The special effects were ok as effects in that they looked good but for me there was no point to them. They were there to be there and not to serve the story. I was left bored. I was also gutted that they cut the final speech/dialogue between Harry and Voldy out. Although perhaps acting wise I can understand. Mark Kermode, I know couldn’t quite believed they’d cut that part and that if he’d been Dan when he read the book, Dan should’ve just started practising that speech/dialogue as well as his BAFTA/Oscar speech.
    I thought the special effects were ok. My problem with the special effects is that they are not how I imagined them or what I think they would look like if it were “real” especially at the end of the final battle when one of them dies. I was left going “WTF, I didn’t know that spell existed or that x had cast it” with the special effect.
    As for all the kissing, I agree with you, they were cringeworthy but I think they were played for laughs.

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