Revisit the original Harry Potter film, and realize just how long this film franchise has been with us. Harry, Ron and Hermione were so young back then that it’s difficult to see them as the same actors today. Sure, Emma Watson has always had an I’m-so-out-of-breath delivery of her lines, but we have watched these actors grow and mature with each film. The second half of Deathly Hallows brings the final book and the film franchise to a satisfying end, and for the most part deserves the accolade’s it’s been gathering from critics and fans. Much like the Lord of the Rings films, though, I can’t help but think we are celebrating the franchise as a whole rather than looking at this film on its own terms. Much of what I love most about the series is absent in this film- The pure magic of life at Hogwarts, the classes and relationships shared by a tight group of friends and houses. By necessity, that all has ended, replaced instead by mistrust and war. The magic is still there, but has become an increasingly-grey, twisted thing. The final book was a fantastic read, and for the most part, the film captures its essence. In dealing with inevitable deaths, though, something is lost in the translation. They are filmed and presented in such a cold, quick manner that emotion barely has time to surface before moving on to the next shock. What we are left with is a deep sense of cold instead of loss. As the film closes, one pivotal character is absent in the final shot. How this character isn’t featured in that shot, or more in the film itself, makes no sense to me. Perhaps I’ll have to wait for a director’s cut in order to up my grade that last little bit. Not perfect, but epic nonetheless. Grade: A-
Battle: Dumbledore faces off against Voldemort
Film: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Watching this film again for the podcast reminded me how much I love this battle. It isn’t particularly long, but certainly memorable. Cool, plasma-like flows from wands, storms of fire, walls of water, and showers of glass. It’s a memorable end to a wonderful film.