Thursday Night Movie Club
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1 & 2
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Release Date: 19 November 2010; 15 July 2011

Director: David Yates
Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson
Ralph Fiennes
Michael Gambon
Alan Rickman
Evanna Lynch
John Hurt
Helena Bonham Carter
Kelly Macdonald
Jason Isaacs
Helen McCrory
Tom Felton
Ciarán Hinds
Maggie Smith
Jim Broadbent
David Thewlis
Julie Walters
Mark Williams
Bonnie Wright
Robbie Coltrane
Harry Potter
Ron Weasley
Hermione Granger
Lord Voldemort
Albus Dumbledore
Severus Snape
Luna Lovegood
Bellatrix Lestrange
Helena Ravenclaw
Lucius Malfoy
Narcissa Malfoy
Draco Malfoy
Aberforth Dumbledore
Minerva McGonagall
Horace Slughorn
Remus Lupin
Molly Weasley
Arthur Weasley
Ginny Weasley
Rubeus Hagrid
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie poster #1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie poster #2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie poster #3
The thrill is gone! OK. The thrill is still there and plenty of it in the final chapter in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The fun and joy and happiness is gone, like the world that grows ever darker as Lord Valdemort's power grows.

Harry is saying his goodbyes to the Dursley family that has treated him with loathing since he came into their lives after the death of his parents. For their safety, the Dursleys are being relocated until such time as it is safe to return. Meanwhile, Hermione decides that the best way to protect her parents from Valdemort's clutches is to completely erase all traces of her existence from her parents memory. A double punch to the stomach to begin any film.

But again, author J.K. Rowling and screenwriter Steve Kloves wring humor out of the most dangerous situations. Upon Harry's 18th birthday, he comes of age in the wizard world. On that day, all of the magic spells surrounding his house will vanish. Harry must be moved to a place of safety.

Knowing that Valemort will be watching ready to make his move on Harry, the Order of the Phoenix devises a plan to have several Harry impersonators to confuse Valdemort's army of Death Eaters. Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Fleur Delacor and others take polyjuice potion to turn themselves into Harry. Daniel Radcliffe has a fine time portraying several other characters portraying his version of Harry. The sequence is short-lived but guaranteed to have fans rolling in the aisles.

But one simple fact gnaws at Harry, Ron and Hermione: They are lost in the dark. Even the upcoming wedding of Ron's older brother Bill brings no solace. The three are hunting the remaining horcruxes, devices that Lord Valdemort placed parts of his soul in an attempt to live forever. If one horcrux is destroyed, Valdemort can still return through another one. J.K. Rowling's brilliant writing comes full circle as Harry and his mentor Professor Dumbledore first encountered a horcrux way back in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Neither of them understood the full meaning of Tom Riddle's mysterious blank diary at that time. But it started Dumbledore thinking.

Now, Dumbledore is gone, murdered by the treacherous Severus Snape, Harry's worst nightmare come true. Harry, Ron and Hermione are truly on their own. The cannot tell anyone about their mission for fear of the information finding its way back to Voldemort. People may help them, but their friends must be kept in the dark, for their own safety.

Ah, but that is nothing compared to what author J.K. Rowling has cooked up for this final installment. All of Harry's adventures start with a bang and then spend the rest of the book explaining what is going on. Just before Bill's wedding, the new Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour pays a visit to Harry, Ron and Hermione to distribute the Last Will and Testament of Albus Dumbledore. Harry is bequeathed a Golden Snitch. But not just any snitch. This is The Golden Snitch that Harry caught in his very first Quiddich match way back when in his adventure with the Sorcerer's Stone. Ron is given Dumbledore's Deluminator that also made an appearance in the first film. While the bookworm of the trio, Hermione receives a book of children fairy tales. All three are as stunned as the Minister by these gifts. But in this world, everything has a purpose.

During the wedding banquet, Harry, quite uncomfortably, realizes that he doesn't know much about his mentor Albus Dumbledore. Harry also encounters a strange symbol worn by one of Dumbledore's best friends, Elphias Doge. The symbol is a triangle with a line and a circle inside. Questions. Questions and more Questions. None of the three friends has any answers. After the banquet is raided by Death Eaters, the trio barely escapes to find themselves truly and completely alone.

Another fine example of humor combined with suspense comes as the three track their first horcrux to deep inside the Ministry of Magic. With the entire wizard world on the lookout for Public Enemy #1 Harry Potter, infiltrating the ministry will not be a walk in the park. The three friends use another batch of polyjuice potion. In this sequence, the actors must portray themselves as played by Radcliffe, Grint and Watson. The youngsters got into the ministry without any problems, except one: They didn't have much of a plan once they got inside. They wing it and the blend of suspense and humor of the situation plays out perfectly.

For the most part, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the darkest movie in the series. There isn't much to laugh at, but when it comes, it's a hoot. The best line comes as the trio must find their way into Hogwarts in secret. Hermione insists that they must form a plan. Harry's simple response, "Hermione, when have any of our plans ever worked out." So true and so funny.

The special effects are top-notch throughout. The Ministry of Magic is one huge claustrophobic lair populated with thousands of wizards who are against Harry. The dragon sequence in the Gringott's Bank vaults is spectacular. The highlight of the film may be the moment the enslaved dragon is finally free to breathe fresh air for the first time in uncounted years. The dragon perches atop the bank and takes several deep breaths. Good for you. Take some time to smell the roses.

Another fine example is one quick shot. Harry, Ron and Hermione are encamped in a forest. They have protected themselves with several spells. A group of goons on the hunt for anyone not in allegiance to Voldemort is rounded up for questioning. In the shot from the side, Harry and Hermione are standing eye-to-eye with one of the goons. As the camera moves behind the goon, his view shows an empty forest.

The final confrontation at Hogwart's is spectacular. It is easy to understand why armies where uniforms. Spells rain down in sheets of lead. The body count on both sides grows with each second that passes. The heroism and sacrifice of the free wizards is put on full display. Harry, Ron and Hermione are set upon by hundreds of Dementors. Not even Harry is that good to ward off this many Dementors. To their rescue comes none other than Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus' brother.

So much of this final installment harkens back to earlier films, mostly the first two. Harry is distraught after learning the truth why he can talk to snakes (the very first piece of magic Harry performs) and his connection to Voldemort's mind. Harry is presented with one serious question. After learning the full story of what the Deathly Hallows are, the question is: Does Harry use the Hallows or continue destroying horcruxes to defeat Voldemort? The answer to this question goes back to The Chamber of Secrets when Dumbledore tells Harry that it is the choices we make that truly define us.

This one simple fact continually amazes any fan of the Harry Potter series: How did J.K. Rowling come up with such a complicated story where every single element, action, or spoken word carries such importance. Each story is fresh and new yet always remembering where Harry was. The idea of the horcruxes introduced in the second film is vital to the story. Amazing!

Director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have shown to be a great pairing for the final films. The film is abundant with rallying points, opportunities for the audience to cheer Harry on. Except for the final confrontation between Harry and Tom Riddle aka Voldemort. Where J.K. Rowling wrote an excellent scene, Yates and Kloves went for an action sequence. To the dismay of everyone in the audience, there was no standing ovation, no riotous cheers at the one moment when the audience should have leaped out of their seats cheering wildly. The final showdown is sorely disappointing.

J.K. Rowling wrote an Afterword to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows showing life 15 years later. It is a touching chapter as friends unite on Platform 9 & ¾ to send their children off to Hogwart's. It is a nice finishing chapter, in the book. In the film, this scene comes off as "who cares". Yates and Kloves could have thrown this in as an after end credit sequence or better yet, deleted it entirely and spent better use of the final battle.

All in all, the series ends with another masterpiece. Dumbledore is revealed as the one who truly defeated Voldemort. Harry, like everyone else, is merely a chess piece on the chess board of life. Severus Snape is revealed fully, all of his pain, suffering and unquenchable love. His line from The Half-Blood Prince, "I have deceived one of the greatest wizards of all time." suddenly has new meaning. Harry couldn't say it any better to describe J.K. Rowling's writing, "Brilliant!".

Snape, played so wonderfully throughout by Alan Rickman, is probably the main character that fans will miss. J.K. Rowling had no idea who would be playing any of her characters. Had she known that the producers would cast Rickman and Jason Isaacs to such key roles, she may have written a special scene between the two characters. Too bad Kloves didn't see this either. Ah, just a fan's regret.

One thing is certain, Harry will live longer than the rest of us in literature and film. Great job by everyone involved from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone right up to the last frame of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!